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McGrath return may be delayed

Sydney: Premier Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath’s planned return from injury for the second Test against India in December is being complicated by the lack of lead-up games, it was reported here Friday.

McGrath is recovering from ankle surgery and his return was scheduled for the second Test in Adelaide from December 12.

But no Sheffield Shield matches for his New South Wales (NSW) state side before then may delay his international return until the third Test in Melbourne starting December 26.

NSW’s last match before the second Test starts on November 18, which is considered too soon for 33-year-old paceman.

They do not play again until a match coinciding with the Adelaide Test, and it seems likely McGrath’s first-class return will be in the state fixture rather than the Test.

“The doctors seem to think the second Test is a real possibility for me,” McGrath told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“But the question of how much cricket I can get under my belt could decide it.

The fact NSW have no games in early December or the end of November is a bit of a worry.”

McGrath also wants to avoid a re-run of his experiences in the West Indies in April-May this year, when he arrived midway through the tour after five weeks off due to a health scare for his wife, Jane.

With just one three-day game as preparation, he struggled in the third and fourth Tests, taking only three wickets at 52 runs apiece.

With fellow pacemen Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee expected to be fit in time for the first match of the India series, national selectors may not want to rush McGrath back for the second Test on the strength of only club games behind him.

McGrath is the sixth all-time leading wicket-taker in Tests with 430 scalps, just one behind Hadlee (431).

West Indian Courtney Walsh holds the world record with 519 Test wickets.

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