Hogg definitely deserves Test spot: MacGill

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Sydney, Dec 6 (UNI) In a fine show of camaraderie injured leg-spinner Stuart MacGill has anointed chinaman Brad Hogg as his natural successor for the spin option in an all important Test series against India this summer.

The 36-year-old MacGill, beat Hogg for a spot in the Test team for last month's two-Test series against Sri Lanka and said the West Australian left-arm wrist spinner was the logical choice to replace him in the Boxing Day Test.

''Hoggy definitely deserves the spin-bowling spot,'' MacGill said at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. ''He's the best in Australia,'' he added MacGill has ruled himself out of contention for the four-Test series because of surgery on his right wrist and has targeted the tour of Pakistan in March or the West Indies in May next year for his comeback.

In light of MacGill's injury, there has been speculation that Australia might go in with a four-pronged pace attack on the Boxing Day against India.

However, MacGill said Hogg's match haul of 8-83 for the Warriors in the Pura Cup game against Victoria at the MCG in October warranted his inclusion.

''I would be disappointed if Australia didn't pick the best four or five bowlers,'' MacGill was quoted as saying by the 'The Australian' ''The way that Hoggy plays (as an all-rounder) maybe there's an opportunity to play four (quicks) plus Hoggy.

''There's certainly some interesting pitches being produced down in Melbourne and I think you probably do need a spin bowler. That was where he bowled his best this year and that's where the spin bowlers dominated in the state game last week,'' MacGill said.

Despite concerns about his age and whether he can still be a force following surgery, MacGill said he had received plenty of encouragement from his peers including former Test captain Steve Waugh.

''Steve (Waugh) sent me an e-mail just making sure I was good with where I was at and I appreciate his support,'' MacGill said.

''There's always people out there who misread comments made by former players and I'm definitely not one of them.

''I know that my peers support me and he's been a great supporter of me through my career,'' he added Meanwhile, chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said he was disappointed to lose MacGill for the Test series against India. But gave a rousing vote of support for Hogg.

''We had planned for Stuart to play a big role in the side over the next couple of years and he may well still do that,'' Hilditch said.

''Still, we have Brad Hogg, who we believe can do an excellent job should he get the opportunity.'' Hilditch moved to quell debate over whether four fast bowlers should be unleashed against an opponent that has traditionally struggled against pace, declaring this was not the selection panel's ''ideal make-up''.

''I think Test cricket is generally better with a make-up of a quality spinner, particularly going into a third, fourth or fifth day,'' he said.

''But I don't think we've ever been adverse to the concept, if the wicket conditions suit, of playing four fast bowlers.

We would probably look at it.

''But I don't think it's any secret that Australian cricket, generally, would prefer to go in with a spinner, to go in with the balance we need.

''Brad Hogg will do an excellent job if he is chosen.'' Hogg was a key player in Australia's World Cup success, he has a wrong-un that most batsmen cannot pick and has enjoyed a solid Pura Cup season with 13 wickets, including eight for Western Australia against Victoria at the MCG.

It is understood the national selectors will strongly consider naming a 13-man party later this month and wait until a final inspection of a drop-in pitch, which has been criticised this summer, before finalising the XI.

UNI

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