By Rob Barnett
England are unlikely to face prolific Australian seamer Steve Magoffin in this winter’s Ashes and the 33-year-old Sussex player admits his international prospects are all but over.
Australia’s wealth of pace options – Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc to name a few – mean opportunities for seamers approaching the end of their playing days are limited.
However, the inclusion of then 35-year-old batsman Chris Rogers for the Investec Ashes showed a willingness to select seasoned players. Rogers averaged over 40 at the top of the order in that series, justifying his recall five and a half years after his only other Test.
Magoffin, like Middlesex’s Rogers, has much experience of county cricket, having represented Surrey and Worcestershire before joining Sussex for the start of last season.
He was among the top six LV= County Championship Division One wicket-takers last year with 57 scalps at an average of 20.05, but that could not force his inclusion in Australia’s squad named during April.
Therefore available to Sussex throughout this summer, he made 63 championship breakthroughs at 21.49 to leave just Graham Onions ahead of him in terms Division One wickets.
It appears, though, that neither Onions, omitted from England’s party, nor Magoffin will feature in the return Ashes starting on November 21 at Brisbane.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Magoffin said: “I’m probably in a different scenario to Chris Rogers where I’ve probably made the move over here to England on a permanent basis as much for cricket but also for family reasons as well.
“I’ve had an out-block of time since I played domestic cricket in Australia and I guess that probably means I might not be available for selection any more but I’m not too sure what the rules are.
“The time was right for me to stop playing shield cricket back in Australia. They’ve only since gone down the road of picking guys like Rogers, who had performed well over long periods of time.
“In hindsight, if I’d stayed another year or two perhaps another opportunity might have come up. I spent nearly 10 years playing domestic cricket in Australia.
“It feels like I gave it my all in those years and performed well at certain times to perhaps get a call-up, but it didn’t arrive so I can’t really do much about that.”
Magoffin’s last game in Australia was the 2011/12 Sheffield Shield final when he helped Queensland to victory in his sole campaign playing for the state of his birth.
Until then Magoffin, a first-class specialist of late who dismissed Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss in a tour match three years ago, represented Western Australia for seven seasons.
Yet, after an outstanding first campaign with Sussex, he knew it was time to settle in England. The decision has paid off and Magoffin is hoping to prolong his stay with Sussex.
“My wife’s from England,” he explained. “We’ve got a 10-month-old baby boy so it was around this time last year when I extended my contract with Sussex through to the end of this year.
“It was the right time for a lot of reasons for me to finish playing back in Australia. I’ve had a long career with Western Australia, which finished, and then I had one more year back with Queensland and had some success in the shield there.
“And it was probably a nice way to cap off my career over there and take up a new challenge over here. It’s been a great challenge and one I’ve really enjoyed. I’m certainly hoping for a few more years over here as well.”
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