McGrath named Wisden Australia Cricketer of the Year
Glenn McGrath's spectacular return from career-threatening bone spurs on his left foot has won him the Wisden Australia Cricketer of the Year award. McGrath, who was forced out of the game for 12 months in mid-2003 and recovered from two operations, was 34 when he came back as "an ancient among fast bowlers", and he beat Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist for the prize recognising performances in 2004-05.
"What the Wisden year, leading up to the Ashes series, proved was that McGrath makes Australia complete," Greg Baum, the editor of Wisden Australia 2005-06 who presented McGrath with the award in Hobart today, said. "Two injuries in the Ashes series underscored it, to Australia's regret."
From his comeback against Sri Lanka in Darwin to the final Test against New Zealand in March, McGrath took 69 wickets at 18.17 before claiming his 500th victim at Lord's in July. "McGrath is like his bowling: it should never be presumed that he is gone," Baum said.
Geoff Lawson wrote in Wisden Australia that having Shane Warne in the side was handy, "but before Warne gets the ball, the swing, seam and snarl of McGrath comes into play". "It is something that has happened with astounding success for more than a decade," he writes.
Lawson compares McGrath with the golfer Ernie Els and also pinpoints his secret. ''Simply, it is simplicity,'' he writes. ''He puts a minimal amount of stress on his body, because he has an action that doesn't have a lot of stress points. He doesn't bowl fast because he doesn't try to bowl fast.''
Michael Bevan, who scored 1464 runs including eight centuries, was the Wisden Australia Pura Cup Cricketer of the Year.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack Australia 2005-06, Hardie Grant Books, RRP $55 is available in bookstores. Buy this from Cricshop