WC 2003 - Twist of fortune: Gillespie out again due to heel injury

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2003, 22:43 [IST]
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Centurion: Australian quick Jason Gillespie came to the World Cup vowing that the years of injury-induced misery he has endured would serve as the ideal platform for his personal assault on the World Cup.On Wednesday, the 27-year-old was hit by the depressing news that four years after he missed the last World Cup because of a back injury, an Achilles injury had put an early end to his involvement in the 2003 version.

Gillespie had taken eight wickets in four games here but missed last weekend's thrilling win over England in Port Elizabeth because of the injury, allowing Andy Bichel to step in and take seven wickets.He had started to shine in South Africa with a fiery three for 13 off 10 overs, ripping the heart out of India's batting here on February 15 as he briefly put fellow pacemen Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee in the shade.

"With my past, I've missed a lot of cricket and I'm trying to make up for lost time, so to speak. I don't want to have any bad games. I want to be very consistent," Gillespie said when he arrived for the World Cup.But his latest injury should come as no surprise - he has endured extensive periods on the sidelines since making his debut in 1996.

"I just want to play a big part in victories, obviously with the ball, but if I can contribute with the bat and in the field, that's what I want to do," added the man who spent almost a year out of the game after the 1997 Ashes series with stress fractures in his back.Then on the tour of Sri Lanka in 1999 he broke his leg in a sickening outfield collision with skipper Steve Waugh. Since then his progress has been hampered by a succession of problems involving ankle, calf and shoulder injuries with his ill-fortune illustrated by a left elbow knock he suffered in January which resulted in torn ligaments.He blamed the ground staff at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for the injury after he slipped on a delivery in the final Ashes Test. "It gets frustrating," he said. "It really shouldn't have happened.

The footmarks were quite deep. The groundsmen repaired them, but I didn't think they repaired them properly and it was very slippery out there." Despite initial fears that his World Cup could be over before it began, he recovered and was looking ahead to causing more destruction with McGrath and Lee."Jason and I have formed a pretty good combination," McGrath said. "He gets good bounce, is pretty accurate and he's a bit quicker than I am.

If he builds up pressure like he can do, and can take early wickets like we have done together, it really puts the pressure back on our opponents."It remains to be seen whether or not an Australian attack, already deprived of the banned Shane Warne, can survive this new setback. Copyright AFP 2001

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