I don’t want to finish like this

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Stuart MacGill has been buoyed by the message from Australia’s selectors that his career is not over if he misses the series against India.

MacGill, who will have surgery on his right hand on Thursday (today), will be out for up to six weeks due to carpal tunnel syndrome and is looking to return for Australia’s tours to Pakistan and the West Indies.

For two weeks MacGill has endured speculation over his future and he has held on to the thoughts of Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, who spoke to him before the Sri Lanka series when he was struggling to recover from a second knee operation.

“Andrew Hilditch said to me: ‘If you don’t come up for the first Test I want you to know it’s not the end. We want you around for the next couple of years.’ That’s pretty important to me, really,” MacGill said.

MacGill bowled badly in the second Test against Sri Lanka — he experienced severe numbness in his arm — but he does not want to retire. “At the moment my focus is on the tours,” he said. “I don’t want to finish like this. I know that I can bowl well. Mentally I’m in a good spot. Unfortunately my body is not quite where it should be,” he added.

The absence of MacGill creates an opening for Brad Hogg, who has not played a Test since 2003. Hogg is the most likely contender for the spot in the Boxing Day Test, although talk remains of playing four fast bowlers in an attempt to unsettle the Indian batsmen.

Hogg has performed strongly in One-day Internationals and on the domestic circuit but is trying not to worry about a potential promotion. “I feel like I’m bowling the best I’ve ever bowled, but it’s just one of those things - if you get the nod you get the nod,” Hogg said.

“If I think about (Test selection) I’m going to go downhill, so basically I can only keep doing what I’m doing and not worry about it,” he added. Both slow bowlers, who are 36, were picked in the squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka, but Hogg was let go two days before the match began.

The pair is set to jostle for a place if MacGill can recover from the operation. “I might miss out on playing India now, but I’ve got the chance of playing Test matches in India (later next year), which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” MacGill said. “There is lots of cricket in front of me,” he added.

While the Australian medical staff said MacGill was out of the first two Tests against India, it is expected he will miss the entire series and come back for New South Wales in late January. MacGill has been waking up with numb hands, but was surprised when the condition continued into the day in Hobart. During the Test he bowled a series of full-tosses because he was struggling with his grip. “It was like the ends of my fingers were dead,” he said. “It was like you had to prick your fingers to see if they were still there,” he explained.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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