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Since 1st March, 1999
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Steve warns against rushing Brett Lee
- Series vs India - Visitors should expect a very tough tour, says Aussie Test captain

Adelaide: Australian Test captain Steve Waugh on Friday warned against rushing Brett Lee back into the national team for the India series before the tearaway speedster has regained match fitness.

Waugh, however, said Australia was fully confident against India at home. “We’ve done well against India here in Australia, so I think they should expect a very tough tour,” he said.

“We’re confident, but they’re a side with a lot of talented players, particularly in the batting line-up and it’s a fresh series, so we’ll wait and see.”

Lee is recovering from ankle surgery and torn stomach muscles, and has not played since the second Test against Zimbabwe in Sydney last month.

He is making a bid to be ready for the first Test against India in Brisbane starting December 4, but would have had only one limited-overs match before then for New South Wales against Tasmania on November 29.

Waugh said the decision was up to the selectors, but he would not want to captain a side involving players with fitness doubts. “I’m not sure how Brett’s going. It’s not a lot of preparation, but it’s up to the selectors to make that call,” Waugh said here.

“I think you want to see the guys ready for a Test match. You can’t really go in hoping they’re going to be okay, you’ve got to know they’re going to be right and they’ve done enough bowling.”

Paceman Glenn McGrath, who is recovering from two ankle operations and has not played since the second Test against Bangladesh in Cairns last July, is in a similar situation and is also unlikely to be ready for the first Test.

But Waugh gained some encouragement from watching first hand as another recovering Australian paceman, Jason Gillespie, took match figures of seven for 100 in his comeback Sheffield Shield match, in which South Australia defeated NSW at Adelaide Oval.

“From an Australian point of view it was (encouraging). From a NSW point of view not so great,” Waugh said.

“But he bowled very well, deserved his wickets, and worked hard and worked into it nicely. He bowled a lot of overs, I don’t think he was at 100 per cent pace but I think he worked into it well.”

Another Test bowler on the injury comeback trail, leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, in his second game back after a month off with a calf injury, was not in such good form in the South Australia-NSW match.

MacGill had match figures of four for 147 from 29.4 overs, which provided the South Australia batsmen with plenty of easy boundaries from half-pitched deliveries and full tosses, but Waugh said there were some promising signs.

“He was a little bit hot and cold in this match. He hasn’t bowled a lot before the last two weeks, then he’s had a lot of bowling. One or two things were niggling away at him. He’s got a sore toe. There were some encouraging signs there, but he wasn’t consistent.”

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