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'The best Australian bowler'
Part nine: Allan Donald on the most intimidating bowlers he has seen: this time, Glenn McGrath
Produced by: Gokul Chakravarthy, Suketu Mehta; Interviewer: Nagraj Gollapudi
July 11, 2013
'The best Australian bowler'July 11, 2013
The reason I have picked Glenn McGrath as one of the most intimidating bowlers is because he was probably the most relentless bowler I have come across.
He bowled a heavy ball, wasn't express pace, but his control separated him from the rest. He came very close to the stumps and was a very tough bowler to leave. Gary Kirsten often use to say that he hated facing Glenn McGrath.
He was the best bowler to left-handers that I have seen. As a left-hander, you just could not leave him, because he got into a channel and the ball just did something off the seam that got it to go away from the left-hander.
He was rather aggressive, loved a chat, loved getting involved, and he was also one of those bowlers who hated anyone with the bat in his hand.
He had a rather easy run-up. He didn't hit the crease that hard, and wasn't the sort of bowler who use to bang the front foot in. It was all nice and easy through the crease. But he was a fantastic bowler.
His nickname was Pigeon. Everyone was his bunny. He was such a phenomenal performer. Like Dale Steyn, the numbers he racked up throughout his career were absolutely astounding. His contribution every Test match was staggering.
Against a team comprising McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne, you know you are not going to get easy runs. I think his career economy rate was below three an over, which was unbelievable.
The best attribute about Glenn McGrath, for me, was his patience on flat wickets. There was one instance in county cricket that stood out for me, where he bowled 48 overs in an innings at Edgbaston and got 6 for 80. He never got impatient or annoyed with the situation and rather kept plugging away. I sat with some of our bowlers in the stands and I asked them to come and watch McGrath operate. He had put on a show. We watched him for two sessions, and he just put on a display of fast bowling on the flattest of pitches.
There were too many Test matches to remember where he put on a significant contribution. They were all significant contributions. Glenn McGrath, for me, would be the best Australian bowler. Dare we argue that with Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, but, for me, Dennis Lillee and Glenn McGrath would be right up there on the pedestal.
McGrath and Steyn's adaptability on different surfaces is what sets them apart from the rest. Their record in India and Pakistan is phenomenal, and that is because of the fantastic skill they possessed with the ball.
Coming to India and Pakistan, bowling there was a priceless learning experience for me. And looking at what McGrath and Steyn have done in the subcontinent tells you a story of where they fit into the legendary bracket.
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