MacGill to help old en­emy

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

BEN Stokes is gone, but Stu­art MacGill says there’s an­other wildcard in the Eng­land pack and he has re­vealed he will cross the Ashes trench to men­tor him.

The Aus­tralian Test great has no qualms about work­ing with the en­emy this sum­mer, declar­ing 20-year-old leg-spin­ner Ma­son Crane is the at­tack­ing weapon Eng­land should be back­ing in to turn the Ashes on its head.

Bear­ing a strik­ing re­sem­blance to the ac­tion that claimed MacGill 208 daz­zling Test wick­ets, Crane made ex­tra­or­di­nary his­tory ear­lier this year when un­der the Aus­tralian spin mas­ter’s tu­ition he be­came the first En­glish­man to play Sh­effield Shield cricket for NSW since the 1880s.

MacGill has a close re­la­tion­ship with the ECB through for­mer Test spin­ner Peter Such and has rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity to work with a range of up-and-com­ing spin­ners Eng­land has sent out to him in Syd­ney – with Crane’s rise last sea­son from grade cricket at Gor­don to a Blues de­but and now the Ashes squad the great­est suc­cess to date.

Plans are in place for MacGill to again link with Crane, po­ten­tially ahead of the se­ries opener in Bris­bane next month and then when the ex­cit­ing leg­gie ar­rives in Syd­ney for the New Year’s fi­nale.

MacGill has no mixed feel­ings about help­ing Crane as he fights to put back into the craft he be­lieves can reignite Eng­land’s Ashes hopes and Test cricket at large.

“It’s re­ally funny, you would think so. Ob­vi­ously I’d re­ally like to see Aus­tralia win­ning as of­ten as they pos­si­bly can, but when you bring it back down to a per­sonal level, I’m not play­ing. It’s not re­ally my team. So if one of my mates does well for an­other coun­try (I want to en­joy in that and help),” MacGill said.

“Steve Smith cap­tains his T20 team in the IPL, he’s help­ing crick­eters from other na­tions in much the same way as I am and he’s cap­tain­ing Aus­tralia. I don’t see a great is­sue for me.

“Pick­ing an at­tack­ing spin­ner like Ma­son is the kind of ap­proach teams play­ing Test cricket need to adopt. In Aus­tralia, we’ve got good wick­ets and you can’t wait as long for the other team to make mis­takes. You’ve got to tac­ti­cally and skil­fully make in­roads your­self.”

Many Eng­land spin­ners have made the long trip to Aus­tralia and per­ished, but MacGill be­lieves there are some key qual­i­ties that set the unas­sum­ing kid from Sus­sex apart.

MacGill has no hes­i­ta­tion in declar­ing Crane is armed with a bet­ter wrong-un than the one he fa­mously called on dur­ing an ex­cel­lent ca­reer forged in the same era as Shane Warne.

There is also some­thing tough about Crane, ac­cord­ing to MacGill. “There’s a lot to like about Ma­son. It’s not just his bowl­ing. He’s mod­est and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally con­fi­dent, and he loves bowl­ing well,” said MacGill.

WEAPON: Ma­son Crane.

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