August 26, 2014

'I couldn't bring myself to set a batsman up by giving him runs'

Glenn McGrath talks about the method behind his metronomic consistency, visualisation, and why aggression isn't about sledging
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"When I was bowling well, I had already worked out the next two overs - what I was going to bowl and where I was going to bowl" © Getty Images

There is this line in your autobiography: "I can't ever remember having a bad dream about bowling. When I dreamt about cricket, I just bowled the ball I wanted to."
That is positive reinforcement. I used to call it visualisation. The night before a game, I'd think about who I was playing, and then how I'd bowled against those guys, if I had got them out previously. While I was playing, I could recall nearly all my wickets and how I got the batsman out.

If you continually watch yourself do something well, it has a positive effect. If you sat down and watched yourself bowling, batting or fielding badly, it will probably have the equal effect. I just found that worked for me. Even when I played I'd visualise at the top of my mark the ball carrying through and what I wanted to deliver.

Was that how you had always been, or did you have to work on it?
I don't know, I think it is something that came pretty naturally. I am quite a positive person. I always try to see the good in every situation, the good in everybody. My wife has a go at me every now and then that I can still see too much good in people sometimes, when they probably do not deserve it. I have always been the glass-half-full person. Even if we lost a game, I'd work on the positives and then think about where we could improve.

Early into your career, you had a major injury and you had to work hard on your fitness. Everyone talks about physical fitness for a fast bowler. You were probably one of the strongest bowlers mentally. How important is mental strength for a fast bowler?
I came back from the West Indies in 1995. I'd torn my intercostal, one of my side muscles, where you get your power from for a fast bowler. I weighed 77 kilos, which is about 25 kilos less than what I am now. I was injured, and I thought that if I want to stay playing at this level, which I was absolutely loving, I was going to have to do something differently. So I found a trainer, who was one of the toughest, and worked with him. He made me nearly unbreakable. That was my attitude with what I wanted to do. I think being physically fit and strong is hugely important for a fast bowler.

On the other side of things, you have to be mentally strong as well. My strength was probably more the mental side of the game rather than the skill side. I always had that self-belief that I was good enough. You have got to believe you are good enough, otherwise there is no point to it. I was prepared to work as hard as I could. The old saying: "The harder you work, the luckier you get" is very, very true. I would never give up. I was never satisfied. I'd always want to improve and do better next game. I felt we could win from any situation no matter how bad it was. I'd say I never gave up. I loved what I did, and if you have a real love and passion for what you do, you can't help but be successful.

"I probably sledged myself a lot more than I sledged the batsman, because I had such high expectations of myself"

I always had a game plan, what I was looking to achieve. When I was bowling well, I had already worked out the next two overs - what I was going to bowl and where I was going to bowl. It is just that mindset - knowing your game and yourself, how you work at your best and what you are looking to achieve. I never had any doubts when I was playing. I never worried about another bowler coming in and taking my position. All the focus was on what I wanted to achieve, and how I was going to go about doing it, and I just went out and did it.

Where would you say these values came from? Is it an Australian way or from the farm, from your early years?
I'd like to say it is a little bit of an Australian attitude. There were some batsmen in the team who did not like it when I made predictions and targeted batsmen of the other team. Maybe it was my upbringing - the country attitude. When you grow up on a farm you are instilled with a certain work ethic from a young age. We were driving tractors, working on the land, from a young age.

Everyone has a conscious decision to make from any situation. They can either look at it from a negative perspective and let it affect them or look at it from a positive one and use that. I love life and I want to make the most of it. I try to live in the now as well. Don't think too much about the past - just experiences that have taught me things. Growing up on a farm and having that freedom as a young fellow and what my parents instilled in me - it all led me in that direction.

Shane Warne called your bowling method the torture technique. Drips on the forehead till the batsman gives up. Did you think of it that way?
The old Chinese water torture. Just drying them up, not letting them get any easy runs, slowly building the pressure until they got out or were shot mentally. I'd like to think I did a little bit more than slowly torture them, but it is an interesting comment from Warnie.

