Cricket selectors fear playing McGrath - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cricket selectors fear playing McGrath

By Greg Buckle 10/07/2006 07:50:21 PM Comments (0)

The Australian selectors will meet "in the near future" to discuss fears sending Glenn McGrath on a one-day series tour of India in October may not be the best preparation for the vital Ashes series.

McGrath, 36, skipped the tours of South Africa and Bangladesh earlier this year because of his wife Jane's cancer battle.

But with Jane's health improving, the veteran of 119 Tests is now undertaking fitness work ahead of the first Ashes Test starting on November 23 in Brisbane.

While thrilled that McGrath has made himself available, selectors must decide if the lanky right-armer would be better off playing four-day cricket for NSW in October instead of competing in the ICC Champions Trophy one-day tournament in India.

"We're going to sit down with the coaching staff and map out Glenn's fitness and how he needs to best get back into playing cricket again," chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch told AAP.

"That (the Indian series) will be something we'll talk through with Glenn and the Australian coaches and make sure Glenn's program is exactly as he wants it and we need it to be so he's ready to play in the Ashes.

"We haven't really started that process yet. We will do that probably in the near future."

McGrath has spoken in past years of how he likes to play himself into form with long stints at the crease and Australian pace bowling great Dennis Lillee last month backed the idea of McGrath strongly considering a Pura Cup build-up to the Ashes campaign.

Hilditch said Ricky Ponting's side would need to be in peak form to win the Ashes back from England, despite the fact England is battling injuries and coming off a drawn home Test series against Sri Lanka.

The former Test opener said he was "not really paying that much attention" to England's 1-1 result against Sri Lanka or the upcoming England v Pakistan Tests.

"The reality I think they'll come ready to retain the Ashes and I think they'll be a very strong side," Hilditch said.

"We'll have to play at our very, very best to beat England.

"Whatever they've been doing in the last few months and in the next few months, I think come Ashes time it is going to be all fairly irrelevant."

Hilditch is in Darwin with the Australia A squad which is preparing for a four-day game against Pakistan A after a mixed opening to the series.

He said the side was steadily improving. Australia A lost one-dayers to India A and New Zealand A before winning a Twenty20 against NZ A.

"Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait have been bowling quick and very well, they've been very impressive," he said.

"Brett Dorey has played the last couple of one-day games and he's done well also."

Victorian Brad Hodge has made 123, 56 and 40 and NSW wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has contributed two half-centuries and impressed Hilditch with his captaincy style.

Hilditch said Australia A was considering pairing young South Australian spinners Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey against Pakistan A and in the following four-day game in Cairns against India A starting on July 18.

Cullen, 22, made his Test and one-day international debuts in Bangladesh in April, but will struggle to add to his record of one Test in this summer's Ashes series with Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill ahead of him.

"In Test cricket we've got two of the great leg-spinners in the one side," Hilditch said.

"So he (Cullen) hasn't seen great opportunities in the short term and he's had more opportunities in one-day cricket (playing three matches).

"But the reality is he's a very exciting offie with the potential to play for Australia in both forms of the game which is certainly what we're hoping."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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