Michael Vaughan will make his long-awaited comeback from his knee injury tomorrow when he plays for England’s Academy side in a one-day match in Perth.
The recovering England captain has been selected to feature for the Academy side against Western Australia’s 2nd XI in what will be his first competitive appearance since suffering a recurrence of his knee problems playing for Yorkshire at the start of last summer.
Tomorrow’s match is the first in a series of games England have pencilled in for the Yorkshire batsman to prove his fitness before they consider him for an international recall.
His selection is almost sure to increase the speculation that England may recall Vaughan to boost their selection options before the end of the Ashes series. But coach Duncan Fletcher has insisted they will not rush Vaughan’s return and are still hoping he can recover in time to feature in the one-day series starting in January.
"He seems to be pretty positive," confirmed Fletcher. "He’s working very hard at his game and we had a couple of sessions when he came out here.
"We’re still planning that he might be ready for the one-dayers and if anything comes earlier than that then all well and good, but from my point of view I don’t think he can play in the Test series at this stage.
"I’m not going to say when he can play again until he has played a few games and come out of it and feels 100% because I know that’s what Michael Vaughan wants."
Meanwhile, former England bowling coach Troy Cooley has backed Steve Harmison to rediscover his best form after a shocking performance in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
Harmison took just one wicket for 177 at the Gabba in a 277-run defeat and is undergoing one-on-one net sessions with Cooley’s successor Kevin Shine at the Adelaide Oval ahead of the Second Test, which starts on Friday.
Cooley, who now works with Australia’s fast bowlers, said: "You don’t want to see any bowler not bowl well, particularly considering my relationship with him.
"But I’ve no doubt that he will be doing everything he can to get himself ready for England. I’m confident he’ll come out right."
England bowler Sajid Mahmood has revealed he was racially abused during the First Test in Brisbane but insists he has to learn to "block it out".
Lancashire's Mahmood was not in the England starting line-up for the crushing defeat at the Gabba but still became a target for one member of the crowd as he carried a drink to the boundary for Steve Harmison, with the spectator saying to the Bolton-born player: "You can’t be English."
However, Mahmood said: "There’s no point biting back because there’s going to be a lot of it. I have to learn to block it out and not let it affect my game.
"Yes, it is racist but I can’t do anything about it. I can’t turn round and play into their hands. These people can say what they like but I have got a job to do, which is bowling well for England."
Spinner Monty Panesar also suffered racial abuse during the tour match against New South Wales in Sydney.