Black Caps trio on track for England series

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2013

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Black Caps Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee and Peter Fulton could potentially all come in to the troubled test team for its next match, against England in early March.

The trio all missed the embarrassing 2-0 loss to South Africa in the Republic through injury and, if fit, would all likely walk back into the test side.

For Vettori (Achilles) and Southee (thumb), it would be a no-brainer, though Fulton hasn't played a test in more than three years.

He was set to restart his test career as an opener with captain Brendon McCullum dropping to four to replace the absent Ross Taylor but a knee injury wrecked Fulton's comeback.

He played for Canterbury on Tuesday night and will continue to build up his knee's strength in four-day cricket.

New Zealand Cricket director of cricket John Buchanan said Fulton's injury and workload were being managed. "He played [Tuesday] night and we'll see how he comes through that."

Vettori has seen an Australian specialist about his dodgy Achilles tendon and "best case scenario" could be back just in time for the three-test series against the No 2 test team in the ICC rankings.

His injury, too, was about management and taking time, Buchanan said.

"But everything appears to be progressing well. If everything went extremely well he'd be pretty close to being available for the test side, best case scenario."

Southee will return to his specialist in four weeks.

Buchanan said they would know more then and if his recovery was on track, Southee would be able to use his thumb properly a couple of weeks after that.

All three would likely have to prove their fitness in the New Zealand XI's four day match with England in Queenstown which begins on February 27.

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