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Vaughan names Flintoff as deputy
March 02, 2007 10:45 IST
England captain Michael Vaughan said on Thursday he was confident of playing a full part in the World Cup but named Andrew Flintoff as his deputy in case his injury jinx returns.
Vaughan missed a year of international cricket with knee trouble and when he finally returned in the recent one-day tri-series in Australia he was struck down with a hamstring problem.
Flintoff, who stepped into the breach during Vaughan's first absence, presided over a 5-0 Ashes drubbing by Australia before leading the side to victory in the tri-series.
"The last two and a half weeks I have been in constant rehab and it (my hamstring) has got better and better," Vaughan told a news conference at Gatwick Airport outside London.
"Andrew Flintoff will deputise if it gets to a stage where I have to miss a game."
Press reports had speculated that Flintoff could be overlooked as the choice for stand-in skipper given the Ashes debacle, but with few other candidates the powerful all-rounder has got the nod.
The England squad fly to St. Vincent on Friday ahead of warm-up games with Bermuda on Monday and world champions Australia on March 9.
The real competition then starts for England with an opening group game against New Zealand on March 16 in St. Lucia before matches with minor nations Canada and Kenya.
Vaughan said he would be involved against Bermuda but has his eye on the New Zealand match, where points amassed could be carried forward to the super eight stage.
"I should be fine to play some part in the game against Bermuda, not a full part," the 32-year-old said. "It's essential to get a good start in any tournament. (New Zealand) are a good team, they are very experienced."
Vaughan was positive about his own team's chances given their extraordinary comeback to win the tri-series and the return of key batsman Kevin Pietersen, who broke a rib in the first one-dayer in January.
"The darkhorses from six weeks ago are us. We all agree this World Cup is very wide open for one of the top eight teams to go on and win it," he said.
"It is great to have Kevin back. I'm looking forward to seeing him bat in the Caribbean on what I believe will be some small grounds."
Most of all though Vaughan wants to be fit, and after New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram said he would be willing to cut off his injured finger in order to play at the showpiece, Vaughan joked: "We have talked about getting rid of my left hamstring."
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