Wednesday 21 November 2007 

MacGill Told To Get Fit To Keep Test Place For India Tour

Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill has been ordered to improve his fitness if he wants to retain a place in the Test side to face India in December.

MacGill has been struggling with hand and knee problems and was not at his best during the recent 2-0 series victory over Sri Lanka.

Five wickets at 62.50 was his return from the series and in Hobart he delivered a number of full tosses and long hops, with Australian coach Tim Nielsen commenting:

"I think he realises that he has got some work to do physically to get himself up to a level which is going to allow him to play back to back test matches and fulfil the role that we need him to do which is to bowl big blocks of overs one end to allow our quicks to keep churning away from the other end.

"We play back-to-back test matches all through this summer and if you can't physically cope...there is no way they can give themselves the best chance of executing their skills to the level they need to be successful.

"Stuey came off surgery six weeks ago so he's really working hard to get that right and we're encouraging him to get as fit as he possibly can and maintain his work on his skills."

Captain Ricky Ponting remained confident in MacGill's abilities, adding that:

"There is no doubt he has carried a few things through this game with his finger and his knee giving him a few troubles.

"He has got a few weeks to get his body in the best shape he possibly can.

"If he gets his body right and he's fit then I think he will probably be the number-one choice spinner."

In 43 Tests for Australia, MacGill has taken 203 wickets.