Pigeon receives support from West Indian great February 9, 2005

Walsh supports McGrath's aim for the World Cup

Cricinfo staff

Courtney Walsh has lent his support to Glenn McGrath's bid to play in the 2007 World Cup © Getty Images

Courtney Walsh has backed Glenn McGrath to make it for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean. Earlier, McGrath had declared his intention to participate in the tournament, saying that his fitness would not let him down. He captured 15 wickets at 11 apiece in the VB Series.

Walsh praised McGrath's match winning performance of 5 for 27 in the second final against Pakistan and reckoned that McGrath could maintain the form till the World Cup. "I think people carry on too much about age. It's within his reach. It's two years away and he has every chance if he looks after his body.

"It also helps that Australia has a system that looks after the players and gives them a chance to rest," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Walsh, who was in Sydney for a coaching assignment. "As long as he feels good and as long as he is doing a good job for the team, then he can carry on. It is interesting to have him around, especially because you need senior players there to help the younger guys."

Walsh's verbal support was in stark contrast to Brian Lara's claim last month that McGrath would not be fit enough to bowl in the 2007 World Cup. "He is a champion bowler but his age [McGrath will be 37 in 2007} could count against him. He'll be an ageing fast bowler coming in to bowl on really nice batting tracks in the Caribbean," Lara had said in January. "He might damage his reputation and frugal economy rate if he tried to help the world champions defend their Cup crown on flat wickets in the Caribbean."

Walsh has expressed huge respect for McGrath, who needs just 39 wickets to surpass Walsh's record of 519 Test wickets. "McGrath is the best fast bowler in the world today - no question," Walsh wrote in a newspaper column for The Australian. "I have a lot of respect for Glenn. He bowls well in any conditions and even when fatigued, his line and length rarely changes.

"As a thinker, there is no better bowler. He can work a batsman out. I know Glenn is not far off my mark and he will go past me soon. I know he struggled a bit in the Caribbean. Looking at him here, you know he's very much at peace with himself, very comfortable, and he's doing the right things."