Michael Vaughan has hit back at John Buchanan after the Australia coach labelled his knee injury a “smokescreen”.
Having undergone a fourth operation on his troublesome right knee back in July, the England skipper was given virtually no chance of playing any part in the forthcoming Ashes series this winter.
However, Vaughan gave an upbeat bulletin on his fitness this week and admitted he had one eye on a return to action in December, with an outside chance of featuring Down Under.
Buchanan greeted the news in cynical fashion, telling The Sydney Morning Herald: “I never bought into the will-he won’t-he talk. We will wait and see what squad they bring, and if some of what has been suggested about him playing in the Ashes has been a smokescreen. To us, this news wasn’t unexpected.”
Vaughan has reacted in stern fashion to those comments, insisting the gravity of his injury has never been in doubt. “John obviously doesn’t know my knee and how hard I am working in rehab,” he told.
“It is a real long-shot and things would have to go incredibly well (to play in the Ashes), I would have to have a lot of luck. It isn’t a smokescreen, you can ring John up and tell him that, it is a real bad knee problem I’ve had and I am trying hard to get over it,” he added.
England will renew their rivalry with the Australians at the ICC Champions Trophy in India, albeit in the one-day format, but Vaughan concedes that the game could provide the winners with an important psychological length.
“You want to win it (the Champions Trophy), you want to get to the final and win it,” he continued. “But there is a game next Saturday that I look at and it is the Australian game.”
“It will be the first time a few of the guys will have played against Australia, it will be the first time Freddie has captained against Australia and I think that is the one game I would like to see us win and win well.”
“It would give a confidence boost heading into the Ashes series, so that is a big game for the team. But we go into every tournament wanting to win them and this is no different,” he added.
In his absence England have turned to the inspirational figure of Andrew Flintoff to lead the side in Australia and Vaughan is all too aware of how crucial the Lancastrian all-rounder will be to the tourists’ hopes.
However, he insists ‘Freddie’ is more than capable of†coping with†the pressure of the role that he himself handled with such distinction in the last Ashes series, and is confident of the team’s chances of retaining the little urn.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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