Three Aussie legends who would have dominated T20 cricket

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    T20 cricket now controls the Australian summer, with the Big Bash League spanning nearly six weeks. So which former wearers of the baggy green would have dominated the newest format in their prime?

    Stuart MacGill
    MacGill is best remembered as a quality Test spinner, who managed to outbowl the great Shane Warne in many of the matches they played together. Yet the leg-spinner was even better with the white ball.

    MacGill’s record in domestic 50-over cricket for NSW was astonishing. Not only are his 124 wickets the second most in the history of Australian domestic one-day cricket, but his average of 22.36 is the best among the top 50 wicket takers. He’s also the only player in that top 50 to average two wickets per game.

    These are freakish numbers.

    To underscore just how good MacGill was with the white ball, consider that his overall List A average of 22.52 was even better than Warne’s mark of 24.61.

    MacGill’s strength as short-form spinner was his all-out-attack approach. He sought wickets as a priority and was remarkably successful at making key breakthroughs in the middle overs, when the batting team was looking to set a platform.

    As he imparted ferocious revolutions on his deliveries – arguably even more than Warne – MacGill was incredibly difficult to attack unless the batsman got right to the pitch of the ball.

    Even as a 40-year-old who hadn’t played a white-ball game in five years, MacGill was effective in the 2011-12 Big Bash League, taking seven wickets at 24.

    In his prime, he would have hoarded T20 wickets through stumpings and skied catches as batsmen were forced to go after him but were brought undone by his fizzing deliveries.

    Tom Moody
    The Australian selectors would be salivating over Moody were he still in his peak.

    First and foremost, they’d love the option of picking him at six in the Test team, as he was a genuine all-rounder who averaged 46 with the bat and 31 with the ball in first-class cricket.

    But the giant West Australian also would have been tailor-made for the T20 format, with his astonishing hitting, and clever and accurate medium pace. Not to mention that Moody possessed one of the strongest arms ever seen on a cricket field, capable of routinely reducing twos into ones out on the boundary.

    In the 1990s, Moody was arguably the most powerful striker in world cricket, launching 100-metre-plus sixes at a time when such length was extremely rare. Just look at what he did with a toothpick bat back in 1990.

    Moody also strikes me as the kind of bowler who would have adapted well to the shortest format. In 50-over cricket he was relentlessly precise, swung the ball consistently, earned startling bounce, and mixed up his pace beautifully.

    Dean Jones
    Jones was the best ODI batsman on the planet from 1987 through to 1993.

    During this period he was the highest runscorer worldwide by a huge margin and his ODI average of 50 was also easily the best in an era when anything above 40 was considered elite.

    He was the most complete batsman ODI cricket had ever seen. Jones had tremendous power and, for that time, a remarkable range of strokes. He complemented that by working the gaps with deft touches and turning twos into ones in a manner which changed the face of batsmanship in the format.

    Jones was also phenomenal at pacing an innings – like Michael Bevan after him, he never got flustered if he faced a string of dot balls or if the required run rate started climbing. The Victorian had supreme confidence in his ability to bend the game to his will.

    Jones would have been a Virat Kohli-style master chaser in T20s had he been born 20 years later.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (63)

    • February 8th 2017 @ 6:51am
      Christo the Daddyo said | February 8th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      Imagine MacGill’s career stats if he’d been born five years earlier (or later). Could have been one of the greats…

    • February 8th 2017 @ 6:55am
      Warnie's Love Child said | February 8th 2017 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      Don’t disagree with your article — except for the headline.
      Legends ?
      A word that probably gets overused.
      I wouldn’t put these 3 in the same class as Chappell, Border, McGrath, Gilchrist……

    • February 8th 2017 @ 8:13am
      Craig said | February 8th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      MacGill didn’t know which end of the bat to hold as a batsman and one was one of the worst fielders of the modern era. He would struggle to make a state side let alone be a regular in an international team. Fair enough, judge him on his bowling alone, but his bowling isn’t good enough given his other obvious flaws.

      • February 8th 2017 @ 8:29am
        Al said | February 8th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        His fielding certainly would’ve been a liability in T20s, but not his batting – if you’re ever relying on your 11 to make runs in the shortest format, you’ve stuffed up. My lasting memory of MacGill was that he often spun the ball too much for the batsmen to get anywhere near it – even his wrongun’ spun more than any offie’s stock ball. That often worked in the favour of the bowler at the other end – batsmen frustrated by MacGill would often have to go at the bowler at the other end.

