Melbourne, Feb.6 (ANI): Former Australian cricket captain Bill Lawry is of the view that leg -spinner Bryce McGain will prove to be a handful for the South African batsmen.
"He's not a guy [who's] been playing first-class cricket for 20 years, so he's going to be fresh, he's going to be enthusiastic and the South Africans, in particular, don't play leg-spin all that well, so I think it's a great opportunity for him," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Lawry, as saying.
"McGain's got a tremendous opportunity of not only doing well in South Africa but touring England and coming back next summer as our No.1 spinner and with a permanent place in the side," he added.
Grilled over whether he had got a phone call from Cricket Australia regarding the South African tour squad earlier this week, McGain initially told the partisan Victorian crowd he was not sure because his phone was not working.
But once the squad was released to the media, McGain admitted to receiving the call from CA honcho Michael Brown at about 7.20 a.m.
"Michael rang through and said, 'I've just got some good news, you'll be going off to South Africa,"'
While the 36-year-old was coy at the lunch, excitement took over immediately after he received the call confirming his Test career - aborted in September just before it was to start due to a serious shoulder injury - was finally set to begin.
"He didn't say not to tell anyone so I quickly rang Mum," he said.
McGain also spoke to his nine-year-old son, Liam, and revealed he was the reason his phone was on the blink.
"I've got all [lack of] memory issues with my phone because I save all his messages all the time, like 'Well bowled Dad, I saw you on telly,"' the single father said. "I listen to those when I'm away so I wish I could have kept this one because he was really excited. We shared a pretty good moment on the phone this morning."
Since conceding 54 runs off nine overs for Prahran in his comeback match a month ago in Warrion in country Victoria, his leg-spin bowling has steadily recovered. McGain has bowled 84 overs in eight matches since his return to cricket, culminating in a five-wicket haul against South Australia on Monday.
"There was a lot of hard work that I had to do between getting injured in India and getting to where I am now, and a lot of that is ... tucked away in the gym and pretty boring stuff - tugging a rubber band and getting myself right again - but in the end of it, it's been well worthwhile," he said.
The selection of an uncapped player who will turn 37 during the tour arguably makes little sense for a team apparently focused on a youth-led recovery, however, former Australian captain Bill Lawry insists McGain's selection is not a backward step.
McGain has played only 20 Shield matches. Till a year ago, he held a full-time banking job, and threw it in for a last-ditch shot at cricket.
As well as not having a body wearied by years of constant cricket, McGain boasts one of the leanest physiques among his Bushrangers teammates.
"Maybe that [fitness] shows in the Victorian team, that I can run around the field, I can pick up the ball and I can throw it," McGain said.
"That's what I'm there to do and I'm there to do it to the best of my ability - sometimes better than people half my age." (ANI)