Stuart MacGill says Tim Nielsen has been regularly checking up on MacGill's preparation ahead of Australia's busy home summer, indicating he is likely to earn a Test recall. MacGill said he had an excellent relationship with Nielsen, who was an assistant coach under John Buchanan before taking over the senior role.
"Tim Nielsen has been unreal to me," MacGill told the Sydney Morning Herald. "He's been on the phone a lot to me - seeing how I'm going, making sure I'm getting myself ready. It's a pretty big summer for us all. Two teams from the sub-continent [India and Sri Lanka] are coming over and that's a pretty tough domestic program.
"Tim was always very good to me when he was the assistant coach. I had a difficult series a couple of years ago and he was really, really supportive. He's honest. The best kind of feedback is direct, and that's what Tim gives you."
MacGill was referring to the last time India toured Australia, in 2003-04, when he managed 14 wickets at 50.78 from the four Tests. "I actually bowled pretty close to how I'd hoped to bowl that series but without the success I'd planned for," MacGill said. "We had no Glenn McGrath and no [Shane] Warne, and the rest of us were getting flak, but [Nielsen] came up at the end of the series and was very supportive and very generous."
Despite an eventful start to this season - MacGill was fined for offensive language on Australia A's tour of Pakistan and had minor knee surgery in September - he is confident of being ready for a potential Test call-up. MacGill, 36, is playing his first Pura Cup game of the season against Queensland at the SCG starting on Friday after missing New South Wales' opening match due to the knee problem.
"I'm the oldest in the Aussie squad now ... I want to make sure I don't let myself down by sort of requiring a wheelchair to get around the field," he said. "I could have played our last game but I thought it would be stupid to rush back and it's perfect now."