MacGill holds out Ashes hope

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Stuart MacGill

Stuart MacGill © Getty Images

Australia’s forgotten leg-spinner Stuart MacGill is happy to bide his time and wait for his chance to star in the current Ashes series.

MacGill was again omitted from the squad for the fourth Test in Melbourne, which begins on Boxing Day, as selectors named an unchanged 12-man squad.

However, the former Nottinghamshire player is hopeful he will get a call in the series finale on the traditionally spin-friendly wicket at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which begins on January 2.

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And despite a fruitless return of none for 137 against Victoria in New South Wales' crushing loss in the Pura Cup yesterday, MacGill's numbers still stack up favourably against his biggest rival for the second spinner's berth, South Australian Daniel Cullen.

The 35-year-old has taken 16 wickets at 34.81 from four matches this summer while Cullen, who made his Test debut in Bangladesh earlier this year, has three wickets at 76.

Having spent his entire career in the shadow of Shane Warne, MacGill is well accustomed to not knowing when his next Test opportunity will present itself.

During that time, he has taught himself to ensure that he is the next spinner in line should either Warne be injured or selectors decide to play two spinners in the one team.

Daniel Cullen

Daniel Cullen is MacGill's main rival as Australia's second spinner © Getty Images

"What I always try to do is make sure there's absolutely no doubt who's going to be the next picked. If they want another spinner, I'm going to be the spinner," MacGill said.

"As I said, I think I'm having a pretty good season. Even though I didn't get any wickets in my last game, we only bowled once, it was a pretty good batting deck as far as I'm concerned and I bowled all right. I was happy."

MacGill believes Damien Martyn's surprise retirement could have opened the door for him to get a berth in Sydney but would not second-guess what plans selectors had in mind.

"I think the fact that Australia's won the Ashes could mean any one of a number of things. It might change, it might not change," he said.

"Marto retiring has probably meant that the team dynamic has changed and provided me with an opportunity but that doesn't necessarily mean that it would be the right move."

"I haven't really sort of pencilled anything in. I'm planning Christmas at home and I'm going to have a good New Year."

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