Ricky Ponting says Stuart MacGill is the obvious choice to step into Shane Warne’s shoes for the first Test against Sri Lanka. MacGill is due to have a fitness check before New South Wales play Queensland in the Pura Cup on Friday, which is his last opportunity to prove he is ready after a pre-season knee operation.
Australia open their Test season at the Gabba on November 8 and Ponting expects MacGill to be there if he completes the four-day fixture. “He’s the obvious choice to take over from Shane, he’s on 198 Test wickets now, and he’s got them as quickly [in 40 Tests] as anyone in the history of the game,” Ponting told AAP.
“If Warne hadn’t been around Stuart would have taken a lot of wickets. And if you look at him, he probably would have fitted in to most other Test teams around the world over the last eight or 10 years.” If MacGill doesn’t make it to Brisbane Australia will have to look at the merits of Dan Cullen, Brad Hogg or a four-man pace attack.
The opening batting spot is also being strongly contested and Justin Langer believes Brad Hodge’s only chance of making the team is at the top of the order. “Brad Hodge is too good a player not to be playing Test cricket,” Langer said in the Age. “He has never opened [in Tests] before but he would have to open against us if he is to be any chance.”
Australia’s middle order of Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist is settled and Hodge has had to consider a promotion. “I’ll be trying my best to get my hands on it,” Hodge said, “but if I don’t, then back to the drawing board and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Hodge, who struggled in the one-day series in India, has one major opponent in Phil Jaques, who has started the season in excellent form. Jaques has already played two Tests in the position and Langer said he had an edge. “Talent is about making runs,” Langer said, “and he knows how to do that.”
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Australia, Ricky Ponting, shane warne, Sri Lanka in Australia 2007, Stuart MacGill
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