McGrath move increases Australia's flexibility
John Buchanan believes using Glenn McGrath at first-change gives Australia more flexibility and says the decision will not stop him from taking the new ball for the Ashes. McGrath's slow return in India has been heavily analysed since his 2 for 36 against England on Saturday and Buchanan and Jason Gillespie were the latest to offer their support.
"One-day cricket and what we're doing here [in India] is slightly different to the Test match arena, because we're actually working out how to play our powerplays a bit better than we have in the past," Buchanan said in The Australian. "So by utilising Glenn in that way it gives us more flexibility, but I think the Test match arena is different to that.
"I can only hand that one back to the selectors but I wouldn't have thought it would change their thinking on his role in Test cricket." Buchanan also said McGrath still had "a great desire to be amongst the team and to play well".
McGrath said in The Courier-Mail it was his idea to drop back to first-change for the Champions Trophy. "I'm happy with it," he told the paper.
Gillespie spoke highly of his former opening partner and remembered the 2000-01 series against West Indies when his speed dropped to the low 120kph range. McGrath collected 10 wickets and gave up only 27 runs in 33 overs in the first Test at the Gabba and grabbed a hat-trick in the next match at Perth.
"We were all giving it to him, saying 'how slow are you'," Gillespie said in The Australian. "And he said, 'look at the figures'. Having control and hitting good areas is what it's all about."
Buchanan said the team had made the right decision to have McGrath in the Champions Trophy squad rather than playing for New South Wales in the Pura Cup. "That discussion was had a long time ago with the selectors and Glenn, myself and Ricky Ponting, and I don't think we've changed our opinion," Buchanan said. "The main thing is that he's actually out playing and gaining confidence, and that's the thing that we need to take into an Ashes series."