        • February 9th 2017 @ 11:36am
          MJ said | February 9th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

          I actually think you can hide poor fielders in the infield for 20 over games given that singles are as valuable as dot balls. If you try to hide him in the outfield then it becomes more of an issue. It’s probably Usman Khawaja’s best chance of playing regular white ball cricket because in the 50 over game you need players who can save every run as opposed to guys who can save multiple runs which are the difference makers in the 20 over game.

      • February 8th 2017 @ 11:32am
        Chris Love said | February 8th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        Wouldn’t make a states side? Had Warne never been born I am quite happy to say he would be the greatest leg spinner of all time and would have pushed Warne’s overall wicket tally.

      • February 8th 2017 @ 11:56am
        Swanny said | February 8th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        McGill value as a wicket taker , would far outweigh his lack of ability as a no 11 batsmen . He make it for sure

      • February 8th 2017 @ 2:08pm
        Pope Paul VII said | February 8th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

        MacGill was/is as mad as a meataxe, probably because of this he was a fierce competitor.

        He once scored 40 odd vs West Indies when they were up him for the rent.

        He also score a heap, partnering Dominic Thornley in a 260 last wicket stand.

        Don’t remember his fielding but don’t remember him being singled out as a dud.

        • February 9th 2017 @ 4:25am
          spruce moose said | February 9th 2017 @ 4:25am | ! Report

          I think you’ll find MacGill scored about 20 runs in the Thornley stand.

          • February 9th 2017 @ 4:14pm
            qwetzen said | February 9th 2017 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

            27 out of 219 to be precise.

            Popey, stay after school with Bart.

    • February 8th 2017 @ 8:28am
      Basil said | February 8th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Simon Odonell would’ve been pretty handy too….

      • February 8th 2017 @ 11:46am
        qwetzen said | February 8th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        Almost as handy as Warwick Armstrong.

        • February 8th 2017 @ 1:57pm
          matth said | February 8th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

          The Big Ship might have struggled with the quick singles. If his partner made him run a couple of two in an over I suspect they might have got a sharp talking to.

        • February 8th 2017 @ 2:02pm
          matth said | February 8th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

          If you want to go old school and avoid the cliche of the Don, Trumper would have been quite handy, Charlie MacArtney (the General) could really go and Jack Gregory was a great hard hitting all rounder. Monty Noble as a true all rounder and captain, as well as Richie Benaud, who was an aggressive bat. Keith Miller would have been pretty handy as well as Ray Lindwall, who could hit a long ball. Check out Alan Davidson’s economy rate and Bill O’Rielly would have been very difficult to score off.

      • February 8th 2017 @ 1:57pm
        matth said | February 8th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

        One of the first slower ball bowlers, as well as a massive hitter

      • February 9th 2017 @ 12:25am
        Don Freo said | February 9th 2017 @ 12:25am | ! Report

        O’Donnell would have gone for 10/over in T20.

        • February 9th 2017 @ 11:21am
          Basil said | February 9th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          but he would’ve scored at 15

          • February 9th 2017 @ 12:48pm
            qwetzen said | February 9th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            I doubt it. SOD & Haddin must share DNA. They both look terrific if the bowler puts it in the lofted drive slot, anywhere else though, not so terrific. Watching SOD trying to drive Joel Garner off the front foot at the Gabba in the mid Eighties was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on a cricket pitch.

        • February 13th 2017 @ 10:46pm
          Darren said | February 13th 2017 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

          He had a very good slower ball and was very accurate so I’m sure he could bowl the slower bouncers and wide of off Yorkers if they were the flavour.

    • February 8th 2017 @ 9:29am
      TomCarter'ssprintcoach said | February 8th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Mark Waugh? He was pretty good at mixing up classic batting with inventive shots in both ODIs and tests, and a “handy” fielder.

      • February 8th 2017 @ 2:05pm
        matth said | February 8th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

        And he could bowl tidy off-spin or seam up

    • Roar Guru

      February 8th 2017 @ 9:33am
      Pumping Dougie said | February 8th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      Nice three, Ronan. I reckon Andy Symonds would be a superstar at T20. Medium pace or spin, power batting, cat-like fielding, strong arm and an ability to dominate when the side was under pressure.

      • February 8th 2017 @ 9:48am
        Basil said | February 8th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        He’s played T20

      • February 8th 2017 @ 11:48pm
        Jake said | February 8th 2017 @ 11:48pm | ! Report

        Haha! Are you 5? Symonds played over 100 20/20’s in his career.

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