As Stuart MacGill sweats on the best way forward for his injured knee, Australia's selectors could be making the decision easier by considering four fast men for the first Test against India. Speculation over whether MacGill is headed for surgery has continued and the bowler is expected to make a decision towards the end of the week.
MacGill was completing editing for his pay television wine show on Tuesday and said in the Sydney Morning Herald he was "prepared to do whatever is required to get back at my peak if at all possible". "I have no idea whether or not this includes surgery at this stage," he said. "Later in the week I will have a clearer idea of what is going on."
Trefor James, the team doctor, told the Australian he would be surprised if MacGill chose to have an operation. "It's not something he would contemplate at the moment, I don't think," he said. The physio Alex Kountouris was planning to set up medical appointments for MacGill to determine whether he needed to see a specialist for the degenerative condition.
Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, does not expect "anything dramatic" to happen. "Stuart is just being monitored in the normal way," he said in the Herald. "I am not expecting anything dramatic by way of medical treatment to come out of it."
MacGill bowled poorly during the second Test in Hobart when he was fighting arm and knee problems. However, Hilditch said he was pleased with the way MacGill performed in both games against Sri Lanka.
"Obviously, he developed a bit of a problem with his hand on the last day, which made it extremely difficult for him," Hilditch said. "But in general terms, we were pretty happy with the way he bowled. In fact, we are happy with how the whole Test team has gone."
Brad Hogg is the likely option if MacGill is ruled out of the Boxing Day Test, but using four fast bowlers and Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke as back-up will be discussed. "We made it pretty clear before first Test selection that we consider our best balance will contain a spinner, but there are going to be various conditions where a four-pronged pace attack will not be ruled out," Hilditch said. "It will all come down to the conditions at that time and where we are playing."
The MCG will use a drop-in pitch for the Test and its unpredictability could influence the make-up of the attack. If an extra fast bowler is needed the selectors will consider Ben Hilfenhaus and Shaun Tait while Queensland's Ashley Noffke may also come into calculations.