England in Pakistan, 2nd Test, Faisalabad November 19, 2005

Vaughan available for Faisalabad



Vaughan doesn't believe he is taking a risk by playing in the second Test © Getty Images
Michael Vaughan has declared himself fit and ready to resume the England captaincy in the second Test at Faisalabad, which gets underway tomorrow morning, after coming through a fitness test on his injured right knee. Though heavily strapped and still in some discomfort, Vaughan declared he was "confident he could get through the game", as England seek to draw level in the three-match series.

"I can still feel it a little bit but surely not enough to miss the game," Vaughan told reporters on the eve of the match. "It's been a good week for me and day-by-day I feel I'm progressing and getting better. I don't feel it's a massive risk, but the most important thing is that I'm confident and that's really all that counts, if the individual feels he can get through."

Vaughan damaged his knee while running between the wickets during England's second warm-up match at Bagh-e-Jinnah 12 days ago. At the time it was feared his tour could be over, for it was the recurrence of a long-standing cartilage problem that required surgery ahead of the 2002-03 Ashes tour, and then reoccurred in the nets at Lord's in May 2004.

But having sat out England's defeat in Multan, Vaughan was adamant that he would be back for this match, even going so far as to claim his decision was reached three days ago, at a time when his movement in England's practice sessions was still severely limited. He insisted, however, that his return was not influenced by the final-day batting collapse that handed Pakistan a surprise 22-run victory.

"I put myself up for selection because I feel I'm ready to play a Test match," said Vaughan. "I'm comfortable I can get through and I don't think the result [at Multan] plays a part. I was always going to try and make myself available for the second one."

"I've had a good recovery," he added. "I've worked hard with Kirk [Russell, the physio], and day-by-day I've been doing more running, more twisting and turning. I've come through that, which is a good sign. Hopefully it will never happen again, but I'm confident I can get through the game."

Vaughan's return meant that England would be left with a tricky selection dilemma ahead of the Faisalabad match. "It's pretty obvious it'll be Paul Collingwood or Ian Bell who misses out," he confirmed. "The selectors will liaise today but it's a tough one. Belly played well, while Colly's only just got into the team."

There was no doubt, however, about the challenge that awaits his team. "It's massive," said Vaughan, adding that he would not be satisfied with just a share of the series. "We went 1-0 down against Aussies but we had four games to pull it back. It takes a hell of a lot of hard work to get into a winning position, and we'll need to work equally as hard, if not harder, to come back from here."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo