Australia in India 2008-09 September 29, 2008

McGain and Krejza compete for spinner's spot

Cricinfo staff

Bryce McGain will want to enhance his chances of making the Test team with a strong showing against the Board President's XI © AFP

Australia's two spinners in India, Bryce McGain and Jason Krejza, have just over a week to press their claims for the specialist slow bowler's position in Australia's Test line-up. The coach Tim Nielsen said Australia were likely to field three fast bowlers and one spinner for the opening Test, which begins in Bangalore on October 9.

Australia's attack during their previous Test series, against West Indies earlier this year, comprised Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, and Stuart MacGill in the first two Tests. Beau Casson stepped in for the final match following MacGill's retirement.

"I think we did a pretty reasonable job in the West Indies playing on low, flat, pretty slow wickets that spun late in the game, especially the first two Tests, with three quicks and a spinner," Nielsen said. "So I'd expect that's what the mix will be, I think that suits the way we play best. We'll just have to sort out what that mix is and who our spinner is, basically.

"There's still two or three spots people are still trying to force their way into. It depends a little bit on what the Indian team is as well, whether they pick a lot of right-hand batsmen or left-hand batsmen and that might make a little bit of a difference to our spinning options."

The offspinner Krejza made a bright start to the tour, taking three wickets in a practice game against a Rajasthan Cricket Academy side in Jaipur. The legspinner McGain hasn't had a proper bowl yet because of a shoulder problem sustained during Australia A's tour of India earlier this month. He will get his opportunity during the tour match against a Board President's XI in Hyderabad starting on October 2.

"He's [McGain] just finishing off [his rehabilitation], it would have been nice to get him going in the two-day game but the physio just felt if we tried to do everything in the competitive game he might be going a little too hard," Nielsen said. "We're trying to keep it controlled, now he should be fit and right to play in the four-day game."

Australia are without the option of Andrew Symonds' offbreaks on this tour after he was left out of the squad. However, they can utilise the part-timers Michael Clarke, who bowls left-arm orthodox, and Simon Katich, who bowls left-arm wrist-spinners.