March 26, 2009

Pity the poor leggie

Bryce McGain should be given all the help he needs to make sure his first Test is not his last
  shares 28


Assault mission: Bryce McGain tries to spot the ball during his unfortunate debut in Cape Town © Getty Images
 
There came a moment - 5.1 overs into his Test debut was the moment - when you stopped worrying about what might happen to Bryce McGain's next delivery and you started to fear for the next 25 years of his life.

Bryce and his captain had just staged a dragged-out conversation. Pointed index fingers were waved about. A run-saving course of action was settled on: a fieldsman, posted out in the deep, on the leg-side fence. But Bryce's next ball did not go anywhere near leg stump. Instead it pitched wide, and short, outside off stump, and Jacques Kallis took one step across and went whack. As the ball scudded away Bryce watched it shrink smaller and smaller. He blinked forlornly, and when his eyes opened again they were red-rimmed, and his face was flushed, and he was chomping on his chewing gum with such determined little jabs that you wanted to hug him.

It was hard to look, harder to look away. Test cricket at its most brutal is Test cricket at its most engrossing. At times like this it is possible for a kind of malicious glee to stir inside the spectator. Four balls later Kallis went whack again, and this website's ball-by-ball commentary service - not normally a bastion of malice or glee - could contain itself no longer. McGain to Kallis, FOUR, bit of rubbish, short and on the leg side, Kallis pulls it away to the recycle bin.

Bryce's bowling figures at that instant amounted to 5.5-1-48-0. They were bad, but not irretrievably bad, although the reluctance with which ball was leaving hand - wafting out, not fizzing out - made you wonder if the baddest lay ahead. And badder things soon got, bad almost beyond imagination. There was no dip, no zip, no grip, no coil. No pace off the pitch. No backspin, no sidespin, no overspin - no spin to speak of, almost. It is true that one ball, Bryce's 62nd, spun appreciably, even sharply. But he'd bounced it barely halfway up the wicket, allowing the batsman time and space to swing. The batsman swung so hard that a chap leaning over the boundary fence nearly got sconed.

Who'd be a legspinner today? Blinkered captains use them unthinkingly or not at all. Bats are like blunderbusses. Boundaries are roped in 20 metres or more, though this last injustice was of little consequence to poor Bryce. Of the eight sixes he gave away, most cleared not only the advertising boards but several rows of spectators as well.

If this were another age, a not so professional age, the done thing would be for Bryce to get shuffled on his way, never to reappear, with not a word of apology or explanation and not a jot of thanks. Digger Robertson, in Melbourne in 1884-85, bowled 11 overs of high-armed, highly unmemorable legbreaks for Australia and saw out his cricketing days in California and St Kilda. Albert Hartkopf bagged one wicket - England's No. 11 batsman - and went back to his day job as a doctor in Northcote. Rex Sellers was greeted as Ray Sellers by one of the selectors and sailed runless and wicketless through his solitary Test. He took only four more first-class wickets in his life. And John Watkins, last of Australia's one-Test leggies, perplexed team-mates who reckoned Kerry O'Keeffe should have been picked in his place. Six overs of wides and steepling full-tosses perplexed everyone but the two Pakistani batsmen.

What could be said to the disappointed legspinner who you know will probably never get selected again? And who could say it? Cricket administrators were not trained counsellors, by heck. Cricket administrators back then were not even paid.

If Bryce's time is up, then he should be talked to - by the coach, the board, the selectors. They should tell him they erred by picking him too soon after his shoulder soreness. They should admit they stuffed up when they started listening to others

How about your captain, your fellow players? Do they encourage you not to dwell on what's gone, keep practising your legbreaks, maybe one day your dream will come again? Probably not, if you're John Watkins, whose team-mates' whispers and murmurs are still a mystery to him. "If you have to contend with that sort of backbiting," he confided to journalist Peter English, "it's not worth going on tour. I was happy to get home and I could've done with some more moral support."

When Watkins finally did get home, it was as a Newcastle grade batsman who preferred not to bowl.

