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Glenn McGrath unlikely to play in Champions Trophy

Top Story

July 11, 2006

SYDNEY: Andrew Hilditch, the Australia chairman of selectors, has hinted Glenn McGrath may miss the ICC Champions Trophy which begins mere weeks before the start of the Ashes.

McGrath, 36, missed Australia’s tours of South Africa and Bangladesh earlier this year owing to his wife’s battle with cancer. Jane’s health has improved in recent months and, in May, McGrath hit back at the critics who said his career could be over when he said he had “been working on a number of things I believe will make me an even better bowler come the start of the Ashes”.

To have McGrath fit and ready for the Ashes, Hilditch believes he would be better off missing the one-day tournament in October. “We’re going to sit down with the coaching staff and map out Glenn’s fitness and how he needs to best get back into playing cricket again,” Hilditch told AAP.

“That [the Indian series] will be something we’ll talk through with Glenn and the Australian coaches and make sure Glenn’s program is exactly as he wants it and we need it to be so he’s ready to play in the Ashes. “We haven’t really started that process yet. We will do that probably in the near future.”

Following England’s dispiriting performance in the recent Test series against Sri Lanka; their calamitous one-day series; the glut of injuries and the ruling out of Michael Vaughan from participating, the feeling is that Australia will be too dominant. However Hilditch said Australia would need to be at their very best to regain the Ashes.

“The reality I think they’ll come ready to retain the Ashes and I think they’ll be a very strong side,” Hilditch said. “We’ll have to play at our very, very best to beat England. “Whatever they’ve been doing in the last few months and in the next few months, I think come Ashes time it is going to be all fairly irrelevant.”

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