Stuart MacGill, the Australian legspinner, has urged the national selectors to persist with him in a bid to prolong Shane Warne's career. He also admitted that the realisation that his days as an Australia cricketer were numbered had added a sense of urgency to his performance in the first Test against Bangladesh last week.
"I think that if you ever -- and there's not many of them -- pick up little troughs and plateaus in Shane's career they're predominantly based around workload ... They're all following hard seasons or are either immediately before or after operations," MacGill told The Age. "And in all of those situations there would have been definitely plenty of scope to play a second wrist spinner and I think that you can maybe avoid those situations completely if you do share the pain a bit. It'd work out great for me because I'd play more and probably will stretch Shane's career a little bit, too. I don't necessarily see there being a huge difference between the end of Shane's career and the end of my career."
MacGill gave the example of the Dhaka Test, when Warne was forced to leave the field on the first day with a shoulder strain. "In the Ashes everybody was looking at Shane's 40 wickets, which is an amazing achievement but if you look further than that maybe the last week was a physical manifestation of that workload," he said. "(It was) the end of a very, very long season and maybe if I had played a couple of more times in between it would have been avoided.
Despite an impressive 191 wickets at 27.35 from 39 Tests, MacGill has found it hard to cement a place in the side. With Warne coming back extremely well since his one-year ban - he picked up a record 96 wickets in 2005 - the 35-year old New South Wales bowler has found himself spending entire series on the bench or carrying drinks. "It's not as if you're going to be saving me up for later," he said. "We're similar ages and we've both got other things to do, so it would be great to be used at the moment."
MacGill also admitted that he knew this tour of Bangladesh could be his last. "I certainly can't see another Australian tour for me, unless I miraculously hit one-day cricket," he said."The next scheduled tour is Zimbabwe in the middle of next year, which I won't be part of (because of a political boycott). From there, there is a Pakistan tour the year after, so this would be my last Australian tour, I would say. The Ashes summer is there but I don't know when I am going to be used, so you don't know what's going to happen. I have got to make sure I cash in in these games because I might not get another Test."
The second Test against Bangladesh starts at Chittagong today.