Bryce should be given every bit of help to make sure his first Test is not his last. The days of count-yourself-friggin-lucky-to-have-got-picked-at-all should be over. And if it is not to be, if Bryce's time is up, then he should be talked to - by the coach, the board, the selectors. They should tell him they erred by picking him too soon after his shoulder soreness. They should admit they stuffed up when they started listening to others. Hear Shane Warne's words on March 1: "Bryce is clearly the best spinner." Consider Terry Jenner's wisdom on March 17: "I can't see any point in not playing him." Read Bryce's figures on March 21: 18-2-149-0.

They should tell him they got it wrong when they stopped backing their own hunch - which, all along, right up to those four irreversible days in Cape Town, was not to pick him.

And if he seems comfortable with his lot, they should tell him again anyway, and again. Because, for sure, he will never forget those four days.

He will think of his captain, and of what his captain might have done differently. Ricky Ponting made Bryce's life difficult by ignoring him for the first four hours, which made bowling Bryce look like a last resort. But from the minute Bryce did bowl Ponting did all that he could. He offered Bryce a fresh batsman in Kallis to bowl at. He kept his close catchers in place to bolster Bryce's self-belief. He jigged the bowling ends around to make the batsmen hit Bryce into the wind. He did this not so soon that Bryce feared his captain's faith was cracking, but not so late that it was too late. And then, amid unrelenting ball battery, he kept bowling Bryce when most park cricket captains would have hauled Bryce off in high dudgeon.

Ponting does not look like a captain blessed with a deep understanding of legspinners. But he does give the impression of a captain who is trying very hard. His next task is to say sorry to Bryce, and thanks. A small hug might be a nice touch too.

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket, published in March 2009

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sabina2009 on March 28, 2009, 8:39 GMT

    At the age of 35, Bryce McGain went from IT worker to professional cricketer. A nice transition period for him. It will not be wise to expect brilliant performances at the debut match. Not everyone can sparkle on the debut match. Perspiration from nervousness plays vital roles on any player. He needs encouragement. He should not be discouraged. More chances should be given to him. Age does not matter and he needs to prove it well. I expect that he should be in the Australian team in the upcoming Ashes series.

  • AliT72 on March 28, 2009, 0:16 GMT

    So many people here are saying that McGain can't bowl - look at the stats - he's Australia's best spin bowler by a country mile - Shane Warne says it and I think he might know something about spin bowling. Warne went for 150 in his first test and then cleaned up in the Ashes. Australia would be crazy not to try him out against a second rate batting lineup in friendly conditions in England. The problem with the last test wasn't McGain - it was leaving McDonald in the team when they lost North. You can't replace a batsman with a bowler, and McDonald has shown that he isn't much of a batsman. He made a few runs when the test was lost and they weren't looking to score. Two test test series and no results for McDonald, and people are wanting to drop McGain after one match? - and his first one at that. If there was more pressure on S.A's batsmen then I'm sure things might have gone differently for McGain.

  • andy44 on March 27, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    Although McGain clearly didn't have his best day, it's also true that he came on in a very difficult situation. He was not introduced on day 2 until the 42nd over of the day, at which time he was bowling to a well-set Price, and Kallis who had also been at te crease for more than half an hour. Moreover, South Africa only needed 18 runs to take the lead, with 8 wickets left on a good batting wicket. AND, there was relatively little pressure from the other end throughout the innings (except when Siddle bowled). Then Katich came on and had de Villiers caught on the mid-wicket boundary off a rank long-hop! That's not to say he should have gone at 8.27 an over, but it does say that the match situation couldn't have been much more difficult for a debutant leggie.

    McGain should at least be in the picture for the Ashes, because he is a chance of getting 5 in an innings. Through almost 50 first class games, Hauritz is yet to get a 5-for. Look at the stats. They speak for themselves.

  • Percy_Fender on March 27, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    Shane Warne's baptism in Test cricket was not too different. At Sydney in 92, Shastri and Tendulkar, not to mention others made him look a charecter from a comic strip. And yet the world saw the stuff he was made of over his illustrious career when he strode the cricketing world like a collosus which he indeed was. Mcgain is too different in temperament to Warne but he has the craft to make a mark.I hope the selectors will not judge him by his debut show where runscoring was not difficult after the initial day's play. In fact contrary to all over the wickwts in South Africa seem to get better as the match goes on. This is why Mcgain should be persisted with. He will deliver in England I think, quite convincingly.

