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."
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"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."
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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.