Dr Peter Gregory, the ECB's chief medical officer, has conceded that Michael Vaughan's chances of playing in the first Test against Pakistan, starting on Saturday, are "slim". Vaughan, who has a history of cartilage problems in his right knee, pulled up abruptly during England's second innings at Bagh-e-Jinnah when his knee locked up in mid-run, and he was taken to hospital for a scan.
"Michael's a bit fed up at the moment," said Gregory. "He is still very sore and it's going to be complicated because he's had scans on that knee before, so we are going to have to make comparisons. We are going to need 24 to 48 hours to see how he pulls up clinically, and though I'm hopeful, whether that's realistic or not we are going to have to wait and see."
Vaughan last suffered the knee problem at Lord's ahead of the first Test against New Zealand in May 2004, and he underwent surgery on a meniscal cartilage tear ahead of the Ashes tour of 2002-03 as well. "He has a history of cartilage damage, so it's very likely that that is the problem," added Gregory. "At Lord's a couple of years ago, he responded quickly and was back for the next Test match."
Gregory added, however, that if the scans revealed Vaughan had suffered a tear, that would be the end of his tour. "He would have to undergo surgery. Obviously it would have been particularly bad if he had had to be stretchered off, but he was limping and it was clearly sore."
England have not yet considered any replacement batsmen, although given the possibility that Andrew Strauss may miss the third Test to attend the birth of his first child, the likeliest option at present would be the new Kent captain, Robert Key, who can fill in as an opener or a specialist No. 3.