Andrew McDonald gave hope to all Sheffield Shield players in 2008-09 when he was a surprise pick for the Test team. He played four matches in a row against South Africa and was an energetic member of the Ashes squad without appearing in a major game. After heading back to the domestic ranks he had a useful home summer, held on to his national contract and went to England for a stint with Leicestershire.
When McDonald renewed links with Leicestershire as a coach in late 2014, his monumental task was such that only two players remained from the county's triumphant Twenty20 campaign in 2011 and they had not won a Championship match for more than two years.
A handy allrounder, McDonald did not have the star quality of Flintoff, Symonds or Watson, but he showed Ricky Ponting he could be an important role player with the ball. He started at the SCG batting at No. 6 and quickly lost his helmet - but not his head - after receiving a Morne Morkel bouncer. However, he did not score more than his initial 15 until the last act of the series in South Africa, where his 68 could not stop an innings defeat. More value was displayed in his medium pace, which rarely strayed and allowed pressure to be built while the main men attacked at the other end. There were three wickets on debut and he claimed at least one victim in the rest of his games.
On the state scene McDonald collected an impressive 28 first-class breakthroughs in 2009-10 to go with 433 runs, a haul which helped Victoria to the Sheffield Shield. The previous summer he scored 356 Sheffield Shield runs at 44.5 and took 22 wickets at 21.31, as well as being a key performer in the one-day side. There was also a consistent season in 2007-08 after enjoying a breakthrough campaign the previous summer.
He helped Victoria reach the Pura Cup final with 545 runs at 49.54 combined with 13 wickets at 37.92. McDonald added his second first-class century when he led a fightback with 139 against South Australia at the Junction Oval, after reaching triple-figures for the first time in 2006-07. That season he was exceptional, topping Victoria's Pura Cup wicket tally and finishing second to Brad Hodge in their batting averages. He came into the summer with one first-class half-century; he added six more and averaged 57.69. His 29 dismissals were invaluable in an injury-ravaged Bushrangers attack and his 6 for 34 against Queensland was a career-best.
His red hair and surname inevitably invited the nickname Ronnie, but there was no clowning around from McDonald in 2006-07, when he became only the fifth player in Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup history to make 750 runs and take 25 wickets in a season. Not surprisingly, he was Victoria's Pura Cup Player of the Year and earned a part-time Academy place for 2007, and was picked in the Australia A squad to tour Pakistan in September but had to pull out due to a shoulder injury.
A former Australia Under-19 player, McDonald was tipped for a bright future after picking up 32 wickets in ten games in 2003-04. Backed by a haul of 6 for 67 against Western Australia and another burst of 4 for 2 in 14 balls, he seemed ready to settle in the side. However, the following summer he had finger surgery and his appearances became less frequent. The 2005-06 campaign was subdued but he burst back and remains one of the keys to Victoria's chances of four-day and one-day success.
Cricinfo staff July 2010