England send spin SOS to MacGill
TREVOR Bayliss is hoping Stuart MacGill will return to the SCG this week in England colours.
England appear set to blood leg-spinner Mason Crane in the fifth Test, a young talent who has already drawn comparisons to the Australian great who owned the Sydney Test throughout his career - and they want MacGill's hands-on input for what shapes as a baptism of fire.
MacGill mentored Crane last summer when he played Sydney grade cricket for Gordon and then became the first Englishman in over 100 years to pull on the baggy blue of NSW at the SCG.
England have had a close working relationship with MacGill over a number of years and coach Bayliss was intending to put in a call to the leg-spinning whiz to come into the nets in the lead-up to Thursday's start.
Crane averages a wicket every 43 runs in first-class cricket - a record that doesn't exactly scream Test ready - but MacGill has repeatedly stated the 20-year-old talent has what it takes.
NSW coach Trent Johnston took a huge punt in picking Crane for NSW last summer, but saw similarities between the Englishman and MacGill.
It paid off immediately as Crane took five wickets in a NSW win and helped edge them to the verge of a Shield final, only for the Blues to fall at the final hurdle in Perth.
Working with MacGill in the nets before his huge debut would be a huge boost to Crane and it's a more than likely scenario given the Australian flew to Brisbane to work with his protégé at the start of the summer.
Meanwhile, Ben Stokes' dreams of playing any part in the tour of Australia are now over after he was officially replaced by Dawid Malan in England's squad for the one-day series.
If and when Stokes is charged or not charged by authorities, the ECB would then convene an emergency disciplinary hearing to decide on his punishment.
However, with the one-dayers' starting in less than a fortnight, it's most likely Stokes won't be playing international cricket again until at least England's tour of New Zealand in February.
Stokes - one of the richest-paid Twenty20 players in the world - leaves a huge void in England's one-day squad as he has the Test team, and Malan is uncapped at 50-over level.