<
>

MacGill may head for surgery

Stuart MacGill's state coach insists the legspinner can play a long-term role for Australia despite being unsure of his future. MacGill's knee injury is threatening his career and the Sydney Morning Herald reported he would have surgery to fix the ligament problem instead of playing in the India series.

The claim has not been confirmed by MacGill, who was unable to maintain his length during the second Test against Sri Lanka, but if he has an operation he will aim to be fit for the tour to Pakistan in March. MacGill has had two bouts of surgery in the past six months in a bid to fix the injury, which he suffered on John Buchanan's boot camp before the 2006-07 Ashes. If he misses the India series Brad Hogg will be his replacement.

MacGill was left out of the New South Wales squad for the Pura Cup match against Victoria on Friday and Matthew Mott, the state coach, said the bowler was unsure of his future. "Obviously he hasn't had much breathing space of late so he wants to sit down with his family and take a bit of time out and make a decision that is going to hold him in good stead for a long time," Mott said in the Australian.

"I wouldn't think retirement is on the cards, but I'm pretty sure there are things that he needs to get right to be at his best and it's going to take time to do that. He'll need to reassess whether he's prepared to do that."

Stuart Clark said if MacGill was out it would leave a "massive hole". "He's arguably the second greatest legspinner of all time," Clark told the ABC. "I know that others would probably disagree, but he's going to be a massive loss for us and someone will have to fill that void. But in saying that, Brad Hogg's bowling pretty well and he'll probably step into the role and hopefully he'll do a great job as well."

Mott said if MacGill wanted to get fit there would be many opportunities to play Tests over the next 18 months. "He's waited around so long that I don't see why he wouldn't be motivated and determined," Mott said. "This is his time and he's had to wait a long time to get that opportunity. I think he'd have rocks in his head if he wasn't motivated to play well over the next 12-18 months for Australia."