Jenner criticises MacGill omission
Terry Jenner, who played nine Tests for Australia but is better known as Shane Warne's mentor, has criticised Australia's selectors for omitting Stuart MacGill from the squad to tour India next month. Jenner questioned the idea of going with Nathan Hauritz and Cameron White to back up Warne, saying that India was hardly the right place to groom youngsters.
Speaking to the Sun-Herald newspaper, Jenner said, "It's very sad that a bloke who has taken 150-odd wickets at Test level has been passed over for two guys who haven't even been successful at first-class level. I would have thought that if you were to pick the best two spinners in Australia you'd have to pick MacGill as the second spinner.
"You have to blood young bowlers for the future, but Hauritz has had no success and for someone like that to go to the most difficult place in the world for spinners - a place where Shane and Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] have averaged 40 or 50 - what hope does Nathan have?"
Jenner reckoned that both Hauritz and White were picked with containment roles in mind. "But, in that case, they may as well have picked someone like Andrew Symonds to keep it tight because he bats and fields well, too," he said. "Put it this way, I can't imagine Hauritz keeping [Sachin] Tendulkar down for too long. My thinking is that if you don't have one who's good enough, you don't take one at all."
Jenner's views found support from two offspinners who had a fair degree of success in Indian conditions. Greg Matthews was instrumental in the Tied Test of 1986, and he said, "I find it amazing that, for the place where you have the most difficult conditions, a place where we haven't been successful for 35 years, they're taking one guy who struggles to make a first-class team and another whose stats don't rate. Hauritz is a lovely young man but he played eight games last year for two wickets a game at 63 and they're putting him up against the best in the world."
Gavin Robertson, who was the foil for Warne on the ill-fated tour of 1998, believed that Hauritz's style was better suited for the one-day game. "You can't bowl slow on subcontinental wickets, you've got to rip the hell out of the ball and make it drop quickly," he said. "If you don't, you'll be in trouble. Nathan needs to spin the ball more. When you play a lot of one-day cricket you tend to underspin it. You really have to dig it into the dust and try to get bounce and spin, otherwise you'll be in trouble."