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April 4, 2007
Ross Taylor could be fit for New Zealand's next Super Eights match, against Ireland in Guyana on Monday. Taylor strained his hamstring a fortnight ago when he attempted a quick single during his innings of 85 against Kenya.
He has missed New Zealand's three games since then, which along with Lou Vincent's tournament-ending broken wrist, has forced a reshuffle in the top order. However, Taylor said he was not far off returning to the side.
"For the last few days I have been gradually increasing my workload at practice, starting with a few gentle stretching exercises to the point where I am now starting to stretch out fully," Taylor told AFP. "I'm hopeful of being ready for Ireland in Guyana in a week's time.
"I had a similar injury a few years ago and then I tried to rush my recovery and tweaked it again, setting me back an extra week. I certainly don't want to do it that again."
Stephen Fleming said he was confident Taylor would be ready against Ireland, which would mean one batsman making way to allow Taylor to slot back in at No. 3. Peter Fulton has struggled since being made a makeshift opener, scoring 0 and 15, but Fleming indicated Fulton might play.
"I'm not overly concerned, Pete's been in good form," Fleming told NZPA. "We've asked him to do a role that's a little bit foreign to him and it takes time to adjust. He just needs to find a tempo at the top of the innings. We've got a game against Ireland which will be another opportunity."
Michael Mason is also in doubt for Monday's match after straining his calf during his second over against Bangladesh. Should Mason be unavailable, New Zealand might play Chris Martin, who was a replacement for the injured Daryl Tuffey, or Mark Gillespie, who has been out of action for a month with a viral infection in his right shoulder.
Fleming said Gillespie had now recovered and was available to play. "He's in contention now so the only challenge the selectors have is he hasn't played for four weeks," Fleming said. "We have to make sure the work he does in practice is as close to match simulation as possible and that's often difficult to do."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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