ENGLAND and Somerset star Andy Caddick is on the comeback trail - and just itching to play again (writes Richard Walsh).

Caddick played in just one championship match in 2003 against Derbyshire, during which he took seven wickets before missing the rest of the season through injury and earlier in the autumn he underwent surgery on his back to remove a piece of disk that had broken away.

Now the Test star is back in daily training, and he told me yesterday: "I'm pleased to say that it's all going very well for me. I feel I'm in a good position now and targeting to start bowling again in the New Year."

Before Caddick started to undertake any training the Somerset coach Kevin Shine, along with head of injury prevention Darren Veness and fitness instructor Andy Hurry met with the England medical team to work out a rehabilitation programme which is now being followed.

Shine told me: "It's all going very well and Andy is moving along really nicely. He is not doing any bowling before Christmas, but as soon as he is signed off physically by the medical team he will be handed over to me to start his bowling programme, which is likely to be towards the middle or the end of January."

Meanwhile, the news that Ricky Ponting, one of Somerset's overseas signings for 2004, has been appointed the new Test captain of Australia has been met with delight at the County Ground.