Giles to visit USA for further consultation June 26, 2006

Vaughan's Ashes prospects remain unclear

Cricinfo staff

An unlikely sight this winter... © Getty Images
The prospect of Michael Vaughan making an England comeback this summer is still unclear following a meeting with experts to discuss his knee injury. The ECB have said he will visit a specialist on Thursday when the next step will be considered.

On Monday, Vaughan met with Yorkshire physio Scott McAllister, consultant Wayne Worton and England physio Kirk Russell to discuss where he goes from here. Although he has been playing for Yorkshire for the last month, he is still troubled by the injury. Last week, a team-mate said that Vaughan still had good and bad days.

No announcement was made after the meeting, but given that progress is slow at best, there must now be serious doubts as to his fitness for this November's Ashes. It is possible that Vaughan will need to undergo another operation to clean-up the knee joint. If so, then he would be out of action for almost the remainder of the season. A worst-case scenario would mean him needing major surgery which could sideline him for up to nine months.

As if that wasn't bad enough, earlier it emerged that Ashley Giles has decided to fly to the United States for confirmation that he needs another operation to try to cure his hip problem. He has not played since his first hip surgery in December, and is now considering visiting the same surgeon who last week operated on Simon Jones.

Duncan Fletcher, England's coach, told The Guardian: "Vaughan, Giles, Jones and [Andrew] Flintoff are world-class players and their injuries are a concern. I've adopted the attitude that it will be a huge bonus if they come back. That's why we have to go with these other players and get them ready for later on in the winter."

Despite his Ashes-winning side falling to pieces, Fletcher kept his faith in the young replacements called up recently, though their initial display left much to be desired. "We kept it quite simple, but they didn't bowl to the plan," he said. "We just wanted them to go in and bowl straight. None of the bowlers seemed able to do that. I still think it is a mental thing. They don't bowl that badly in the nets. You have to reassure individuals that it just takes one game to turn it around."