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Stuart MacGill has finished a season of stress on a Pura Cup-winning high and is now preparing for the tour of the West Indies in May. While MacGill must first wait for the selectors' confirmation, his return of 2 for 36 and 2 for 118 in the SCG decider has him in line to replace the retired Brad Hogg.
The collection included "one of my best deliveries in years", a wicked ball that bowled Brad Hodge, who failed to offer a shot when it pitched in the rough outside leg. After turning up in poor fitness for the Sri Lanka series in November, MacGill headed for wrist surgery and then lost 10kg during his rehabilitation.
"I'm a lot more relaxed now and I can see the path ahead," MacGill said in the Daily Telegraph. "All I wanted to do was prove I could play again.
"I'm not saying I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I'm satisfied with my comeback from surgery and I've been able to do something special when a lot of people had me finished up. At last I've got no injuries to worry about, I'm fit and there's a tour coming up to look forward to."
The trip to the West Indies leaves in May and Australia's spin options look much healthier when MacGill is in the frame. Bryce McGain has performed well for Victoria, although he picked up only three wickets in 53 overs during the final, and Dan Cullen, the South Australia offspinner, has failed to show the form of his initial campaigns.
MacGill's summer started poorly but he finished it in a much stronger position. "I suppose I was under a lot more stress this season and there were a lot of things getting in the way," MacGill said. "My knee didn't come to the party. At the end of last summer I was told I couldn't do anything about my knee and, at the time, I should have got a second opinion. I thought I'd get by.
"It was while I was in Pakistan that Cameron White actually said to me I should give his surgeon a call and I did. But I had my knee operated on four weeks before the start of this summer. I actually had five operations in total last year."