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Stewart McGill
New Zealand

Full name: Stuart MacGill
Nickname: McGilla
Home Town: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Current age: 36
Major teams: Australia, Devon, New South Wales, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Western Australia
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Legbreak Googly
Cricketing Hero: Shane Warne
Song that fires him up: You Spin Me Round (like a record) - Dead or Alive

Mat Runs Balls RPB 6s Ave Outs +25
Indoor 8 76 105 0.72 0 10.86 7 0
Mat Inn NO HS Runs Ave Ccs +50
Outdoor - - - - - - - -
Mat Ovs Runs Wkts ROs RPB Ave SR -Conc 5w
Indoor 8 17 167 5 3 1.40 33.40 23.80 0 0
Mat Ovs Mds Runs Wkts Ave SR ER Best 5w
Outdoor - - - - - - - - - -

An old-fashioned operator with a gargantuan legbreak and majestic wrong'un, Stuart MacGill has the best strike-rate and worst luck of any modern spin bowler. His misfortune was to play alongside Shane Warne in an age when Australia, the land of Grimmett and O'Reilly, paradoxically frowned on the concept of fielding two wrist-spinners at once. After showing they could work in tandem with 13 wickets against Pakistan at Sydney in 2005, MacGill hoped - almost pleaded - for more double-act opportunities. Playing seven matches in 2005-06, he dismantled the World XI with nine victims and accepted 16 wickets in the two-game series against Bangladesh. The following season, after injuring his knee on John Buchanan's boot camp, he didn't play a Test, but encouragement came when Warne left international cricket at the end of the Ashes. While most in Australia wondered how the team would cope, the announcement was welcomed by the rest of the world and the next line of spinners. At 36, MacGill, who entered the ranks of grumpy older men when a 2006-07 argument with a grade umpire led to a two-match suspension, had the most reasons to be cheerful.

MacGill has stayed philosophical throughout his career, eagerly running in and invariably running amok. He bewitched 53 wickets in 11 Tests during Warne's 12-month drugs ban in 2003-04, yet was maligned for bowling one boundary-ball per over; a shade unfairly, considering that was the standard modus operandi for all leggies pre-Warne. A batting duffer and increasingly feckless fielder, he played only three one-day internationals despite collecting 193 domestic scalps at a stupefying rate of one every 27 balls. Unusually for a bowler, MacGill seldom smiles upon taking a wicket. Instead he lets out a roar of accomplishment. "People ask me why I don't smile - it's because it's really hard," he said in 2003-04. "Test cricket's hard ... I'll take a wicket and there'll be an explosion of emotion." It is one of MacGill's many quirks.

He is a wine connoisseur who learned later in life to enjoy the taste of beer, and he once read 24 novels on a tour of Pakistan. The son and grandson of Western Australian state players, he socialises with friends who aren't cricketers and is often portrayed as a thinker, a misfit, the odd man out. It is something he plays down. But the praise lavished on his decision to boycott Zimbabwe in 2004 because of moral concerns continued an unwelcome pattern: he has long generated headlines for being out of the Australian team rather than for his performances in it. Now Warne has retired he has a chance to fix the imbalance.

Cricinfo staff August 2007