Perth: Australian paceman Glenn McGrath is out of cricket for two months with further surgery needed for a troublesome ankle. McGrath, who was poised to leapfrog New Zealander Richard Hadlee and India's Kapil Dev to become the fourth all-time leading wicket-taker, has been ruled out of this month's two home Test matches against Zimbabwe and the following Limited Overs tour of India.
Surgery also rules him out of the first two Tests against India, in Brisbane and Adelaide, in early December. Scans on his left ankle on Monday revealed that 33-year-old McGrath will require surgery to remove two bone spurs at the front of his ankle. The spurs have become a problem since he had a spur removed from the back of the joint in August. "Errol Alcott (Physiotherapist) and I will review him in mid-December, however, I expect him to make a full recovery," orthopaedic surgeon Martin Sullivan said here on Monday.
Australia now have to decide whether to go into Thursday's first Test against Zimbabwe with a four-man pace attack, or play leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, who took 17 wickets in the two winter Tests against Bangladesh. The Australians also have the option of playing five bowlers - Brad Williams, MacGill, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Andy Bichel - as they did in the West Indies in April, when they won the series 3-1.