Tuesday, June 3, 2008

MacGill stuns Aussies with retirement

Australia leg-spin bowler Stuart MacGill will retire from international cricket following the second Test against West Indies here.

The surprising announcement came from an Australia team spokesman on Sunday, after heavy overnight and early morning rain delayed the start of play at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

The 37-year-old MacGill has failed to recover from wrist surgery, after he was diagnosed with carpal-tunnel syndrome last year, and he has failed to make an impact in the series.

MacGill indicated a number of factors had contributed to his decision to retire, but he felt he was not performing at his optimum.

MacGill has the best strike-rate of any modern spin bowler, but it was unfortunate that he was to play alongside iconic leg-spin bowler Shane Warne, who retired last year, and the Australian selectors felt fielding two wrist-spinners was more a luxury than a necessity.

But he'll still end his career with quite an impressive record. Prior to this match, MacGill had played 43 Tests for Australia, taking 207 wickets at an average of 28.28 and a strike rate of 53.1.

He made his Test debut against South Africa in Adelaide during the 1998 season and during his highly successful career had best match figures of 12 for 107 with eight for 108 being his best performance in an innings.

But MacGill has failed to bowl with consistency so far in the Caribbean, prompting his surprise decision to retire.

MacGill disclosed he was not worried about the future of spin bowling in Australia, and identified Beau Casson, a member of the touring party, as a bright prospect.

Cricket Australia Deputy Chairman Jack Clarke, currently in the West Indies said MacGill had been a great player for Australia.

"While it is a sad occasion to see Stuart MacGill depart the game, Australia has been incredibly lucky to have two brilliant leg-spinners on the international scene at the same time,"
he said.

"Stuart's record at international level is quite outstanding with over 200 Test wickets and he will depart this Australia side as one of the greats of the game."

MacGill is yet to make a decision on whether he will continue to play inter-state cricket with New South Wales.

A replacement player will not be sent from Australia for the remaining Test match to be played in Barbados.

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