Australia tend to play good cricket at Lord's, surrounded by the bacon-and-egg brigade, the MCC members, among whose number I am proud to be counted. After the loss at Edgbaston, a significant setback but hardly terminal in terms of retaining the Ashes, more bacon and egg is perhaps what they need to lift their stocks.
I refer to one of the best players in recent times not to play for Australia. Steve Magoffin, currently plying his trade for Sussex, was affectionately nicknamed bacon and egg - as in McMuffin (Magoffin).
As a young fast bowler in Brisbane grade cricket, he was all arms and legs, generating uncomfortable bounce and regularly "tickling" ribs. For a short while early in his club cricket days for Wests in Brisbane, Matthew Hayden (who played for my club, Valleys) was baited as Magoffin's bunny because he got out cheaply to him a few times. I remember the day when Hayden then muscled his way to a one-day club cricket premiership against Magoffin and another fast bowler who might well have played for Australia - Greg Rowell. On returning to the dressing room, unbeaten in the run chase, Haydos was heard to mutter something like, "Bunny? Bunny? I'll give 'em bunny!" That night Hayden flew to India for his breakthrough series and the rest is history.
But I digress. This piece (inspired by another Wests stalwart, Dean Tuckwell, who was unlucky not to have played first-class cricket himself, such was his talent) is about the ubiquitous, lanky, unfashionable Magoffin. If the Australian selectors were fair dinkum about picking the best 11 available players, they could do worse than to send him a cab-charge voucher with directions from Hove to Nottingham.
Never heard of Magoffin? Check out his first-class stats in comparison to the other quicks on tour.
By any measure. Magoffin does not embarrass himself in any comparison to the current Australian fast men. Hazlewood's strike rate is a little better but he has only played 37 games, whereas Magoffin has already racked up 131. In a series where Michael Clarke may desperately seek to dry up the runs, Magoffin's economy rate, coupled with an impressive strike rate must surely make him an enviable proposition.
For someone who has a reputation of hitting the deck from a good height, ideally suited to the WACA, which was his home for a few seasons, he is clearly not a one-trick pony in England. I haven't seen him bowl in county cricket but one can only assume that he can be effective on pitches that require a fuller length and movement through the air.
"In a series where Michael Clarke may desperately seek to dry up the runs, Magoffin's economy rate, coupled with an impressive strike rate must surely make him an enviable proposition"
It's not too late to pick him. All it takes is for the selectors to swallow their pride and think outside the square. They were prepared to do that with Chris Rogers, prolific in county cricket and now Australia's most consistent batsman (alongside Steven Smith) despite his advancing years. They were prepared to do likewise with Adam Voges, citing first-class runs as being more valuable than youthful promise (Joe Burns). Mitchell Johnson is hardly a spring chicken but his numbers continue to warrant selection. Why not throw Magoffin's name into the hat? Sheffield Shield cricket is no longer as strong as it used to be a decade ago, so perhaps county cricket numbers are not to be scoffed at, especially given the conditions are local for the series in question.
Of course it will never happen. They'll turn to Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Jason Behrendorff or Nathan Coulter-Nile before they think of Magoffin. They're not pie-throwers by any means but I fancy a bacon and egg McMuffin myself!