Stuart MacGill has claimed that Australia’s preparations ahead of the 2005 Ashes series were “disgraceful.”
MacGill was a member of the Australia squad for the 2005 Ashes series but wasn’t selected for any of the five Tests. Speaking on the Cricket Life Stories YouTube channel, MacGill voiced particular frustration at his side’s preparations for the series, pinning most of the blame on their coach John Buchanan.
“It was actually one of the most disappointing experiences of my life,” said MacGill. “Preparations for that series from an Australian point of view were disgraceful. In the squad that was selected to go to on that tour, I think we had seven guys, including myself, who’d played quite a bit of county cricket. So we knew the bowlers, we knew the conditions, we knew the balls, we knew the approach, we knew what to expect.
“We had a three day planning meeting just prior to leaving for the tour and we were doing Edward de Bono’s ‘[Six] Thinking Hats.‘ We didn’t talk about Simon Jones, we didn’t talk about Andrew Flintoff, we didn’t talk about any of the magnificent players who were in the England set-up at the time. We, in my opinion and in hindsight a lot of people’s opinions, didn’t show them any respect at all.
“Simon Katich came up to me after day one of ‘The Seven [Six] Thinking Caps’ and said to me, ‘Are we going to talk about any of these players at all.’ Because of my reputation and relationship with Buchanan, who I think is one of the most overrated…look, he was a passenger with this Australia team in the period of time that he was involved. I had a poor relationship with him and I said to Simon, ‘I don’t think I’m the best guy for you to talk to about this, why don’t you talk to Punter [Ricky Ponting] about this?’ and he did.”
MacGill was not a part of the Australia squad for the white-ball series that preceded the Ashes. During that series, MacGill worked as a pundit in Australia and noticed that something wasn’t quite right with some of the members of the Australia team.
“I was working for an Australian TV station and I watched both Jason Gillespie and in this case Matthew Hayden play and go about their games and they had changed their approach for whatever reason. I’m not them I don’t know what was in their head. When I landed in the UK, I went up to John and said to him, ‘I’ve been working in media, I’ve seen this, this and this, perhaps you should discuss it with the players concerned.’
“A month later, not a week later, a month later after Australia were 2-1 down, I said to John, ‘Have you spoken to these blokes?’ He said ‘Oh no, I haven’t.’ John Buchanan facilitated an arrogance and disrespect of the conditions and the talent that was on show in the England side.”