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‘We need a spinner for Test cricket’

AS STUART MacGill consulted a specialist about his hand in Sydney, his Australian teammate Mike Hussey said Australia should continue to employ a frontline spinner for the Boxing Day Test. Moreover, he hopes that spinner is MacGill.

MacGill saw a specialist about the hand and wrist problem that caused him to experience numbness during the Hobart Test and will have scans on Monday.

As the national selectors consider confronting India with a four-pronged pace attack on a bouncy drop-in wicket at the MCG, the senior Australian batsman strongly endorsed a more traditional structure.

“I’m sure they will look at it, but if it were me personally making the decisions I believe we do need a spinner in Test match cricket. The game is not just played on the first day when the ball is brand new, it’s played over five whole days and the pitch deteriorates,” Hussey said.

“There is definitely a place, I think, for a top-class spinner to play a huge role in the Australian team, and I’m hoping it is Stuart MacGill. I hope he can get himself as close to 100% fit as possible because Stuey at 100% is a damn fine bowler and his record speaks for itself.”

MacGill is also battling a degenerative knee injury and deciding whether to have surgery that would rule him out of the India series but, he hopes, have him fit for the closing stages of the domestic season and the Test tours that follow. Should he be unavailable for Boxing Day, the selectors would either call on Brad Hogg or opt for a pace quartet of Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson and one of Shaun Tait or Ben Hilfenhaus.

Australia last entered a Test with a pace quartet and no recognised spinner against India in 1991-92 in Perth when Sachin Tendulkar made a defiant century in a 300-run loss when Shane Warne was dropped after his first two Tests.

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