McGrath ready to return

Champion fast-bowler Glenn McGrath is right on schedule to line up in the Ashes series against England later this year, according to Australian batsman Michael Clarke.

McGrath has been out of action since February to look after his wife, Jane, who has been recovering from chemotherapy, but the NSW paceman plans to make his comeback for Australia in the ICC Champions Trophy in India in October.

Clarke, who credits his fellow New South Welshman as being one of the biggest influences on his career, said that McGrath's frame of mind is positive and that he has resumed full fitness training.

"We trained together a couple of times last week - a bit of fitness work - and he will be back training again this week. He's in good spirits," Clarke told Sportal.
"I know Glenn is keen as mustard to play this summer and it's just a matter of making sure everything is OK at home. I think everything is going well and hopefully we will see Glenn back out on the field again very soon."

The 25-year-old batsman also gave McGrath glowing praise for the example he sets to the younger players in the Australian and NSW playing squads.

"He's an absolute champion Pigeon. He is great for someone like me, a young guy, to associate with," he said.

"He loves training and he loves pushing himself. It's great to be good mates with him and it's great to see him back at training. Jane and Glenn are fantastic people."

Should McGrath return to the Australian Test side for the Ashes series, the national selectors will likely have the dilemma of being able to pick only one of Jason Gillespie, Stuart Clark and Shaun Tait as the third paceman behind Brett Lee and McGrath.

But Clarke did not want to buy in the debate as to which of the trio is most-deserved of a place in the side.

"Lucky for me I'm not a selector. That is one job I'd hate to have," Clarke said.

"I think there's going to be a few tough calls to make. I am looking forward to seeing what the first team is for the Brisbane Test."

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