Stuart MacGill is nothing if not an intriguing cricketer. He is renowned as a difficult character, prone to mood swings and outbursts. He's one of the most intelligent cricketers around. To many, his is a face that doesn't quite fit. Yet it was telling that, when Australia toured Zimbabwe in 2004, only MacGill refused to go.
MacGill is not Shane Warne, but he does great justice to the leg-spinners' art. Watching him is always a delight. Certainly, there is a greater sense of human fallibility than with Warne. MacGill is prone to bowling horrific long-hops although, as Alec Stewart will testify, these sometimes prove lethal. There is a perception that he can be rattled, and this holds some truth, but beware. MacGill being MacGill, a ripper is never far away.
If anything, he gives the ball even more of a rip that Warne, spinning it prodigiously and possessing a googly to rank with the very best. He has a strike-rate higher even than that of Warne. Almost paradoxically, Warne's superiority to MacGill lies in the less-than-glamorous fact of consistency. Still, MacGill has already claimed 198 Test wickets - only 12 Aussies have more - in just 40 games. He is unfortunate that Australia have so often been reluctant to use two leg-spinners. Interestingly, when they have, MacGill has regularly outperformed Warne.
At 36, MacGill may be past his best. But connoisseurs of leg-spin will hope he is chosen ahead of Brad Hogg for the series with Sri Lanka and, freed to be the sole Aussie spinner, can enthrall with his mix of wrong'uns and rank shockers for a while yet.