Big Bash League news

MacGill to duel Warne in BBL

Daniel Brettig

November 14, 2011

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Spin twins: Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill at training. Australia are set to field both in the first Test against South Africa, Cape Town, March 14, 2006
Stuart MacGill is planning to line up against Shane Warne in the BBL © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Stuart MacGill | Shane Warne
Teams: Australia

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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Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 4:40 GMT)


Can you see the difference between bowling 4 overs a game for a maximum of maybe 10 games, spread over a month, compared to bowling the same number of overs he'd bowl in a month, over 5 days? If not, can you see the difference between being injured, then recovering for 3 years and then having another go?

The rest of your post is disrespectful and completely random speculation based on poor reasoning.

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 15, 2011, 22:36 GMT)

The two best leg spin bowlers of all time in the same league, awesome.

Posted by kensohatter on (November 15, 2011, 16:29 GMT)

@Ben Yan So if these injuries where so serious why would he know sign for a BBL team? Macgill was never a great fielder and you are totally right was towards the end of his career but he had two years in him still. Australia was desperate to replace warne and would have accepted his poor fielding for some stability of a decent spinner. He quit to save his reputation. I used to think he was massively unlucky but I think in a weird way he enjoyed being in warnes shadow cause he could play the odd game for australia with no real pressure. What he had to prove was that he was in fact world class material rather than a player of potential stuck behind one of the greatest spinners of all time. @Ram - Macgill could rip a leggie further than warne but lacked the same control and variation. Macgill would always give you that one loose ball an over to relieve the pressure wheras warne was always looking to take your wicket

Posted by   on (November 15, 2011, 13:07 GMT)

why dont they consider sanatha jayasuriya and muttiah muralitharan as potential candidates to take up the overseas player's spot... both are out of international duty and are awesome in the short format of the game...

plus sanath will be a good partner for the hard hitting watson and will also be a good bowling option..

murali in the team will give them balance as every other team has a spinner who has a big potential.. the sixers only has stve smith who cant be calssified as a great spinner

Posted by dsig3 on (November 15, 2011, 11:48 GMT)

MacGill was a fantastic bowler, but Warne was the best of all time. @ Ram Jegendran if your life depended on the outcome of a game and you had to pick between the 2 you would pick MacGill? Sure you would. If only cricket ability was measured by googlies then Kaneria would be king of them all.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2011, 10:16 GMT)

MacGill was a better bowler than Shane. He had a better googly. Shane could not bowl the googly but he bowled a faster straight bowl Whenever they played together Mcgill got more wickets than Shane. Shane bullied the batters MacGill just could not be forceful.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2011, 9:29 GMT)

@ kensohatter

The guy was had serious chronic injuries and didn't want them to affect his long term health. Is that so hard to understand? He gave the best years of his life playing for Australia, and when his "time" had come and Warne retired, he was already 36. Can you blame him for not looking out for his own health?

Amazing how people can level accusations like yours at him. His record speaks for itself. What did he have to prove?

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 15, 2011, 9:23 GMT)

oooh yeahhh this is awesome. love how this league is shaping up! hogg v macgill, warne v hogg, warne v macgill. brilliant!

Posted by ziggywalrus on (November 15, 2011, 7:44 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster You are mean! MacGill a failure? I would say very unlucky to be around at the same time as Warne. As for Benaud and Jenner being spin wizards, I am unsure how you can say someone who was described as "struggl(ing) to hold down a regular place in the Australian side" as superior to the player who is currently second on the all time wicket taking in test matches! Or are you just trying to be funny?

Posted by Dismayed on (November 15, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

I always point people to MacGill's strike rate of 54 versus Warnes of 57.4. Not bad for second stringer?

Posted by kensohatter on (November 15, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

Agree with Cpt. Meanster... Macgill was a huge let down. Yes he was unlucky to be stuck behind warne all those years but when Warne did retire McGill did not even stick around to play test matches and help Australia through the transition period. Its as if he was more concerned about protecting his status as the best second string bowler in the world and didnt want to risk failing at international level. He wasnt too old and had plenty to give and Australia needed him for a year or so. Everyone else fights to get into the national side... Haddin waited for years behind Gilly, Andy Bichel and Kasprowiscz waited for years patiently keeping their games at the highest level to get games behind mcgrath, gillespie and lee. Hayden and Langer both fought their way back but Mcgill disappeared into the night as soon as the opportunity he always whinged about wanted presented itself. And now is coming back for BBL?!? Why?

Posted by   on (November 15, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

where is Gilchrist? Please sign him to make these retired signing meaningful. Thanks

Posted by   on (November 15, 2011, 3:39 GMT)

What are you on Cpt Meanster? 208 wickets in 44 matches @ 29 with a strike rate of 54 and 12 five wicket hauls is "failure"?????

Posted by MenFromMarts on (November 15, 2011, 3:36 GMT)

@Capt.Meanster. Benaud and Jenner will both tell you that S K Warne was light years away from them and SCG MacGill didn't play enough Test cricket to be compared to Warne. Nice of both of them to give back to sponsors and fans and not be as jaded as you seem to be.

