| Giles: Still stiff, but no pain
England’s World Cup injury list shortened on Tuesday when Ashley Giles targeted next week as his return from the broken left wrist which restricted his Ashes series to only one Test.
Giles suffered the injury when he was struck on his bowling arm by a short ball from Steve Harmison in the Adelaide Oval nets 48 hours before the start of the second Ashes Test on Nov 21.
He was told the injury would take up to six weeks to heal and travelled home, missing the remaining four Tests against Australia.
The injury left England without their senior spinner, who took six wickets during the opening Test, more than his replacement, Richard Dawson, could manage in the next four Ashes matches.
Giles is now back in Adelaide after flying out to the ECB Academy on Sunday and his return to full health will have heartened the England management, who were told on Tuesday that Andrew Flintoff has finally recovered sufficiently from a hernia operation to rejoin the touring squad.
Craig White is now the only member of England’s 15-man World Cup squad under the care of physiotherapist Dean Conway, with the side strain he suffered during the Boxing Day Test expected to prevent him from bowling until the start of next month.
Giles, however, will be in contention for the tri-series finals if England qualify ahead of Sri Lanka, who they meet on Friday in Adelaide. “I’m still a little bit stiff but I’ve no more sharp pain,” Giles said. “I have 90 per cent of my range of movement back. I think I’ll be ready to play within a week but it will be difficult to jump straight back in the team.”
While Dawson struggled to take a permanent hold on Giles’ Test place, in the one-day side the emergence of Somerset’s Ian Blackwell, whose confident batting and ability to turn the ball has endeared him to head coach Duncan Fletcher, has left England with a dilemma over their two left-arm spinners.
“I always knew when Blacky came into the side he would be dangerous for me because he’s so explosive with the bat,” Giles said.
England expect to have Michael Vaughan fit for Friday’s match against Sri Lanka after the batsman was given a week off to ease the stiffness in his troublesome right knee.