Sydney Thunder strike bowler Clint McKay says he harbours no grudges against Sunday's Big Bash League final opponents, the Melbourne Stars, despite being released by them at the end of last season after he was barely given a go last summer.
While he has played a Test and 59 one-day internationals for Australia, the 32-year-old was hailed by national selector Mark Waugh as the "find" of BBL05 after heading the wicket-taker's tally with 17 scalps as a result of his ability to mix up his bowling.
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Thunder beat Strikers by 8 wickets
An unbeaten century by Usman Khawaja takes Sydney Thunder into their first Big Bash League Grand Final.
The tall, right-arm, fast-medium bowler has also come into his own as a "death" bowler, a player who responds to the pressure of taking on batsmen determined to score as many runs in the adrenalin-charged final overs of a BBL innings.
It is a far cry from last season when McKay was used in only three matches for the Stars. Ironically, his best performance for his former team was when he took 2-14 during Melbourne's eight-wicket win over the Thunder at Spotless Stadium.
"I've got no hard feelings [for] the Melbourne Stars," said McKay, while admitting he was happy to see them qualify for their first final. "I've still got some of my great mates who play there. I have a lot of respect for their whole squad, to be honest, and [chief executive] Clint Cooper is a great operator and he's a good friend of mine as well.
"It would be great to beat them, but at the end of the day I don't care who we play, I just want to go out and win this tournament. That's what we're here to do and that's what we've been wanting to achieve from the start."
McKay said he could not possibly regret the path his BBL career had taken after being a spearhead in the Thunder's best season, before adding that he believed in what the team that represents Sydney's western suburbs stands for.
"I've got a couple of close mates in the Sydney Thunder team and my manager put some feelers out there and worked out who was actually interested," he said.
"The Sydney Thunder [was and] if you look at the way they were going about their business last year - obviously they haven't had much success in previous years - but the way the organisation is running, the way they're setting up their list, the people they've got involved, it was a bit of a no-brainer once I made that decision to move away from the Melbourne Stars.
"The Sydney Thunder was the team for me. I believe in everything they're doing. I trust everyone in the organisation and the way they're going about things and turning this place around. I think [qualifying for the final] is just another indication of the steps they've made over the years."
McKay played down his five-star performances in BBL05, preferring to put a lot of it down to "a bit of Twenty20 luck" .
"You don't really look at personal milestones," he said, "but when people bring it up it does make you feel quite happy and sort of proud of what you've actually achieved because at the end of the day we're trying to win games of cricket and if I can take wickets and not go for many runs that's helping achieve what we're after.
"It's just about playing my role and doing that to the best of my ability. So far, so good, one more game to go."