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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 11:55 GMT
Living without Dizzy
By Scott Heinrich
BBC Sport Online

Jason Gillespie
Gillespie's World Cup exit is the latest chapter in his tale of injury woe
The loss of Jason Gillespie is a potentially severe blow to an Australia side bidding to win back-to-back World Cups.

But dealing with his absence is something they have become expert in since the injury-prone paceman made his debut against West Indies in 1996.

A confirmed wrecker at his best, Gillespie has spent more time with the team physio in six years of cricket than most do in a lifetime.

Since his maiden Test, "Dizzy" has missed 38 Tests of the 79 he could have played, had he been fit.

Just as he seemed set to take the sport by the scruff of the neck - see three wickets in five balls at Headingley in 1997 and four in six against the West Indies in 2000 - fate cruelly stepped in.

He suffered a severe back strain in his second Test appearance and this was followed by stress fractures - another curse of young fast bowlers.

His ankle gave way just as his back troubles were near full recovery and a succession of minor niggles meant he played in only four matches between August 1997 and September 1999.

It was then Gillespie made yet another long-awaited comeback to the Test arena. It was short-lived.

Jason Gillespie
Gillespie bowled with real venom prior to his injury

A mix-up with Steve Waugh in the outfield against Sri Lanka in Kandy saw them both sprawled on the turf, the collision breaking Gillespie's leg and leaving his skipper with a busted nose.

Gillespie would not play again for 15 months.

Leading up to the first Ashes Test in England in 2001, Gillespie had never strung together eight consecutive Tests.

Bucking the trend, he then played 16 in succession until injuring his right shoulder and missing the second and third home Tests against South Africa last year.

He would soon recover to feature in the entire return series, but a calf injury suffered during the first Test against Pakistan in Colombo saw him miss the rest of that series.

Again Gillespie recovered, and again he terrorised England during the Ashes series in Australia. He even played in every Test.

But his latest breakdown has left a so-far rampant Australia side with something to think about as they enter the Super Six stage.

Nathan Bracken is the man who has taken Gillespie's place, but it is highly unlikely he will be asked to fill his shoes.

The hugely talented Andy Bichel has been screaming out to be selected game after game, and now he gets his chance.

Bichel is a fine bowler - as he showed against England - but the remainder of Australia's World Cup campaign could tell to their cost just what Gillespie means to them.




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