• County news 2012

Magoffin extends Sussex deal

Brydon Coverdale
June 27, 2012 « Tiger targets Rory's record-breaking score | Chartbeat test »
Steve Magoffin (left) helped Queensland win the Sheffield Shield last summer, which will be his last act in Australian cricket © Getty Images
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Steve Magoffin, the Queensland fast bowler, will finish his career in England after retiring from Australian first-class cricket and signing a near two-year deal with Sussex. Magoffin, 32, joined the county this season as an overseas player and after impressing with 24 wickets at 21.95 in the County Championship so far this summer, he has agreed to stay on for the rest of this year and at least until the end of 2013.

As an overseas county player, Magoffin could have kept playing in Australia but his wife, who is British, is expecting a baby in December and Magoffin decided the time was right to relocate to England. The move brings to an end a Sheffield Shield career that began in 2004-05 in Western Australia, before Magoffin returned to his home state of Queensland last season and helped them secure the Shield title.

His final act in Australian cricket was to strike the winning run for the Bulls in the Shield final against Tasmania in March, as part of a 45-run seventh-wicket partnership with Chris Hartley that rescued the side from a dangerous position. It was the perfect end for Magoffin, who grew up in Queensland but moved to Perth to avoid being stuck behind Michael Kasprowicz, Andy Bichel, Ashley Noffke, Joe Dawes and Mitchell Johnson in the Queensland bowling queue.

"It's definitely a case of mixed emotions for me," Magoffin said. "I was so pleased to finally play for Queensland last season, and to finish that way with a Shield title was the stuff that dreams are made of. But I'm at a stage now where my wife Becky and I are starting a family later this year and the opportunity to play on in England with Sussex and be here with her family when the baby comes is the best thing for us.

"I'm very thankful to [coach] Darren Lehmann and the Queensland selectors for giving me a go last season, and for being so understanding now. There were no promises when I came back home from Western Australia but they looked out for me and things panned out, probably better than I could have hoped. I look back at how the Warriors gave me an opportunity to play first class cricket, which I remain grateful for, and when that door closed, it was a case of right place/right time when I came home to Brisbane."

Magoffin picked up 199 first-class wickets at 26.85 for Western Australia, and 23 at 16.60 during his only season with Queensland. He was a strong enough Shield performer to earn a call-up as a standby player for Australia's Test series in South Africa in 2008-09, but that was as close he came to representing his country.

"There were plenty of batsmen over the years that lost the battle to Mags because he would do his utmost with every delivery to build pressure," said Lehmann, Magoffin's coach in his final year of state cricket. "And with the bat, he was certainly a man for a crisis. I hope he and his family enjoys the remainder of his career in England and the Bulls wish him every success with Sussex from here."

A tall fast bowler who moves the ball off the seam, Magoffin made an immediate impression on debut for Sussex, collecting nine wickets against Lancashire. Mark Robinson, the professional cricket manager with Sussex, said the county was pleased to have secured Magoffin until the end of next year.

"Mags has fitted in really well in his time here," Robinson said. "With overseas players increasingly difficult to find and the International calendar even busier next season with the Champions Trophy in our summer, we are delighted to have secured such a dependable and important player for the rest of the season and the next."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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