Stuart MacGill is changing the face of
Australian cricket, and it has nothing to do with his leggies. Instead, the New
South Welshman is leading his compatriots into the world of self-promotion.

Always one of the more eloquent Australian
cricketers, MacGill has spent much of the last week acquainting the cricket
media with the many convincing reasons why the first man selected for
tomorrow’s first Test in Cape Town should be Stuart MacGill.

Hence the opening sentence to this article in The Australian yesterday: “Stuart MacGill says pitch
conditions will favour Australia choosing a twin spin attack for all three
matches in the Test series”. In other words, Stuart MacGill likes the look of
Stuart MacGill, says Stuart MacGill.

“I toured here last
time and I certainly think there’s an opportunity here for me to play,” he
continues. Then there’s this from today’s Age:
“I’ve almost played 40 Tests and historically 40 is a pretty big number.
I have done it over a number of years.”

MacGill has had to
become as professional a flack as he is a sportsman when it comes to his own
career. Constantly overshadowed by the Colossus of Warne, MacGill has learned
how to get a carefully crafted spruik into the public arena. He addresses the
Warne issue with humility (“I don’t mind being
compared to the best ever”), without allowing it to distract from his take-home
message (“Shane and I provide a lot of options … if either or both of us are
firing, it’s hard work for the batsmen”).

He may even have had a word with Test
aspirant Shaun Tait. The South Australian pace bowler got into the Test squad
on the back of a wild spell in the ING Cup Final which earned six wickets for 41 runs, a third of which
were his own wides. Hence, when talking up his selection prospects yesterday,
Tait said: “I’ll go out there and just try to take a wicket every ball. I’m
going to spray a few around the place”.

MacGill himself
couldn’t have been more on-message.

Peter Fray

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