MacGill steps away on his own terms

Published: Monday, June 2, 2008, 17:39 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

St John's: One of Stuart MacGill's biggest regrets about his decision to retire from international cricket at the end of the second Test against West Indies is that he believes his Australia teammates were just beginning to appreciate him more.

The 37-year-old leg-spin bowler announced his decision to quit on Sunday, but his unusual interests which included a love for fine wines and a voracious love for reading, as well as openly speaking his mind bristled the usually staid environment of the team dressing room.

"It is a team sport and some people are still of the opinion that all cricketers should be the same," MacGill told reporters here.

"I will argue until I am blue in the face, not just for my own sake, but for the sake of all young cricketers coming through who are a bit different, 'who am I to tell you what sort of music you should listen to?'

"If you like a glass of red wine, rather than an icy cold beer, good on you. It doesn't matter, so long as you step across the line and make a contribution and don't get in the way of anyone else."

Even his decision to pull the plug on his international career, when many people expected him to carry the spin-bowling load for a few years now that the shadow of fellow leg-spinner Shane Warne was no longer hovering, spoke of his frankness and openness.

He admitted that his erratic line and length and the easiness with which batsman after batsman punished him on the second day of the Test here had cemented in his mind his decision.

But he indicated the gruelling tour schedule may have taken its toll too quickly on his body, since he arrived for his third trip to the Caribbean satisfied that he could pull through the entire journey.

"Caribbean tours are hard work, very few of us (Australian players) cope well with tours over here, these tours are very hard tours," he said.

"Playing against the West Indies in the Caribbean is hard work. They've got some very good players who respond very, very well to playing in this region.

"It's hot, the pitches are unforgiving, the grounds are quite often small, although the VRCG (Vivian Richards Cricket Ground) is a great facility, and you've really got to earn your dollars.

"A lot of people watching from the other side of the fence only see the physical side of cricket. They don't see the mental impact (which) is pretty significant, you've really got to concentrate over here (in the Caribbean) otherwise things get away from you real quick.

"We've had a pretty tight schedule, three days between Tests here plus the (warm-up) game at Trelawny, I think the rigours of this particular tour have proven a little bit too big for me and historically it has been the case for a couple of bowlers so at least I am in good company."

Such is the toll that the tour has apparently taken on MacGill, he missed the team bus to the ground for Saturday's second day. He arrived after play had started - Australia were batting after resuming at 259 for 3 - and walked in with Sir Vivian Richards.

"To be honest, it's incredibly embarrassing for me, but it's very, very simple," MacGill said. "The alarm didn't go off, I missed the bus, and I was late for work. It is significant, but that's as simple as it was, and I do feel embarrassed, because I just don't really need complications to be honest."

Looking ahead, MacGill hopes his retirement now means that national and state teammate Beau Casson will be given a chance in the third and final Test, starting on June 12 in Barbados.

Playing for New South Wales for a couple of seasons remains one of MacGill's goals, and he also has the second season of his critically acclaimed TV wine programme, Uncorked, to keep him busy over the coming weeks.

But MacGill confided that walking off the field on Tuesday at the end of the second Test will be the lowest point of his career in which he has captured 208 wickets in 44 Tests, after he claimed Ramnaresh Sarwan on Sunday's third day.

"Probably the hardest thing is I thought I had already played my last Test in Hobart, so it means that two of my last three Tests I've felt pretty low," he said. "I really do because I don't want to stop playing - this is what I'm good at."

Write Comments