Giles aims for mid-June return

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Ashley Giles

Spin bowler Ashley Giles hopes to be playing again in five weeks time © Getty Images

England’s Ashes hero Ashley Giles hopes to finally be back playing within five weeks.

Giles has been plagued by injuries since last summer and has ruled himself out of the Test series against Sri Lanka, which starts at Lord's on Thursday.

But he aims to be ready for the first Test of the summer's second Test series, against Pakistan, which begins at Lord's on July 13.

“We think we have got to the bottom of my problems. It seems to be a dodgy groin,” Giles said.

Ashley Giles

Giles has been ruled out of the Sri Lanka Test series

Giles explained that his injury has been diagnosed as “a Gilmour groin - a type of hernia”.

He said: “I've had the hip problem and the hip problem is still there. Which came first - the groin or the hip?

“One could have had an effect on the other. But hopefully we've got to the bottom of it and hopefully in five weeks I can start playing cricket.”

Looking at the international cricket schedule leading up to next winter, when England defend the Ashes in Australia, Giles stressed the importance of looking after the team’s leading players, especially Andrew Flintoff.

He said: “We have to keep the key players fit.”

England go into this week's Test without injured skipper Michael Vaughan, pacemen Steve Harmison and Simon Jones, as well as spinner Giles, who said: “It puts more pressure on the senior guys still in the side.

Andrew Flintoff

Giles insists the likes of Andrew Flintoff must be looked after © Getty Images

“The one we are talking about is Andrew Flintoff. You can't be losing Andrew Flintoff coming into the Ashes. He's that much of a good player but it's a difficult balance.

“You have to keep an eye on the players with it being such a long difficult winter. The Ashes are where most people's eyes are looking, really.”

Chairman of selectors David Graveney also believes it is important for England to integrate new players into the team.

Graveney said: “We see some of the young guys like Alistair Cook who we think will be playing a part in Australia. We need to give him as much experience as we possibly can.

“We have some fantastic depth. Now our job is difficult for the right reasons, that we have lots of people to select from.

“I mentioned the word rotation some months ago and we have to deliver our guys physically fit to play Australia because that's what the cricketing public deserve.”

Alastair Cook

Giles feels England are blessed with strength in depth © Getty Images

Giles also believes England are blessed with far greater resources than in the team’s recent history.

He said: “I watched England A at Worcester last week and I think English cricket now has a great deal of depth in it. There are guys who can come into the squad, fit in nicely, get on and play good cricket.”

England lost their last series against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan but Giles believes that home advantage will allow them to gain revenge.

“On their home turf Sri Lanka are a real handful and difficult to wear down,” he said.

“Their spinners obviously come into the game and it can be quite a slow turgid form of cricket.

“Over here you are looking to dominate with your quick bowlers. Sri Lanka are not used to playing the ball at chest height, particularly against somebody quick like Andrew Flintoff.”

Giles also warned of the danger Sri Lanka's spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will pose.

He admitted: “Murali's going to be a handful. It might be his last trip to England. We all love to see him bowl and hope he has a relative amount of success - but that England win three-nil.”

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