Thanks, Fred, and goodnight

So that’s probably it for Freddie, then. Whatever drivel the ECB can try and spin about his ankle needing time “to settle and recover before the process of further strengthening and assessment is intensified” – medico-speak for “he’s done it in again” – it’s probably safe to assume that a man on the wrong side of 30 who has played just one of his team’s last four Test series isn’t really one for the future. It’s time to look beyond.

Flintoff

Probably most likely to step into the breach in the short-term is Ravi Bopara. But he’s untried at Test level and despite knocking Mike Hussey over on his ODI debut, it’s hard to imagine him knocking over Test sides with his gentle trundlers off a short run. Similarly Paul Collingwood, who encouragingly hasn’t let snaffling Sourav Ganguly on a lucky LBW shout go to his head.

So let’s look to the current crop of youngsters. There’s Adil Rashid, who scored his first Championship century this season, and team-mate Tim Bresnan, who has fought back well from being Jayasuriya’s bitch last summer. Younger still, there’s Alex Wakely at Northants and James Harris at Glamorgan. For some of these it looks like the next Ashes in 2009 will come a bit soon (Harris was born in 1990, for heaven’s sake), while none of them really looks like a potential Test number six. But then again, nor does Freddie at the moment.

Who does everyone think will end up filling Fred’s specially-modified boots? A batsman? A bowler? Or is it time David Graveney got Mark Ealham back on the phone?

Vaughan comeback all but a “dream”

Following on rather nicely from the ongoing debate about the apparent mind games England may or may not be playing, Michael Vaughan has today declared himself unlikely to play cricket again. If that is a psychological mind trick to thwart the Australians, then….well, it’s quite clearly not, is it? He is, for want of a better phrase, about as screwed as a pig with one leg hobbling into an abattoir.

“I have real hope I’ll get better”, Vaughan told the media after watching the Old Trafford Test between England and Pakistan. “I’ll do all the hard work and I believe there’ll be another day when Michael Vaughan takes the field in an England cricket shirt. But I have to be realistic. I’ve read I might never play cricket again, and that might well turn out to be the case.

“Is there any chance I might be ready for Melbourne or Sydney? Probably not, but I’m going to hang on to that dream.”

More worrying even than his injury is the realisation he has now started talking in the third person. Full story at Cricinfo.

Flintoff out of summer, in doubt for Ashes

Yesterday’s depressing news just got worse. He’s to undergo surgery, will be out for 12 weeks and that puts his chances of making the tour to Australia in serious doubt.

Vaughan’s career is over

Since Vaughan last played a Test both Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood have scored Test match centuries: by the time next summer comes round, who knows, they might have four apiece. Any player, Vaughan included, can become yesterday’s man very quickly, left behind in the wake of the next generation. He could be trying to get fit only to be discarded.

[...]

His knee, in other words, is shot, its condition chronic. In which case this is no longer about getting Vaughan fit for cricket. It is about trying to make sure that by the time he enters middle age he is not doing so on a stick.

Mike Selvey in today’s Guardian.

Michael Vaughan is out of the Ashes

Not surprising, but what a tossing nightmare that is for England. My thoughts on it tomorrow. Sorry for lack of updates but, then, not a lot’s been going on. Go to Cricinfo for more on Vaughan.

Simon Jones out of the Ashes

Well, he’s not confirmed out – but more-or-less. I imagine he might retire in the not-too-distant future, which is a crying shame given his superb performance in the Ashes last year.

Vaughan’s injury fears and all that

Having thought about it, I don’t think Michael Vaughan is necessarily as screwed as some people think he is. He did say during the winter that he wouldn’t return until he was absolutely 100% fit. And while his injury is clearly taking longer than he’d like, I’m more and more convinced that he’s simply biding his time for the Ashes. Sri Lanka – yes, England need to beat them. Pakistan, too. But Vaughan, hopefully, will travel to Australia to retain the Ashes in November – and that hasn’t happened for a Very Long Time.

Of course, I could be wrong and he could retire tomorrow. But that’s what I reckons…

Simon Jones limps off. Again

Well it was too good to be true, wasn’t it? Simon Jones, after taking a few wickets for Glamorgan in a C&G match, limped off and might not play in the first Test against Sri Lanka. What a bloody nuisance, and how depressing for Jones.

Ashley Giles doubt for India

Looks like Ashley Giles won’t be fit for England’s tour of India. Ian Blackwell or Monty Panesar? Discuss