Sunday, 4 November 2007

MacGill's chance to shine

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.


Chrispy said...

Good piece Tim, it will be interesting to see who gets the nod. It might be a long tail with MacGill in the side, not that the Aussies will make that their sole consideration. Brett Lee is a capable number eight for sure.

Uncle J rod said...

Its funny that most people in Australia dont like Macgill. I love him, firstly he had the balls to not go to zimbabwe, and secondly he doesnt fit into any stereotype of Australian cricketers.

He is majorly under rated as a bowler, and he actually bowls like a leg spinner, he bowls full tosses and long hops, like all good leg spinners should.

Tim said...

Yes MacGill is certainly not the stereotypical Aussie cricketer!

The Hogg-MacGill choice has a bit of Giles-Panesar about it.But, surely Australia will choose Hogg?

Anonymous said...

The most basic problem with McGill has been a 4 delivery every over. He wanes the pressure by bowling a 4 ball every over. Thats what distinguishes him from Warne.

John said...

Its MacGill, it is.

Uncle J rod said...

Its unfair to compare any leg spinner to Warne or Kumble.

Most leg spinners bowl 4 balls. Thats part of their charm.

Paul said...

Pardon my ignorance but what exactly is a 4 ball?

I've been a cricket fan for quite some time but there are still a few terms I hear from time to time that stump me.

Doesn't stop me throwing out terrible puns like that though.

Paul said...

And by the way I think MacGill is a fascinating character. In any other cricket loving country he would be a star. As has been mentioned he certainly doesn't fit the classic image of an Australian cricketer. His thoughtful approach to the game, a love of reading and his admirable stance regarding the Zimbabwe test in 2004 would mark him out in any sport.

And he has a wonderfully understated celebration at the taking of a wicket. Sure, he pumps his wee arm once the finger is raised but then strolls away quite relaxed and placid. Probably wondering if he left the iron on.

Uncle J rod said...

4 ball. A ball that gets hit for 4.

Ottayan said...


A bowler with one two many balls? :)