England captain Michael Vaughan has vowed a "little hamstring injury"
won't stop him leading the side when the World Cup gets underway in the
Caribbean next month.
The 32-year-old Yorkshire batsman has spent much of the past
year sidelined from international action with a longstanding knee problem and
played no part in England's 5-0 Ashes thrashing by Australia.
But having overcome the knee injury the then played in just
three of England's 10 subsequent one-dayers where the side, after a wretched
start, battled back to win four straight games, including three against Australia,
that saw them beat the hosts and world champions in the tri series final.
England, once labelled also-rans but now considered contenders to win what
would be their first World Cup title, depart for the Caribbean on March 2 and
Vaughan is confident he will be among the 15-man squad.
"A little hamstring injury is not going to stop me from
continuing to try to get back," Vaughan told Sky Sports on Tuesday.
"It's progressing nicely. I'm looking forward to getting on the plane a
week on Friday and continuing my rehab out in the Caribbean."
England will hope Vaughan comes through their two warm-up games
against Bermuda on March 5 and Australia on March 9, both in St Vincent, before
they begin the tournament proper against fellow Group C giants New Zealand,
who wrapped up a 3-0 series win over Australia on Tuesday, in St Lucia on March
"The two warm-up games against Bermuda and Australia
are going to be quite crucial, just to try and play a couple of games, get a
bit of match practice," Vaughan explained. "I'm looking forward to
that first game against New Zealand."
He added: "I just need a little bit of luck. The last year, I haven't
had much luck with injuries. Six months ago, I got told I wouldn't play again.
I've come back from that."
But he said match practice would be the only way of knowing
if his hamstring would stand up to the demands of a World Cup.
"Hamstrings are a funny injury and you never really know how they're going
to react until you go and play a game of cricket. But all the medical teams
are very confident over the way it's gone in the past week.
"How much of a part I'll play in the first (practice)
game, I'm not too sure. I'll certainly need to get out there and have a bat
and get some form going into that first game against New Zealand.
"If I get through the early stages and get my hamstring
through recovery, I have no doubt I'll last the whole tournament." Top
order batsman Vaughan, who could open alongside Andrew Strauss, is one
of three players causing injury concerns for England along with pace bowlers
James Anderson (back) and Jon Lewis (ankle). However the International
Cricket Council have relaxed their rules on injured players and teams
can now summon replacements provided the World Cup technical committee approves
their request. England, who are cofident dashing shot-maker Kevin Pietersen
will be fit after sustaining a rib injury in Australia, are far from alone in
having fitness problems as they approach cricket's showpiece tournament.
Australia saw batsman Matthew Hayden break a toe against New
Zealand on Tuesday and the opener has now joined fast bowler Brett Lee
(ankle) and all-rounder Andrew Symonds (bicep) as a major injury worry while
doubts linger over captain Ricky Ponting (back) and fellow batsman Michael