Posted by landl47 on (November 15, 2011, 2:16 GMT)

It's very sad to see bowlers who were masters of control and deception playing in something called the 'Big Bash League'. It's like seeing Muhammad Ali in professional wrestling. Cpt.Meanster: either you're kidding or you're out of your mind. Warne was a normal bowler? Jenner was a spin wizard? Are you sure you've ever watched cricket? Benaud was a fine bowler (I saw him live when I was a teenager) but he would be the first to tell you that Warne was the best legspinner of all time. I would go further and say he was the best bowler of any type I've seen. As for Jenner- 24 test wickets @31, and he's a spin wizard, while MacGill, 208 wickets @29, is a failure? You really need to do a bit of reading about and watching cricket before making comparisons which are quite ridiculous.

Posted by MaxB on (November 15, 2011, 2:15 GMT)

I watched him bowl last Sunday. He landed them all pretty well. Mostly he bowled pretty flat, and the two he tossed up to Rohrer were hit a very long way - but Rohrer can do that. There were no long hops or full tosses, and a couple of times he got a lot of bounce from what I guess was his top-spinner. Rusty in the field, and his arm seems to have gone. But, if he gets himself fitter he could still be very handy. Paradoxically, bowlers win T20 games. Often you see a score where one team gets 160 and the other 150, and the man of the match is the batsman who scores 70 from 60 balls. But he's only scoring at the same rate as everyone else in the game. The matchwinner is actually the bowler who goes for only 4 an over when all the others go for 8.

Posted by Marcio on (November 15, 2011, 1:58 GMT)

Cpt Meanster, that "failure" played 44 tests, took 208 wickets at 29.02, with a best of 8/108. These are not that much different figures from Jimmy Anderson, who has been ranked the #1 bowler in the world at various times in recent years. And they are way better than Stuart Braud's figures, just as an example. I wouldn't call these guys failures.

Posted by stuartk319 on (November 15, 2011, 1:09 GMT)

MacGill was good and unlucky to play at same time as Warne. Batsmen all thought they could hit him but they couldn't. Warne totally hypnotised batsmen.

Posted by PeteB on (November 15, 2011, 1:06 GMT)

I wish these guys would move on with their lives

Posted by   on (November 15, 2011, 1:01 GMT)

@Cpt. Meanster: I'm interested to know why you think MacGill was a failure. I think he always took the opportunities he had and did exceptionally well with them.

Terry Jenner trained plenty of other spinners too. You've just never heard of them because they never made it, so it's pretty disrespectful to talk about MacGill (and Warne) this way.

I think the selectors would die to have another 'failure' like MacGill. Make no mistake, if Australia had such failure right now, it would be dominating cricket again very quickly.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 14, 2011, 20:17 GMT)

To me the real Aussie spin wizards were Richie Benaud and Terry Jenner. Macgill and Warne to some extent were normal bowlers who simply applied what was taught to them. Macgill to me was a failure and he shouldn't be spoken about in the same lines as Warne, but then again have Australia ever had faith in failure spinners ? no ! besides the BBL is lottery cricket. With batsmen sure to go after both these old horses , Macgill and Warne will surely get some 'wickets'.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 17:26 GMT)

macgill were better than warne? is that correct? i also heard something like that when i was a kid

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 15:50 GMT)

AlanHarrison your memory is correct Macgill got the rewards when they played together.True again the Aussies did not use him enough they always stuck with 3 pace 1 spin unfortunately Macgill missed out i wonder if Magill had Warnes place how many wickets he would have gotten i'm thinking more than Warne

Posted by Arthur_Galletly on (November 14, 2011, 14:44 GMT)

If my memory serves me right, if Glen McGrath hadnt stepped on a cricket ball the 2005 Ashes would have been a no contest! However I agree that McGill was given the rough end of the pineapple through most of his career, but I think it could also have been partly his own making...

Posted by Romenevans on (November 14, 2011, 13:22 GMT)

Whoa! Would love to see both of them spinning the ball from outside leg and hitting the timba. Legends!

Posted by igorolman on (November 14, 2011, 13:14 GMT)

MacGill was a bigger spinner of the ball than Warne, but he was what you might call an 'old-fashioned' leggie - a definite wicket-taking threat, but guaranteed to leak runs too. Warne barely bowled a bad ball, whereas MacGill would give you a full bung or half-tracker every over or two. Incidentally, I hope T20 becomes a home for retired cricketers, like the 'Masters' 6-a-side football. Then the rest of us can concentrate on proper cricket.

Posted by AlanHarrison on (November 14, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

If memory serves me correctly MacGill actually had a better record than Warne in tests in which the two of them played together. With hindsight it's tempting to suggest that the Aussies didn't use MacGill enough when he was available to them. It certainly might have made a difference to the 2005 Ashes if Australia had picked MacGill ahead of Gillespie or Kasprowicz in a couple of those games.

Posted by palkiadialgaarceus on (November 14, 2011, 12:14 GMT)

Well i guess the duel would be nice. But the injuries he sustained sound serious and he should be careful.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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