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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Randolph on November 15, 2011, 22:36 GMT

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

  • Kenso 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

  • Dummy4 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

  • django 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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?

  • Bryn 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!

  • Martin 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?

  • Gary 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?

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