Big Bash League news November 14, 2011

MacGill to duel Warne in BBL

Stuart MacGill is seeking an SCG showdown with his old spin rival Shane Warne, hatching a plan to play for the Sydney Sixers in their home match against the Melbourne Stars in this summer's Twenty20 Big Bash League.

ESPNcricinfo understands the Sixers presently plan only to play MacGill in the match against Warne's Stars, a major box-office draw for the Sixers on December 27, though this may change depending on how his body and bowling develop in coming weeks.

The Sixers have two vacant spots remaining in their squad, the other expected to go to an overseas signing.

Having retired in the middle of a West Indies tour in 2008, 40-year-old MacGill returned to cricket on the weekend with an appearance for Sydney University in the city's grade competition.

Playing against Fairfield-Liverpool, MacGill returned the figures of 1-26 from four overs, claiming a return catch for his one wicket.

The sight of MacGill and Warne taking to the field again as rivals will add another level of drama to the BBL, which is chasing an instant impact with fans and corporate suitors in the first season of the competition.

Warne's signing with the Stars has served to build interest in the Melbourne team but also bolstered membership sales for those scheduled to host the green-clad team in home BBL fixtures.

The competition is relying heavily on older names to build initial interest, particularly as it runs head-to-head with Australia's home Test series against India. In addition to MacGill and Warne, Matthew Hayden (Brisbane Heat) and Brad Hogg (Perth Scorchers) have also emerged from retirement to take part.

"It's got nothing to do with money, if it was about money me coming and playing cricket I'd still be playing in the IPL - I retired from that," Warne said of his return. "This is something that I'm passionate about, something that I think is unique to Australian cricket, city-based cricket teams are something new and that enticed me."

MacGill's retirement from cricket was forced primarily by physical ailments, including the ravages of carpal-tunnel syndrome, which robbed the spinner of feeling in his right wrist and fingers. He also suffered from chronic knee trouble, but three years out of the game have allowed for rest and a partial easing of these problems.

Since his exit from the game, MacGill has been through several jobs, enjoying success as a wine expert and television host but also making a swift exit from a stint on breakfast radio.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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