Fast bowler leaps back after considering retirement March 24, 2005

McGrath tops Australia's ranking list

Cricinfo staff

On a roll: Glenn McGrath used his rankings drop as an incentive to return to No. 1 © Getty Images

Glenn McGrath is predicted to become Australia's most valuable player less than a year after considering retirement. The selectors will decide the national contracts this week and McGrath, ranked No. 1 on the ICC's Test and one-day tables, is expected to collect the biggest base contract of an estimated $500,000 (US$385,000).

The rise for McGrath, who had ankle surgery last year and almost quit before the Top End series against Sri Lanka, has been stunning with 58 Test wickets at 19 since July, and it makes his current ranking of 15 on Cricket Australia's 2004-05 list look severely under-valued. The drop came after several years as No. 1 and McGrath, 35, said it was an incentive to improve.

"I was a little bit disappointed, but I could see the reasoning behind it," McGrath told The Australian. "To some players the rankings mean more than money, and others are not too worried. I've always been fairly performance-driven and the rankings are more important to me than the money."

McGrath said the fall had more of an effect than a drop in pay. "One of the things I said in the contract meeting was that my goal was to get back to No.1 in both one-dayers and Tests," he said. "To come around to contract time again and I'm sitting at the top [of the ICC rankings] gives me a lot of satisfaction."

The number of contracts remains unknown as Cricket Australia is still negotiating with the Australian Cricketers' Association over the memorandum of understanding due to start on July 1. Players under threat to lose their deals include Martin Love, Jimmy Maher, Matthew Elliott and Brad Williams, while James Hopes, Michael Hussey, Nathan Bracken and Dan Cullen have performed strongly this season.