  • __PK on March 27, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    I don't suppose there's any chance we'll hear stuff-up admissions from the members of the media who criticised the selectors for picking an unbalanced team. Balanced, schmalance - it's a great advantage to have a right and left-handed opening batting combination, but if your best two openers are left-handed, you pick them.

  • NeilCameron on March 27, 2009, 1:11 GMT

    As much as I sympathise with McGain, he was clearly never the best selection for the tour. McGain may have some talent but it was clearly not for the top echelon of Test cricket. Australia's best spin bowler this summer (in terms of consistent performances) was Nathan Hauritz, with 3 Tests and figures of 141-40-349-9 - better figures than any Australian spinner since Warne retired yet not really good enough for Test standards. Selectors need to remember that for every Peter Taylor they select, they'll select a dozen Watkins and Sellers (and even Peter Taylor's Test bowling career wasn't top class). The solution, as always, is to follow the basic premise that the you PICK THE FOUR BEST BOWLERS IN THE COUNTRY for the top team. Even if all four bowlers are right arm quicks, they are more likely to succeed than if you pick 3 quicks and a bad spinner. Had Bracken or Noffke or Magoffin or Dorey or Nannes been picked instead of McGain, we may have had a different result.

  • dssqca on March 27, 2009, 0:53 GMT

    I guess Bryce's T20 Economy rate is going to be better than his Test rate!

  • shbt158 on March 27, 2009, 0:21 GMT

    @Arsh. You're acting like you're hard and tough. But in reality this statement just shows that you're the type of person that kicks people when they're down. Toughness is a whole another thing, it's fighting adversity and maintaining composure while doing it. Something McGain showed even though he was obvious against opponents much talented than him.

  • edward_smythe on March 26, 2009, 22:50 GMT

    I want him to play in the T20 to see how many the South Africans get off him! Frankly, McGain was an embarassment, and the last thing Oz needs is people laughing at the Baggy Green.

  • rinspin on March 26, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Well, I think what Bryce Mcgain has demonstrated is that spin bowling in general is not an wasy art, especially when you are bowling to batsmen who are well set or have their eye in and feeling comfortable at the crease. Paul Harris made the most of the conditions using drift, subtle variation in pace, loop and flight to deceive the batsmen. Finger spinner seem better suited to the elements of cape town better then the wrist spinners. Maybe if Bryce bowled on the fourth day he might have got more out of the pitch if Australia made between 300-400 in the first innings. I think Jason Krezja will more then certainly be a strong chance for the ashes squad but it seems mcgain/cullen bailey/casson my duke it out for the wrist spinner position or maybe aaron heal from WA, doherty from tassie or the experienced hauritz may get a go if the second spinner is of the finger spinning variety.

  • sabina2009 on March 28, 2009, 8:39 GMT

    At the age of 35, Bryce McGain went from IT worker to professional cricketer. A nice transition period for him. It will not be wise to expect brilliant performances at the debut match. Not everyone can sparkle on the debut match. Perspiration from nervousness plays vital roles on any player. He needs encouragement. He should not be discouraged. More chances should be given to him. Age does not matter and he needs to prove it well. I expect that he should be in the Australian team in the upcoming Ashes series.

  • AliT72 on March 28, 2009, 0:16 GMT

    So many people here are saying that McGain can't bowl - look at the stats - he's Australia's best spin bowler by a country mile - Shane Warne says it and I think he might know something about spin bowling. Warne went for 150 in his first test and then cleaned up in the Ashes. Australia would be crazy not to try him out against a second rate batting lineup in friendly conditions in England. The problem with the last test wasn't McGain - it was leaving McDonald in the team when they lost North. You can't replace a batsman with a bowler, and McDonald has shown that he isn't much of a batsman. He made a few runs when the test was lost and they weren't looking to score. Two test test series and no results for McDonald, and people are wanting to drop McGain after one match? - and his first one at that. If there was more pressure on S.A's batsmen then I'm sure things might have gone differently for McGain.

