Stuart tips big things from young spinners

MacGill's state future still uncertain

Cricinfo staff

June 7, 2008

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Stuart MacGill wants to keep playing for New South Wales but he needs to find out if his body is up to it © Getty Images
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Stuart MacGill is undecided whether to quit state cricket and make way for a younger generation of spinners, however he does believe Australia's slow-bowling stocks are already strong enough to cope with his departure from the Test scene. MacGill thinks Beau Casson is so ready for international cricket that a five-wicket haul is possible if he makes his debut in the third Test in Barbados on Thursday.

"It's great that if selected, Beau makes his debut offshore, the time difference is pretty extreme, so there's not going to be the same sort of scrutiny," MacGill told AAP upon returning to Australia. "He's not replacing me, I haven't been dropped for him, so there's no pressure to out-perform anyone.

"He can just go onto the field as Beau Casson and bowl as well as he can and he's bowling unbelievably at training. Historically the West Indies have played left arm wrist-spinners really, really badly, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see a five-for in his Test."

The surprise retirement of MacGill during the second Test in Antigua left questions over Australia's spin future following the decisions of Shane Warne and Brad Hogg to also give up international cricket in the past 18 months. But MacGill believes those concerns are unfounded.

"I look to the time when I started playing first-class cricket and then Shane [Warne] started playing first class cricket, I think we are in really good shape," MacGill said. "We don't have anyone dominating state cricket, neither did Shane before he was picked [for Australia]. I think you only really find out what people are made of when they get an opportunity.

"One of the most exciting ones for me is [the legspinner] Daniel Doran and he only gets a game on and off for Queensland, and his best balls are as good as anybody going around in world cricket I reckon. Cullen Bailey, Daniel Cullen and you've got Jason Krejza and Xavier Doherty in Tassie and a left-arm orthodox [Aaron Heal] in Perth, who does a pretty good job.

"I really think we've got lots of spin bowlers, anyone of whom could do a job. Let's not forget New South Wales, we've got Nathan Hauritz and a bunch of young bowlers - Stephen Smith. I can't believe that anybody would even question for one second that nobody is putting pressure on Beau."

However, if MacGill continues to play for New South Wales the first-class opportunities for Hauritz and Smith might be limited and that has prompted Terry Jenner to call for MacGill's retirement from state cricket. MacGill said Jenner's argument was fair but he was still uncertain whether to continue with the Blues.

"Sure, I'm prepared to accept that sort of comment, I think it's pretty clear though I've got a lot to offer the New South Wales team," MacGill said. "I think it would be valuable for them to have me around off the field and my statistics prove that I'm pretty handy on the field from time to time too."

While MacGill thinks he could have up to two years of first-class cricket left in him he realises that will depend on whether his body can cope. Ongoing knee problems have been a major worry and he also had surgery on his right wrist to deal with carpal-tunnel syndrome in December.

"Once the ball gets past me it takes me slightly longer than the Queen Mary to turn around, so that's not a good thing for a professional athlete," MacGill said. "I guess the next couple of months will be pretty much finding out whether or not I can continue to keep playing at all.

"I think we've got the best cricket physio on the planet in NSW in Pat Farhart and obviously in consultation with the Cricket Australia medical staff I will sit down and I guess we will do a status report and see where I'm at. There's certainly no motivation issues, I'm dying to play. I'd like to play Test cricket but unfortunately the travel involved with Test cricket and the rigorous schedule is just prohibitive."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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