England in Pakistan, 2005-06 November 8, 2005

Further delay over Vaughan injury

Michael Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher have serious questions to answer before the first Test © Getty Images
A decision on the fitness of Michael Vaughan has been delayed further with a ruling not expected until Thursday. Vaughan, who twisted his knee while batting on the second day of England's six-wicket defeat at Bagh-e-Jinnah, is awaiting the results of an x-ray. Yesterday the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, said a verdict was imminent but the injury is still being assessed.

"The x-rays have been sent across by email, and our medical staff in England are analysing them," he told reporters in Lahore following England's defeat. "It's difficult to say [what the damage is], and the medical staff have been careful not to give a prediction, so let's just wait until we get the news from the UK."

Fletcher added that "one phonecall" had already been made as regards a possible replacement, although the situation had been complicated by the news that two of the most obvious candidates to step in for Vaughan, Owais Shah and Robert Key, are already undergoing surgery.

"We were keen on Owais Shah," Fletcher admitted, "but he's had a knee operation, while Robert Key has gone in for a shoulder op, so he's been ruled out. Those were the two most obvious replacements, but we've discussed with Michael and there'll be further discussions over next 24 hours as well."

As regards the six-wicket defeat, Fletcher once again refused to get carried away, citing a similar defeat against South Africa A at Potchefstroom last winter. "It's not ideal," he conceded. "We would have liked a few more overs to bat out there, but in South Africa ... we went on to play some very good cricket and won the five-match series. From our point of view it's happened to us before, and knowing the quality of the players they can do that again."

After that match in South Africa, Vaughan described the result as "a kick up the arse", but Fletcher was far less emotional about this defeat. "I'd describe it like it's happened before. I would hope the players will lift the intensity that's required at Test match level, because they probably lacked a bit of intensity here. But they are the kind of players who realise how important a Test match is, and they will lift to the levels they are capable of."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo