Stuart MacGill says he is recovering well from surgery for carpal-tunnel syndrome and hopes to be back in action soon, but a sports doctor has warned MacGill might never fully regain the feeling in his bowling hand. MacGill had the operation early this month and could be back in state training in two weeks, according to the Cricket New South Wales chief executive Dave Gilbert.
Gilbert said MacGill would be looking at a comeback in the Blues' Pura Cup match against Western Australia in Sydney starting on January 25, although he would not have long before the game to practice with the squad. "It's a tricky period at the moment," Gilbert told the Sun-Herald. "The team leaves on new year's eve for a three-state tour in five days for the Twenty20 games so they're not back in Sydney as a whole squad until the second week of January."
MacGill has installed a home gymnasium to help him get back to full fitness as he aims to be considered for Australia's tour of Pakistan in March, should the trip go ahead. Despite also suffering knee problems MacGill said he had no plans to give up on adding to his 203 wickets from 42 Tests.
"There's no way I'm retiring," MacGill said in the Sunday Telegraph. "I'll be getting back into cricket as soon as possible. I've had surgery and everything is going great. The recovery period generally is six weeks although this [carpal-tunnel syndrome] is unusual for a cricketer so I'm not sure about the recovery period, but I'm concerned with getting myself right."
MacGill's confidence came as the sports medico Nathan Gibbs said there was no guarantee MacGill would make a successful comeback. Gibbs, who has worked with the New South Wales and Australia rugby league sides as well as the AFL team the Sydney Swans, said the operation would ease MacGill's pain but that did not mean the numbness would necessarily disappear.
"The surgery almost always helps but whether he gets back the feeling to bowl the way he used to bowl, only time will tell," Gibbs said. "The best case is Stuart will be fine in six weeks. The worst is that he may never get that sensory aspect back and where he is in his career at the moment, he could run out of time to get back to the level of skill he had before."
In MacGill's absence Brad Hogg was called into the Test team for the Boxing Day match against India. Hogg fought back after an initial assault from Sachin Tendulkar and finished with match figures of 4 for 133, removing the dangerous Sourav Ganguly in both innings.