Gillespie steps in to replace McDermott

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The inexperienced fast bowler Jason Gillespie has been named as Australia's replacement for Craig McDermott.

Gillespie was not one of the four World Cup reserves originally nominated by Australia, but the tournament organisers, Pilcom, have given the all- clear. He has taken 40 first-class wickets at 24.08 for South Australia this season, with a best performance of 6 for 68 against Western Australia.

McDermott tore a calf muscle during Australia's Group A match against Kenya last Friday and flew home yesterday.

The Australian selectors have overlooked the pace bowler Michael Kasprowicz, off-spinner Tim May, and batsmen Dean Jones and Greg Blewett, all listed as official reserves in their preliminary 18-man squad.

Jonty Rhodes, a key figure in South Africa's World Cup campaign, was back in action in the nets in Karachi yesterday after making a quick recovery from a bout of "gastro flu". Rhodes has been declared fit for Thursday's Group B match against Pakistan. He was laid low just hours after picking up the man of the match award in South Africa's 78-run victory over England in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

The South Africans are considering abandoning the "pinch-hitter" role that opener Steve Palframan played with some success in their wins over England and New Zealand. They have employed their wicketkeeper's swinging bat to score quick runs in the early overs, but he is now expected to drop down the order and allow Andrew Hudson to return as opener against the menace of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

Pakistan plan to keep faith with opener Aamir Sohail, who went cheaply in their first two matches. "He is our main player," said Wasim, their captain. "You can't drop him after two games. Perhaps he is saving himself for the best games."