  • andy44 on March 27, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    Although McGain clearly didn't have his best day, it's also true that he came on in a very difficult situation. He was not introduced on day 2 until the 42nd over of the day, at which time he was bowling to a well-set Price, and Kallis who had also been at te crease for more than half an hour. Moreover, South Africa only needed 18 runs to take the lead, with 8 wickets left on a good batting wicket. AND, there was relatively little pressure from the other end throughout the innings (except when Siddle bowled). Then Katich came on and had de Villiers caught on the mid-wicket boundary off a rank long-hop! That's not to say he should have gone at 8.27 an over, but it does say that the match situation couldn't have been much more difficult for a debutant leggie.

    McGain should at least be in the picture for the Ashes, because he is a chance of getting 5 in an innings. Through almost 50 first class games, Hauritz is yet to get a 5-for. Look at the stats. They speak for themselves.

  • Percy_Fender on March 27, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    Shane Warne's baptism in Test cricket was not too different. At Sydney in 92, Shastri and Tendulkar, not to mention others made him look a charecter from a comic strip. And yet the world saw the stuff he was made of over his illustrious career when he strode the cricketing world like a collosus which he indeed was. Mcgain is too different in temperament to Warne but he has the craft to make a mark.I hope the selectors will not judge him by his debut show where runscoring was not difficult after the initial day's play. In fact contrary to all over the wickwts in South Africa seem to get better as the match goes on. This is why Mcgain should be persisted with. He will deliver in England I think, quite convincingly.

  • __PK on March 27, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    I don't suppose there's any chance we'll hear stuff-up admissions from the members of the media who criticised the selectors for picking an unbalanced team. Balanced, schmalance - it's a great advantage to have a right and left-handed opening batting combination, but if your best two openers are left-handed, you pick them.

  • NeilCameron on March 27, 2009, 1:11 GMT

    As much as I sympathise with McGain, he was clearly never the best selection for the tour. McGain may have some talent but it was clearly not for the top echelon of Test cricket. Australia's best spin bowler this summer (in terms of consistent performances) was Nathan Hauritz, with 3 Tests and figures of 141-40-349-9 - better figures than any Australian spinner since Warne retired yet not really good enough for Test standards. Selectors need to remember that for every Peter Taylor they select, they'll select a dozen Watkins and Sellers (and even Peter Taylor's Test bowling career wasn't top class). The solution, as always, is to follow the basic premise that the you PICK THE FOUR BEST BOWLERS IN THE COUNTRY for the top team. Even if all four bowlers are right arm quicks, they are more likely to succeed than if you pick 3 quicks and a bad spinner. Had Bracken or Noffke or Magoffin or Dorey or Nannes been picked instead of McGain, we may have had a different result.

  • dssqca on March 27, 2009, 0:53 GMT

    I guess Bryce's T20 Economy rate is going to be better than his Test rate!

  • shbt158 on March 27, 2009, 0:21 GMT

    @Arsh. You're acting like you're hard and tough. But in reality this statement just shows that you're the type of person that kicks people when they're down. Toughness is a whole another thing, it's fighting adversity and maintaining composure while doing it. Something McGain showed even though he was obvious against opponents much talented than him.

  • edward_smythe on March 26, 2009, 22:50 GMT

    I want him to play in the T20 to see how many the South Africans get off him! Frankly, McGain was an embarassment, and the last thing Oz needs is people laughing at the Baggy Green.

  • rinspin on March 26, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Well, I think what Bryce Mcgain has demonstrated is that spin bowling in general is not an wasy art, especially when you are bowling to batsmen who are well set or have their eye in and feeling comfortable at the crease. Paul Harris made the most of the conditions using drift, subtle variation in pace, loop and flight to deceive the batsmen. Finger spinner seem better suited to the elements of cape town better then the wrist spinners. Maybe if Bryce bowled on the fourth day he might have got more out of the pitch if Australia made between 300-400 in the first innings. I think Jason Krezja will more then certainly be a strong chance for the ashes squad but it seems mcgain/cullen bailey/casson my duke it out for the wrist spinner position or maybe aaron heal from WA, doherty from tassie or the experienced hauritz may get a go if the second spinner is of the finger spinning variety.

