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 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 11:03 GMT
Astle worry for Kiwis
Astle reaches a hundred against England
Astle is one of the cleanest hitters in the game
New Zealand batsman Nathan Astle will miss the final two games of their home one-day series against India.

Astle is suffering from a recurrence of a patella tendon injury in his knee, which first occurred on tour in Pakistan last year.

He is to have an ultrasound scan and team officials are keeping their fingers crossed that he can make a rapid recovery with the start of the World Cup only a month away.

"Nathan is flying back to Christchurch where he will be meeting with New Zealand Cricket's doctor, Rob Campbell, for consultation," said manager Jeff Crowe.

Astle is New Zealand's highest scorer in one-day cricket, with more than 5,300 runs in 167 appearances, including 12 centuries.

Captain Stephen Fleming is the only other batsman to exceed 5,000.

Astle also holds the record for the fastest double century in Tests, after hitting 222 off 168 balls against England last March.

New Zealand have recalled Lou Vincent to replace Astle for the sixth one-dayer against India in Auckland on Saturday.

They already hold a winning 4-1 lead, but India came out on top by two wickets in the last match in Wellington.

Teammate Chris Cairns has, meanwhile, voiced optimism over his prospects of being able to bowl during the World Cup.

All-rounder Cairns returned to intertnational action on Wednesday following two keen operations, but played as a speiclaist batsman.

"I am bowling in the nets and buidling up for South Africa. I still have four weeks to go, so I am very hopeful of bowling in the World Cup."

India play two Tests and seven ODIs in New Zealand

One-day series

Second Test

First Test

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