Glenn McGrath is still hoping to make his international return at the Champions Trophy in India in September. McGrath has not played since January when his wife Jane again fell ill to cancer, but with her recovery he is set for his comeback.
"Things are going really well at home and Jane continues to improve each day," McGrath told the Sunday Telegraph. "She is more than happy for me to get back into some serious work. I've been doing plenty of indoor work and everything has been feeling great. Now it's time to build up with some extra sessions outdoors."
McGrath is due to visit Brisbane next week for a rigourous workout at the Australian Cricket Academy. "A few of the guys, including Michael Clarke, have indicated they want to travel up there with me and 'Pup' [Clarke] is pretty keen to face me," McGrath said. "I can't wait to get to Brisbane for the outdoor stuff."
He believes the flat batting tracks in India will be ideal practice for the Ashes campaign. "I can think of no better preparation for the Ashes than a six-week build-up on the flat sub-continent wickets," he said. "That will be all the workout I need leading into the summer."
He has received support and encouragement from the former greats Dennis Lillee, Richard Hadlee and Allan Donald. Lillee felt McGrath should be handed the new ball in the first Ashes Test and Hadlee said there was no reason why McGrath could not return "as strong as ever". "What you lose in pace you make up for in experience, skill and variation," he said.
"It's great to hear positive things from people who know what the game is all about, as opposed to the opinions of a few who are less informed," McGrath said. "They are all quality fast bowlers - three of the greatest ever - and that level of support has given me a lift."
McGrath revealed that if everything goes to plan he will feature in the World Cup 2007. "I've always said the next World Cup is a realistic goal - and the way I'm feeling, there is no reason why I can't go beyond that," he said. "As the guys have said, it's all about experience and I still have some good years, maybe even my best years, ahead of me."