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Gillespie's mixed feelings about returning home early

SYDNEY, March 26 (AFP) - Pace bowler Jason Gillespie said he had mixed feelings about returning home early from Australia's cricket tour of India on Monday.

It was decided last week to rest Gillespie from the five-match one-day series against the Indians in preparation for the mid-year Ashes tour of England.

The lion-hearted South Australian was nominated as Australia's best bowler in the losing Test series by skipper Steve Waugh after claiming 13 wickets at 30.31 from 126.3 overs on unresponsive pitches.

Gillespie injured his left hamstring tendon a month before the tour and required an injection into his left ankle before the first Mumbai Test and was unlucky enough to strain the foot in a divot during the final Test.

Asked how he felt to be home, Gillespie said here Monday night: "I'd like to be playing, but I know (the break) is the best thing for me."

Gillespie said he had no injury concerns as he begins his recovery period.

Australian team physiotherapist Errol Alcott, who accompanied Gillespie home, said he expected him to be fit for the Ashes tour.

"I don't have any real problems with him, looking down five, six, seven weeks away," Alcott said.

"A couple of weeks here now, just a bit of down time, a bit of rehab time and then we start to prep him up again, I think he will be fine."

Alcott said there were three fitness factors to consider when reviewing Gillespie's condition after his Herculean efforts on the subcontinent.

"He strained his forefoot in a footmark on Wednesday and he bowled really well and bowled a lot of balls over there," Alcott said.

"And then coming off his hamstring tendon problem through the summer, and also he had an injection to the back of his ankle.

"I just thought the three things combined - and there's not much time before the Ashes series, and with his past history - it was probably prudent just to bring him home.

"We will probably get his ankle looked at a little bit more thoroughly because we haven't had the chance to do that in India.

"You can't forget his tendon injury either. He's still got some signs there, but it's managed really well, so I think a bit of rest will be great."

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