Vaughan/Jones ruled out

England captain Michael Vaughan and fast bowler Simon Jones have both been ruled out of the first Test against India with knee injuries, and will return home for treatment. Vaughan’s injury is a continuation of the one which troubled him recently in Pakistan, whereas Jones’ is unconnected to the one he suffered at Brisbane four years ago, and was picked up this morning in net practice. The Welshman fell in his follow-through and twisted the knee in landing awkwardly.

The absence of two more players through injury places England’s preparations for the first Test, starting in two days’ time, into absolute turmoil. With Vaughan and Jones being uncertain as to whether they will play any part in the tour at all, their plans beyond the immediate future could also be affected.

It appears certain that Essex opener Alistair Cook will make his Test debut in place of Vaughan at Nagpur on Wednesday, while Liam Plunkett could come in for Jones, providing he has shaken off a heel injury he picked up against the President’s XI last week. James Anderson and Owais Shah are also outside contenders for a spot in the side, having been called up from the A tour to the Caribbean as replacements.

England may choose to send for yet more reinforcements from the West Indies having lost two more players. If the squad continue to drop like flies as they currently are, then Andrew Flintoff, standing in as captain in the absence of Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick – who flew home for personal reasons on Saturday – will scarcely recognise his own team.

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