South Australian spinners disappoint selectors


Adelaide : After Shane Warne’s retirement Australian selectors had pinned their hopes on Stuart MacGill but the leg-spinner’s wrist injury sent them scouting for new faces.

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However, chief selector Andrew Hilditch is disappointed with what he saw in South Australian spinners Daniel Cullen and Cullen Bailey, say media reports.

It is unlikely either player will have their Cricket Australia (CA) contracts renewed for next summer unless they can consistently break into the Redbacks team and turn in impressive performances.

Hilditch said he had expected the duo to push for higher honours this summer.

Neither tweaker has been a fixture in the struggling South Australian side – Bailey played only once in the Redbacks’ opening Pura Cup match, and Cullen was left out of the XI to play Queensland at the Gabba this month.

When he chose the pair in his list of CA contracted players during the off-season, Hilditch had expected both to be playing regularly for their state and pushing for Australian selection in the event of an injury to Stuart MacGill.

However, the hand surgery that has ruled MacGill out of the forthcoming Test series against India has instead made room for one-day specialist Brad Hogg and conceivably 35-year-old Victorian outsider Bryce McGain, should Hogg not perform in the Boxing Day Test.

Hilditch said he was disappointed that his panel could not consider Cullen or Bailey due to their sporadic appearances and less-than-outstanding domestic form, after both toured Pakistan with the Australia A team in September.

“They’re both players we identified as spinners of the future, so it’s a little bit disappointing that they’re not at this stage nailing down their spots in domestic cricket,” Hilditch said Tuesday.

“They wouldn’t have made the contract list unless they were playing domestic cricket at the time, so it’s disappointing, but that’s up to them to get back in the side if they’re not in it and perform well.

“They’re still really young, people have to appreciate that Shane Warne being so great at such a young age is extremely rare, so they’ve got a lot of development to do and I’m sure the states will do what they can to encourage that development,” he added.

Legspinner McGain, meanwhile, has impressed sage observers enough to be mentioned by the selectors in connection with the Test series against the Indians.

He will get the chance to make a case for selection in subsequent matches when Victoria plays Anil Kumble’s tourists in their sole warm-up fixture from Thursday at Junction Oval.

It is possible that a fair showing by McGain may also influence the panel to name Hogg for the first Test at the MCG, rather than breaking with years of tradition and choosing an all-pace attack.

Hilditch said: “We will look at McGain against India, we look at every game, but he’s someone we looked at coming into this selection, he’s bowling really well.

“I’m sure he’d do a good job if he got a call-up as well, so it’s good that there’s pressure on for places.”