  • MoralDeclineOnline on March 26, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Jason Krejza went for half as many runs per over and took twelve wickets more than McGain on their respective debuts. Krejza was dropped shortly after that, McGain doesn't have a chance.

    Also, I winced more reading this piece than during Bryce's spells. Slow week?

  • StJohn on March 26, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    Just to follow on...the Aussies now have a very fine pace squad: Johnson and Siddle, and then two out of Stuart Clark, Lee, Hilfenhaus, McDonald, Bollinger or Watson. So, whilst a spinner would make the attack more balanced, with pace options like that I wouldn't worry about the spinner so much. Especially when the Aussies have very handy batsmen/part-time spinners like Michael Clarke, Katich, North and Symonds to fill the gap. I think the Aussies continuing quest for a spin-maestro to fill Shane Warne's boots may be misguided - like their quest, which they now thankfully seem to have abandoned, to find a genuine world-class all rounder. I think the motto is make the best use of the resources you have rather than continually try to invent resources you don't have.

  • rinspin on March 26, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    well bryce mcgain was bowling to batsmen who have played a fair amount of cricket against shane warne the greatest legspinner of all. It must be said that bryce did not get to bowl to the tail where as katich did. When Mcgain came on the bowl his first over, ashwell prince and khan had taken 24 runs from johnsons first three overs. While Mcgain bowled poorly, legspin is a very difficult art. England havent had a full time legspin bowler in their team for nine years. South Africas last test wrist spinner was paul adams. NZ havent had a wrist spinner for years, but aaron redmond showed he was handy in the adelaide test. The west indies have used the odd wrist spinner here and there over the last decade. The subcontinent seems to churn wrist spinners out more frequently because their players are wristy. In Australia there are players with strong wrists enabling to generate the spin, bounce and turn to trouble batsmen and it is a respected art in Australian cricket.

  • StJohn on March 26, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    It's difficult & unfair to judge after just a few overs & I'm sure he's got whacked about a bit before - it's a leggie's occupational hazard! Neither Warne (1-150 off 45 overs) nor MacGill (2-112 off 26) did too well on debut, but it's the scoring rate off McGain that's the most troubling: about 8 an over. I hope McGain gets another chance: coming in to bowl against a small Aussie 1st innings total after a long lay off without much chance to get into a rhythm was never going to be easy, even in a dead rubber. But the Aussie selectors are not known for being generous. A background problem is the Aussie's recent inconsistency of spinner selection: in the last 18 months or so they've got through MacGill, Hogg, Casson, White, Krejza, Hauritz & now McGain. Who next? That's the sort of messy selection Ray Illingworth would've been proud of in 1990s England (don't go there!). There comes a point when you have to take the rough with smooth & give guys a run to see what they can really do.

  • Dupsie on March 26, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    As an out-and-out SA supporter, even i felt sorry for Bryce. Although it must be said that i could contain my laughter. My wife asked why they were wearing white for a 20-20 game.

  • D.V.C. on March 26, 2009, 9:22 GMT

    @Nipun: Modest 1st Class figures perhaps but still an average 25% better than Krezja, Hauritz and White - the other contenders! I can't understand this fascination everyone has with the age of a leg spinner. He's played basically 2 first class seasons, that makes him an emerging bowler who will learn as he plays more international cricket. He may be 37 this week but will be playing for the next 5 years given his fitness and motivation. To quit a high paying job to pursue your dream speaks highly of his motivation. What truly baffles me is that his limited overs figures are far better than his 1st class figures but the selectors show no sign of selecting him for ODIs even though the next WC is on the subcontinent. (ODD: avg of 26.6, econ 4.15. T20: avg 18.66, econ 6.46). And that from basically just one season, one in which he was the leading wicket taker (not just the leader among spinners) in ODDs. Why would you pick your second best spinner in preference?

  • vonsolms on March 26, 2009, 9:10 GMT

    A touching tribute to a one-test wonder. I hope you will also write something as maudlin about McDonald, who will also never again play test cricket.

