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James Franklin, the New Zealand seamer, has targeted the tour of England in May to make his return to international cricket after being sidelined for several months with a knee injury. Franklin, who underwent surgery in November, said he would take things step by step, suggesting that he may not bowl straight away when returning to his state side Wellington.

"I hope to play as a batsman in March," Franklin told the Dominion Post. "That's a little goal I've set myself. First of all I'll trial it at club level and then if it goes well I'll stick my hand up for Wellington."

Franklin was wary of bowling too soon, given that he has been unable to jog. His training has consisted of cycling and swimming for the moment and one of his targets would be to make a comeback before the domestic season concludes on April 2 and put his hand up to be available for the England tour.

"Once I start playing as a batsman then I can start thinking about ticking the arm over and building that up over a five- to six-week period," he said. "It would be great to be available for selection for that [England], but I don't want to rush it and have setbacks, and I'm half expecting that to be the case.

"It's in the back of mind, but I don't want to put pressure on myself. It will depend on how I go over in March and I guess the form of the guys in the New Zealand team. I'd love to make myself available but there is a long way to go."

Franklin last played for New Zealand during the World Cup in the Caribbean last year. He has since sat out of the ICC World Twenty, tours to South Africa and Australia, as well the home series against Bangladesh. He is also set to miss the home series against England, which includes three Tests, five one-dayers and two Twenty20 internationals.
 
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