Forgotten MacGill wants to remind Test selectors he's still got it

Published: Monday, November 8, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill hopes to make up for the disappointment of being overlooked for Australia's tour of India by snaffling a bagful of wickets against New Zealand.

Australian selectors were criticised last week after an injury to Shane Warne forced Australia to pick young off-spinner Nathan Hauritz for his debut in the final Bombay Test.

Hauritz seized his chance, claiming match figures of 5-103, but critics felt selectors had been exposed for not picking the more experienced MacGill in the original touring party.

Warne is in doubt for the opening Test against New Zealand in Brisbane starting November 18 with a broken thumb, and MacGill has a great opportunity this week to push his case for a Test return.

MacGill will take the field for New South Wales in their four-day tour game against New Zealand, starting at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

"I read (chairman of selectors) Trevor Hohns as being quoted as saying they know what I can do," MacGill said on Monday.

"And they know I can win Test matches for Australia and I have to make sure that I have a look at the New Zealand batsman and I have to keep my name at the top of the list."

MacGill believes his best chance could come in the second Test against the Kiwis in Adelaide, which has a renowned spinner's pitch.

"I want to make sure it is the easiest selection of all, that's me," he said.

MacGill has captured 152 wickets at 29.21 during his 32-Test career and his last Test was against Sri Lanka in Kandy earlier this year.

He said he was not upset by the decision to pick Hauritz because he was a finger spinner and provided variety to Warne's wrist spin.

MacGill said NSW planned to disrupt the preparations of the New Zealanders who fly in on Tuesday following a successful tour of Bangladesh.

"If we were to do a job on them it would hurt their first Test preparation because they would be slightly underdone and they would not be happy with that," he said.

"They would be planning to have a good bowl and a good bat but we will do our best to prevent them from doing that."

MacGill, 33, expected the Black Caps to be switched on for the tour match as they make the transition of playing Bangladesh to the Australian lineup.

"Maybe they have been coasting a little bit in Bangladesh that is why they are going to be taking this match very seriously and hopefully, we can put up a bit more of a fight than Bangladesh," he said.

Also of interest will be the performance of tearaway fast bowler Brett Lee, who has only played one first-class match this year since the Sri Lankan tour in March.

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