Australia in India 2008-09 October 1, 2008

McGain ruled out of first Test

Cricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting chats to the injured Bryce McGain during Australia's training session © AFP
Bryce McGain, Australia's preferred spinner on the India tour, has been ruled out of the first Test after failing to recover from a shoulder injury he sustained last month. McGain's ongoing problem means Jason Krejza, the offspinner, is almost certain to make his Test debut when the series begins in Bangalore on October 9.

McGain strained his right shoulder while on tour with Australia A in September and, while he was confident the injury was not serious, he has struggled to bowl in the past week. McGain will not play in the Australians' final tour match against a Board President's XI starting in Hyderabad on Thursday and is also in doubt for the second Test.

McGain, 36, failed to bowl at the squad's first net session in India last week and missed the tour opener against the RCA Centre of Excellence. He tested the shoulder at training in Hyderabad on Tuesday but pulled up sore.

"Bryce re-aggravated it, at no stage did he bowl at 100%, we were just building up to that every day, just chipping away at it and it was the highest intensity he bowled yesterday and his arm didn't cope with it, so it's a setback for him,'' Australia's physio Alex Kountouris told AAP. "What we do know is that he's not going to be right for the four-dayer and it's going to be a few weeks at least, so that puts him out of this game and the first Test at least.

"The lat dorsi is your back muscle and it attaches to the back of the arm and he strained that. It's an unusual injury, not something that happens commonly, it attaches just a bit below the shoulder and it's an important muscle when he's following through and bowling.''

Tim Nielsen, Australia's coach, said it was yet to be decided whether to call for a replacement for McGain. "With the selectors coming in on the second day of this game, we will then be in the best situation to take a decision as to whether to ask for a replacement," Nielsen said. "This is a great opportunity for Jason Krejza.

"He has been excellent. He is a good part of the group and has worked hard to learn about the Indian conditions. He will be obviously the front runner for the Test series. It's a brilliant position for him to be. He can be nice and relaxed for tomorrow's game and use it as a good preparation for the first Test."