McGrath close to return

Paceman Glenn McGrath has earmarked the Champions Trophy in India in September for his return to international cricket.

McGrath has not played since January when his wife Jane again fell ill to cancer, however Australia's most successful fast bowler believes he can return better than ever to the elite level.

The paceman, who was shocked by the last week's bombings in Mumbai, believes the unforgiving wickets in India will provide the ideal platform from which he can launch his Ashes campaign.

"But cricket-wise, I can think of no better preparation for the Ashes than a six-week build-up on the flat sub-continent wickets," McGrath told The Sunday Telegraph.

"That will be all the workout I need leading into the summer."

McGrath will take the first step of his comeback next week when he travels to Brisbane for a workout at the Australian Cricket Academy, where he will lock horns with Michael Clarke.

"I've been doing plenty of indoor work and everything has been feeling great. Now it's time to build up with some extra sessions outdoors," he said.

"A few of the guys, including Michael Clarke, have indicated they want to travel up there with me and 'Pup' is pretty keen to face me. I can't wait to get to Brisbane for the outdoor stuff."

If things run smoothly, McGrath is keen to continue playing after Australia's World Cup defence in the Caribbean next year.

"I've always said the next World Cup is a realistic goal - and the way I'm feeling, there is no reason why I can't go beyond that," he said.

"As the guys have said, it's all about experience and I still have some good years, maybe even my best years, ahead of me."

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