Stuart MacGill has said that he remains keen to play for New South Wales this season despite his absence from the opening state and club games of the summer. MacGill retired from Test cricket in June and the timing of his departure from the national setup meant he was too late to secure a state contract, which raised doubts over his first-class future.
New South Wales players and staff have said over the past month they did not know whether MacGill planned to play on and he had not been in contact for some time. MacGill has been filming a second series of his television wine show and he is still battling knee and wrist injuries that troubled him in the West Indies.
"I have not quit cricket and I want to play for New South Wales," MacGill told the Australian this week. "The main reason I suggested in the Caribbean that I wanted to continue playing for New South Wales was because I am not ready to retire, cricket is the one thing that I can do that I am best at, all the wine shows in the world won't replace bowling at Brad Hodge in the Sheffield Shield final."
MacGill said he was surprised the state squad did not seem to know of his plans. He said he spoke to the coach Matthew Mott to explain the situation in the lead-up to the season.
"When I spoke to Motty, which was seven or eight weeks ago now, I said I would come and see him when I was finished with the show and fit," MacGill said. "It's not as if people are screaming out for me, the New South Wales team is very strong, the Australian team is in position, I am not letting somebody down by not being there and I think it will be me in my best interests to make sure that every stone has been turned over a couple of times before I decided that it's all finished."
The Blues have no shortage of spinners to call on in MacGill's absence; they have already used four slow bowlers in their opening two matches. However, they lost their first Sheffield Shield game of the summer and the youthful squad does lack experience, which MacGill, at 37 and with 184 first-class appearances behind him, would provide.
"New South Wales has a strong squad and I know how hard they are training and I know they are in great shape for the season," he said. "I am the farthest thing from their mind, they only need to think about what is in front of them at the moment and I am not playing club cricket. I have no intention of showing up half-baked or injured."