Selectors choose international path for bowler's return September 4, 2006

McGrath picked for Champions Trophy

Cricinfo staff

Glenn McGrath will follow his desired route towards the Ashes © Getty Images

Glenn McGrath has got his wish to prepare for the Ashes by playing in the Champions Trophy after he was named in Australia's 14-man squad. McGrath, who has not appeared since January due to his wife's illness, said throughout the winter he preferred joining his team-mates in India in October to returning via the Pura Cup and after serious discussions the selectors have finally agreed.

"We've decided that the best way for Glenn to make his way back into international cricket is to play international cricket," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "We believe the combination of the Malaysian tri-series and the Champions Trophy is ideal preparation for what will be a huge summer of cricket for Glenn."

McGrath talked to the selectors and John Buchanan to push for a starting place on the India trip, but he was not sure which way they would go and was a happy man at New South Wales training on Monday. "If I can get used to the conditions and bowl well over there, coming back and bowling on Australian wickets will be like Christmas," McGrath said in The Australian.

Despite his long lay-off, McGrath said he was in a similar position as Australia's other bowlers. "I think I am slightly better where I have had more time off and I've been training longer - they obviously had to have a break when they came back from overseas," he said in The Courier-Mail. "So I don't think I will be too different to where they are - who knows, maybe a little bit in front."

The team announcement was not so good for Matthew Hayden, who missed out despite gaining a spot in the 18-man outfit for the tri-series in Kuala Lumpur starting on September 12. Hayden was effectively replaced by Adam Gilchrist, who will regain the vice-captaincy from Michael Hussey after choosing to train at home instead of joining the short warm-up tour. Mark Cosgrove, Dan Cullen, Phil Jaques and Brad Haddin have also been cut from the Malaysian group.

"We've picked a strong squad which blends experience with some younger talent," Hilditch said. "Australia have been successful in one-day internationals for a long time but we haven't won the Champions Trophy and we've picked a side that we believe is capable of winning it." Australia's first match of the tournament is on October 18 in Mumbai.

Australia squad Adam Gilchrist (wk), Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Damien Martyn, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Glenn McGrath, Mitchell Johnson.