Kasprowicz unlikely to be the fall guy

Published: Thursday, April 15, 2004, 23:09 [IST]
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Sydney:Chief selector Trevor Hohns has backed the retention of fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz in the face of the imminent return of pace spearhead Glenn McGrath for next month's tour to Zimbabwe.

With McGrath fully recovered from ankle surgery, selectors are expected to decide between Brad Williams and Shaun Tait as a fourth paceman in the touring party.

McGrath, stalled on 430 Test wickets at 21.71, is poised to regain the new ball in a Test attack including Jason Gillespie, Kasprowicz and Shane Warne.

The 34-year-old is determined to show he is 100 percent fit and has lost nothing in his nine months away from Test action.

With a fast bowler likely to make way for McGrath, Hohns has backed Kasprowicz, who took 12 wickets at 25.16 in last month's Test series in Sri Lanka, to continue to succeed.

"I don't think they're similar, they're different types of bowlers, it just depends how the captain views it," Hohns said on Thursday.

"Michael certainly made the most of the recent opportunities he's had and that's a fantastic thing for him because he's worked so hard for many years. Michael's probably bowling better than he has ever done in his career."

Selectors look set to put the all-rounder experiment on hold for the two-Test series when they sit down to choose both the Test and One-day squads next week.

After playing the opening two Tests in the 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka last month, all-rounder Andrew Symonds may be overlooked in favour of a specialist batsman, possibly rising star Michael Clarke.

Hohns admitted 14 would be the "ideal" number of tourists in case of injuries.

While not discounting Symonds, Hohns indicated the Queenslander, whose all-round skills and bowling variety won him his Test debut in Sri Lanka, had not been viewed as a front-line batsman.

"He was retained in the Test squad for Sri Lanka because of his all-round package," he said.

Australia are scheduled to play three One-day matches in Zimbabwe before returning home in mid-June for a home series with Sri Lanka but the Zimbabwe tour is in some doubt because of a wrangle over the Zimbabwean selection panel.

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