  • Nudel on March 26, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    The pity of Bryce's dismal debut is that, prior to the Ashes tour, he has so little opportunity to show the selector's his fizz, grip, turn, success at a high level of competition. Let's hope he gets an opportunity to play county cricket, albeit in 5 jumper & galoshes territory, before the tour party gets under way AND, for the first time in his international career, grabs the opportunity with both hands. I know how well Bryce can bowl: I have derived the same pleasure from watching him bowl as I did from watching the mesmeric Abdul Qadir. If Bryce were ever to ask for my advice - and there is absolutely no reason why he should - I would say: stop the flood of publicity, (it draws more attention to your failures than to your successes - look how much good it did Matthew Hayden to talk to the media about his form and future): just be respectful to the press, but not so forthright and accessible. Essentially, Bryce, just shut up and bowl.

  • Wango on March 26, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    Shane Warne got 1 for 150 in his first Test. Marvan Atapattu got a pair in his first Test. 'Nuff said. Give the guy a break he was after all bowling to Prince, Kallis and De Villiers who are supreme batters in supreme form. De Villiers especially likes to attack the spinners.

  • Pratik_vodka on March 26, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    Well its not fair to be hoenst to judge a player on just one performance, in my opinion if the selectors did feel he was good enough to represent Australia, earn a baggy green cap, and to play against the second best team in test cricket in their backyard, then they should stick with him for atleast a few more oppurtunities, though i know age is not on McGain's side, but if your good enough age is no bar (S. Jayasurya for eg). But what is more important is to see if McGain has the temprament to put his hand up and still try his best in his next oppurtunity(if at he gets one). If it was only skill and talent that was needed in international cricket many like the Steve Waugh's would have made it no where.

  • Nipun on March 26, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    I feel for Bryce McGain,but I find it increasingly baffling that a 37 year old was picked for Australia to play test cricket in spite of modest 1st class records.No disrespect to McGain,but Australia would go nowhere if they persist with a 37 year old mediocre leggie.I firmly believe Australian selectors should pick up a spinner(leggie/offie/whatever) from the Under-17/19 batch & keep him with the national team(not necessarily playing him now)so as to let him grow.It will take time,maybe a long time,but in a country of Shane Warne,Stuart Macgill,followed by none worth mentioning,the risk is worth taking.

  • Siddharth_Pandit on March 26, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Digger Robertson, Albert Hartkopf, Rex Sellers and John Watkins may have walked into their alternative profession again but there are lot of leg-spinners lost in subcontinent who disappear at domestic level after getting thrashed but high class/spin kings/spinners-are-born-to-get-hit mentality batsmen. Still to hear this level of sympathy for a fellow cricketer is really heart warming. I sincerely feel cricketers should be treated as humans in subcontinent also. For people who are not aware, the cricketers whom you see representing India are none but cream of the top layer. You would play for India if you never put a foot wrong in domestic cricket. If you put it wrong comebacks means a passage through hell. Hirmani, chandrakant pandit are examples of that. One put his foot wrong even after outperforming in his first match and the other never got enough chances to put his foot.

  • otters6 on March 26, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    australia has a population of roughly 20 million. only 410 people have ever played test cricket for australia (not sure how many of those are still alive!) He still has baggie green. One more than me and you lot. And along with Jason Gillespie, Mick Lewis has become an instant pub quiz icon. Though I somehow I don't think disney will make a movie of this "Rookie"!

  • jokerbala on March 26, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    I wonder if Bryce himself is feeling so humiliated and demoralized as you make him out to be.He has played enough cricket to know this is part and parcel of the game.Sometimes showing pity on someone instead of treating them on level terms makes them feel just worse and not any better.

  • namya on March 26, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    Arsh, you are being too harsh :)

    The fact that Ryan has written a book on Kim Hughes explains the nursing room/ retirement village theory doesn't it?

    Nicely written tho

  • PeteB on March 26, 2009, 5:32 GMT

    You can't judge a bowler on his first spell in text cricket. Would one make the same judgement on Philip Hughes' first innings in tests?

  • KingofDice on March 26, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    Sigh...i had high hopes for McGain but that test demoralized me...i dunno why i had high hopes, possibly cause its been so long since ive seen a good specialist leggie, who under my opinion is the most fun to see in cricket. i hear he did well in first class, but living in the subcontinent its hard to follow domestic cricket outside...hmm, i wish australia could conjure up a new warney already, cause all ive been seeing are medium pacers and spin just doesn't seem to have what it used to.

