Cloud hangs over MacGill's future

There is doubt over whether Stuart MacGill will continue to play for New South Wales this summer due to a contract clash between his state and country. MacGill, who retired during the middle of the West Indies series in June, was handed a national deal for 2008-09, but he stepped down before it started.

By that stage New South Wales had already finalised their squad of 20 and MacGill is now stuck between masters. "Cricket Australia has allocated its 25 national contracts," the New South Wales chief executive David Gilbert said in the Sun-Herald. "Stuart was one of them but then announced his retirement. We need to work out if he stays one of the 25 or does he come to a compromise?

"We had [allocated our state contracts] in May before Stuart had announced his retirement. So when that was announced we didn't have any contracts left to allocate. We're just waiting to hear what's happening between Stuart and Cricket Australia."

A Cricket Australia spokesman said the ball was in MacGill's court and he had been asked whether he intended to continue playing state cricket. "We're waiting to hear back," Peter Young said. "If he says he wants to play on, a discussion will start between us and Stuart's management to achieve a workable solution."

While there is doubt over MacGill's career, there is no confusion over the direction of his state team-mate Phillip Hughes. After scoring a century in the Pura Cup final in March, Hughes will start his season as part of the Australia A squad in India next month.

Hughes, 19, has appeared in only seven first-class games but was picked in the outfit, which will be captained by Simon Katich. "It's all happened so fast," Hughes told the paper. "I moved to Sydney just over two years ago, got a rookie contract a year ago and was then upgraded to a full contract.

"Then to play seven games for New South Wales, and get picked in the Australia A team, is great. My goal at the start of the season was just to play one first-class game, so things are going well."