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January 18, 2006
Brendon Julian, the former Test bowler, believes Australia's hopes of regaining the Ashes would be boosted if Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist walked away from the one-day game. Managing the workloads of the mid-30s players has become a key issue for the selection panel as they plan for next summer's five-Test England series and McGrath was allowed to miss the Chappell-Hadlee Series in December while Gilchrist is currently on a week off.
Julian, who is now a television commentator, expected Gilchrist, his former team-mate, to benefit from the time at home as he deals with a worrying batting streak and he felt his case would need further monitoring. "I would hate to see McGrath and Gilchrist not be ready for the Ashes series coming up," Julian said in The Age. "I tend to think if it means them stepping out of the one-day arena to further lengthen their Test career, maybe that's something that needs to be done."
Gilchrist, 34, was initially approved for a break for the three-match Chappell-Hadlee Series but his holiday request was over-ruled by the Cricket Australia board and he has scored less than 500 runs in his 15 international matches this summer. His need for a rest may also have been shown in his heated argument with Aleem Dar in Sunday's five-wicket loss to South Africa that resulted in him being charged with dissent.
Julian said the effects of last winter's Ashes loss on the players could have been underestimated and he believed Gilchrist would have bounced back for the South Africa Test series if he had not gone to New Zealand. "I think it is weariness," he said. "I think he definitely needs that rest and around that New Zealand tour he probably should have been rested. It's well overdue, he's the type of player that will respond really well to that. It's such a heavy workload, batting and wicketkeeping at the same time."
Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, is mindful of the need to rest players performing in both the Test and one-day sides. More senior squad members are expected to be given short periods at home as the VB Series continues over the next four weeks.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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