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Australia's McGrath takes steps toward return

MELBOURNE: Australia paceman Glenn McGrath will demonstrate his fitness in front of selectors in Brisbane on Wednesday after six months away from competitive cricket.

McGrath last played for Australia in a one-dayer against Sri Lanka in Perth at the end of January before missing the tours of South Africa and Bangladesh to spend time with his wife Jane, who is fighting cancer.

She gave her blessing in June for him to return to action and the 36-year-old will bowl in front of coach John Buchanan and bowling coach Troy Cooley at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence to assess when he can return to the Australia setup.

"It will be a really good opportunity for him just to get outdoors and have a bowl in front of a few of the coaches and get a little bit of assessment of where he's at," Buchanan said.

"He says he's been physically doing some good work (with New South Wales) so that's a good sign.

"He hasn't played for a little period of time so he's got some catching up to do there but all signs are very good for his return."

McGrath, who has taken 542 wickets in 119 tests, has earmarked October's ICC Champions Trophy in India as his return before his swansong against England in the Ashes starting in Brisbane on Nov. 23.

He may also consider playing in the domestic Pura Cup competition for New South Wales or even at a triangular series with South Africa and Pakistan pencilled in for September.

"There's a whole range of options for him," Buchanan said. "There's no exact science to say if you do that then that will be the outcome but I think we'll get a program that will have him ready for the first day of the first (Ashes) Test."

 

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