Michael Vaughan will miss the CB Series finals and fly back to England on Saturday after aggravating his hamstring injury. Andrew Flintoff will lead the team in the best-of-three series a day after the coach Duncan Fletcher said Flintoff had a weight off his shoulders when he was not the captain.
An ECB spokesman said Vaughan's injury would take between a week and ten days to heal and there was no danger of him missing the World Cup. Vaughan returned in Brisbane on Tuesday after missing five one-day games with the left-leg problem, which he suffered in Hobart on January 16.
"It has been very disappointing on this tour to have no problems with my right knee and then a hamstring comes about," Vaughan told AFP. "I am desperate to play, but we have to look at the future and certainly the next few weeks with the World Cup in mind. The medical staff have told me there is absolutely no doubt I will be on the plane for the World Cup."
Vaughan complained of soreness after England's latest victory over New Zealand and his departure is another serious blow for a side that seemed to be finding some fluency. England won their final two games of the preliminary rounds and even though Vaughan failed to score at the Gabba, he was a key figure as he dictated England's successful defence of 270. Flintoff, who was captain for the 5-0 Test loss, will be back in charge on Friday for the first final against Australia at the MCG.
The Vaughan injury means England have lost their seventh player from a long and difficult tour. Vaughan joins Marcus Trescothick (stress), Ashley Giles (family illness), James Anderson (back), Kevin Pietersen (rib), Jon Lewis (achilles) and Chris Tremlett (back) as those who have left early.