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I'm in best shape ever, insists Australia's McGrath

Written by: Staff
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MELBOURNE, Nov 21 (Reuters) Australian bowler Glenn McGrath laughed off accusations he was too old for the forthcoming Ashes series, insisting he was in the best shape of his 13-year test career as he prepares to face England once again.

''I don't remember feeling this fresh my whole career,'' McGrath told reporters ahead of the first test starting in Brisbane on Thursday.

''Because I am 36 should I give the game away even though I am feeling better than I ever have?'' McGrath was included in Australia's 13-man squad for the opener at the Gabba after a nine-month absence from test cricket after helping his wife to overcome a cancer scare.

Despite solid performances at the Champions Trophy in India and in the three-day tour game for New South Wales against England, McGrath's age and fitness for another Ashes battle have been questioned by the Australian media.

''To me the team should be picked on performance. I don't see myself as too old,'' McGrath said.

''With technology and the way we train and prepare, who knows in another 10 or 15 years guys could be playing at 45, 46.

''I know a lot of people who are fitter when they are 40 or 45 than they were at 20 or 25.

''I don't think fitness or the number of overs we have to bowl is an issue, it's only the mind that will decide when I hang up the boots.'' McGrath, who has taken 542 wickets in 119 tests, is expected to take the new ball with Brett Lee in Brisbane on Thursday as Australia try to reclaim the Ashes won by England in 2005.

REUTERS SAM VA RAI0941

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