Concentrate on the doing, says MacGill

Aussies on tour: Even the reserves are having a go. Warne's understudy claims England let hype get on top of them

That was that, for it immediately rained again, as it had for most of the day thereto. This had a twofold effect. It deprived the tourists of match practice, which on the evidence of recent events they hardly need, but provided the opportunity to give England another flea in the ear, which they definitely could do without.

What now seems like a light year ago, but was actually six weeks, Australia seemed to be in all sorts of bother when they were beaten by Bangladesh in a one-day international. For a while the globe seemed to have been knocked off its axis, and it was given a further nudge the following day when England won a match against Austra- lia that they should have lost.

For a while after that, which seemed like a light year ago but was probably about five minutes, Australia were talking about how they had things to put right but were sure they could do it. Having gone 1-0 up in the Ashes series following two resounding victories to conclude the one-day international season, the repair work is probably on course.

They are also talking wonderfully again, full of cockiness and the certainty of winners. Stuart MacGill, the reserve leg spinner in the party, offered his words of advice to England yesterday.

"My thoughts at the moment are that there are way too many things going on between their ears," he said. "When good batsmen stride to the crease there is just one thing they should be thinking about and that's the red thing. So much was going on prior to the series that there were way too many complications. It doesn't really matter who is running in to bowl provided that you have good support at the other end and good fieldsmen. I would love to play."

This was in answer to a question about MacGill's chances of gaining a place in Australia's side for the Test series. But he was in his element now, and recognised an eager audience.

"There has been a lot of talk about the significance of the series and the fact that number two in the world are playing the top guns. I think if I was them I would have been spending a lot more time concentrating on what I was doing rather than telling what I was going to do. There are a lot of newspapers in England all looking for headlines, and too many people have been willing to provide those headlines."

He barely suppressed the smile showing that he had almost certainly supplied another one. Coming from most reserves, this would be at best a bit of a cheek. But MacGill has played 33 Tests for Australia in which he has taken 160 wickets at 28.81. If he had been born and raised anywhere else in the world - failing English mothers and the willingness to move continents - he would be a shoo-in for a Test place.

MacGill would probably be one of the most feared bowlers around. As it is, he was unfortunate enough to be born 17 months after Shane Warne. He can only ever expect to play if Australia play two spinners, or if Warne is injured or banned. Old Trafford offers his best hope, now that the weather looks certain to render the option redundant at Edgbaston.

He is very definitely Australian. He is bowling in every net as though it was a rehearsal for the next Test. "If I don't play a game, I will bug the living daylights out of every player," he said.

So, Australia are now back in every sense: winning and advising the English. They are being given their lead by the coach, John Buchanan, who has also been much quoted this week.

Buchanan is an admirably thorough coach with a line in cod psychology who bangs on about the need for people continually to improve, and this week he mentioned Australia's intention to target Ashley Giles, as though both those ideas had not occurred to anybody else.

The trouble is, unless England can win, there will be more of it from every quarter.

The most notable thing to happen at New Road yesterday was the presentation of Basil D'Oliveira's CBE. The great man was too ill to attend and his son Damien accepted the gong on his behalf from the county's deputy lieutenant.

Australian cricketers have a proper sense of the game's history and three of them lined up at the little ceremony: the captain, Ricky Ponting, Warne and Glenn McGrath, who will let Worcestershire know at the end of the Test series whether he will play for them next season. Somehow, they are much more acceptable in that context than telling England what to do.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star