  • Arsh on March 26, 2009, 4:28 GMT

    Also get him some cookies, warm milk and lets spoon-feed him his dinner. What is this, a nursing room or a retirement village?!

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  • Arsh on March 26, 2009, 4:28 GMT

    Also get him some cookies, warm milk and lets spoon-feed him his dinner. What is this, a nursing room or a retirement village?!

  • KingofDice on March 26, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    Sigh...i had high hopes for McGain but that test demoralized me...i dunno why i had high hopes, possibly cause its been so long since ive seen a good specialist leggie, who under my opinion is the most fun to see in cricket. i hear he did well in first class, but living in the subcontinent its hard to follow domestic cricket outside...hmm, i wish australia could conjure up a new warney already, cause all ive been seeing are medium pacers and spin just doesn't seem to have what it used to.

  • PeteB on March 26, 2009, 5:32 GMT

    You can't judge a bowler on his first spell in text cricket. Would one make the same judgement on Philip Hughes' first innings in tests?

  • namya on March 26, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    Arsh, you are being too harsh :)

    The fact that Ryan has written a book on Kim Hughes explains the nursing room/ retirement village theory doesn't it?

    Nicely written tho

  • jokerbala on March 26, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    I wonder if Bryce himself is feeling so humiliated and demoralized as you make him out to be.He has played enough cricket to know this is part and parcel of the game.Sometimes showing pity on someone instead of treating them on level terms makes them feel just worse and not any better.

  • otters6 on March 26, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    australia has a population of roughly 20 million. only 410 people have ever played test cricket for australia (not sure how many of those are still alive!) He still has baggie green. One more than me and you lot. And along with Jason Gillespie, Mick Lewis has become an instant pub quiz icon. Though I somehow I don't think disney will make a movie of this "Rookie"!

  • Siddharth_Pandit on March 26, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Digger Robertson, Albert Hartkopf, Rex Sellers and John Watkins may have walked into their alternative profession again but there are lot of leg-spinners lost in subcontinent who disappear at domestic level after getting thrashed but high class/spin kings/spinners-are-born-to-get-hit mentality batsmen. Still to hear this level of sympathy for a fellow cricketer is really heart warming. I sincerely feel cricketers should be treated as humans in subcontinent also. For people who are not aware, the cricketers whom you see representing India are none but cream of the top layer. You would play for India if you never put a foot wrong in domestic cricket. If you put it wrong comebacks means a passage through hell. Hirmani, chandrakant pandit are examples of that. One put his foot wrong even after outperforming in his first match and the other never got enough chances to put his foot.

  • Nipun on March 26, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    I feel for Bryce McGain,but I find it increasingly baffling that a 37 year old was picked for Australia to play test cricket in spite of modest 1st class records.No disrespect to McGain,but Australia would go nowhere if they persist with a 37 year old mediocre leggie.I firmly believe Australian selectors should pick up a spinner(leggie/offie/whatever) from the Under-17/19 batch & keep him with the national team(not necessarily playing him now)so as to let him grow.It will take time,maybe a long time,but in a country of Shane Warne,Stuart Macgill,followed by none worth mentioning,the risk is worth taking.

  • Pratik_vodka on March 26, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    Well its not fair to be hoenst to judge a player on just one performance, in my opinion if the selectors did feel he was good enough to represent Australia, earn a baggy green cap, and to play against the second best team in test cricket in their backyard, then they should stick with him for atleast a few more oppurtunities, though i know age is not on McGain's side, but if your good enough age is no bar (S. Jayasurya for eg). But what is more important is to see if McGain has the temprament to put his hand up and still try his best in his next oppurtunity(if at he gets one). If it was only skill and talent that was needed in international cricket many like the Steve Waugh's would have made it no where.

  • Wango on March 26, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    Shane Warne got 1 for 150 in his first Test. Marvan Atapattu got a pair in his first Test. 'Nuff said. Give the guy a break he was after all bowling to Prince, Kallis and De Villiers who are supreme batters in supreme form. De Villiers especially likes to attack the spinners.