| McGrath:Absence extended
Adelaide, Jan. 18 (Reuters) - Fast bowler Glenn McGrath will miss Australia’s next two tri-series matches because of a recurring back injury.
With the World Cup starting next month, Australian selectors have decided to rest the lanky paceman for the upcoming matches with England and Sri Lanka.
Adam Gilchrist, promoted to the captaincy after Ricky Ponting was given the game off, said McGrath was expected to return in time for the first one-day final on Thursday.
“It’s more precautionary than anything,” Gilchrist said.
“He just wants to make sure that he can really get rid of this niggle and make sure he’s fresh for the finals and obviously the big workload after that.”
Brett Lee has been recalled as McGrath’s replacement for Australia’s match against England on Sunday after initially being told he could have a rest.
Middle-order batsman Michael Clarke has also been added to the team to make his international debut after Darren Lehmann was suspended for his racial outburst in the match against Sri Lanka.
With Australia already assured of a place in the tri-series finals, the selectors have decided to rest several key players and save them for the World Cup.
Paceman Jason Gillespie has not played since the final Ashes Test in Sydney after injuring his elbow but is almost ready to make a comeback after training on Saturday.
“He had a light trundle this morning and it’s great to see him back,” Gilchrist said. “He had a really positive outlook on it and obviously he is keen to get back in as soon as he can.”
Australian coach John Buchanan said no disrespect was being shown to England by fielding an under-strength side.
Buchanan said Australia’s thinking was that the side could be depleted through injury during the World Cup.
“So we simply need to be able to give ourselves as many options as we can when we get to major games and put ourselves in situations where possibly we don’t and cannot rely on certain players,” he said.
“This is just another opportunity to do that. It’s certainly not a case of being disrespectful to the opposition.
“In fact, we are doing it because we have good opposition and it puts players under more pressure.”
While England have almost assured themselves of a berth in the finals, Sri Lanka are hoping that Nasser Hussain’s team suffers heavy defeats in the remaining games.