North, not Hauritz should be Oz’s first-choice spinner: MacGill

Sydney: Former spinner Stuart MacGill has backed Marcus North to be retained for the coming Ashes series, as first-choice spinner.

The selectors are debating over Nathan Hauritz, Steve Smith, Xavier Doherty and a host of unproven candidates to fill the spinning slot.

MacGill, who bagged 208 Test wickets with his ripping leg breaks, said: “I think Nathan Hauritz has done a very good job in a variety of situations and environments over the past 12 to 24 months.”

“But I’ve said this before the 2009 Ashes, I’m of the opinion that Marcus North can do the job that Nathan has been asked to do,” MacGill told The Sun-Herald.

“If that’s the case, then Marcus North plays and Nathan doesn’t. It’s a very, very tough call, but by picking a No.6 batsman who can do that job, you’ve got another bowler. If it’s not Marcus North [in that role], then he goes, because he’s not the best No.6.

“If Nathan Hauritz is your first-picked spinner, Marcus goes and Usman Khawaja comes in and you probably retain Mike Hussey,” MacGill said.

Asked if North’s tweakers could trouble England’s batting line-up, MacGill said: “How good [are they]? If you compare the stats, they do the same job. Marcus’ first-class figures and best [performances] are the equal of Nathan’s.”

North has taken 13 Test wickets at an average of 37, boasting best figures of 6 for 55. In comparison, Hauritz has taken 63 scalps at an average of 35, with best figures of 5 for 53, The Sydney Morning herald reports.