How did you zero in on that method, coming at the taile-end of an era where fast bowlers looked to intimidate batsmen? Yours wasn't physical intimidation, it was more mental.
If I could have bowled 160kph or 100mph, I would have definitely been bowling that fast. Physically, I could not. But what I did do well is, I could land the ball. I had pretty good accuracy and I could get good bounce. I was not that quick, I did not swing the ball a great deal, but what I could do, I did very well. That was my strength.

I only looked to get a batsman out one of three ways: bowled, lbw or caught behind. I thought it is pointless bowling middle stump because it would take all my slips out and it makes it easy for batsmen to score runs on the leg side. So off stump, or just outside, was where I wanted to bowl.

I had that mental strength and I loved the challenge of bowling to guys who were classed the best. I loved bowling in pressure situations. If I miss anything in cricket, it is being in those pressure situations, where it comes down to you having to perform for the team to win. That is what I loved.

"I only looked to get a batsman out one of three ways: bowled, lbw or caught behind" © Getty Images

People saw some of your qualities in Mohammad Asif. He said that line was mandatory and that he hated giving runs off the pads. How important was line to you?
I hated giving the batsman even a single. If the batsman hit me for four, it wasn't because he hit a good shot. It was because I had bowled the ball where he could hit me for four. So I was a bit annoyed with myself. It is all about control. Bowling the ball in the right area, hitting the deck, top of off stump, where the batsman is not sure whether to come forward or go back. A lot of people call it the corridor of uncertainty. That is what I try to stipulate when I speak to young bowlers at the MRF Pace Foundation - that it is about control.

You look at Mitchell Johnson. He is still bowling 150kph, but he has got control now, and that makes him a lethal bowler. If the bowlers have control, they can bowl it where they want to. They are going to be a lot more effective, be able to build pressure, and are going to get a lot more wickets.

I do not like to see guys substitute pace for control. You just need to work harder on getting that control without giving up something else. If you have got control and pace, you are a pretty dangerous bowler.

That length seemed irritating even on television. What do you do with that length? Do you come forward or go back? Was that length natural?
It was pretty natural. I never looked at the spot on the wicket where I wanted to bowl. It was always sort of locked in at the top of my mark that this is the type of delivery I want to bowl and it is all about feel. The last thing I wanted to do was bowl it where the batsman wanted it to come. It is that in-between length where they cannot really come forward or go back. If they go forward it is not quite there, if they go back it is not there and they nick. That length is a different length on every wicket. You have to assess the conditions, the bounce, the seam, and then you have to adjust accordingly. I think that was one thing I did. I could adjust to the wicket very quickly, find out that length in that corridor of uncertainty and try to capitalise on that.

They used to call you the Metronome. How hard is it mentally to stick to control? You had decent pace. Didn't you ever feel like indulging yourself?
I look at those things as a compliment. Precision is something I look upon fondly. My goal was to bowl what I classed as the perfect game, where every ball I bowled went exactly where I wanted to bowl it. That is what I was striving for. That does not mean I have to bowl every ball on the same spot. You can still intimidate them with short-pitched bowling, with aggressive fields, set a person up for an inswinging yorker, but it is just about being able to land the ball where you want to land it. Being a fast bowler at the end of the day is an aggressive thing. It is just not being aggressive with sledging. It is about body language, attitude, field placements. It is about the way you bowl. You have got to be the whole package.

How important was bounce to you? Ricky Ponting has said that it is more bounce than pace that gets batsmen out.
Speaking to the guys who were classed the best batsmen in the world - you mentioned Ricky there, [Brian] Lara, [Sachin] Tendulkar, [Rahul] Dravid, guys like that, they said they would rather face someone bowling at 150kph who skidded the ball on rather than someone who bowled mid-130s and got that bounce.

That was one of my weapons. If I tried to bowl too fast, I'd probably go a bit low and I lost that bounce, which I felt was a more dangerous weapon than an extra 4-5kph in pace. That was my strength. I could bowl good areas and I got bounce and a bit of seam movement and that brought all my catchers into play.

"If I had had coaching when I was younger, they would have probably tried to get me side-on. My body just found the most natural way to bowl and it worked for me"

What was your attitude to sledging? Was it an additional weapon?
Yes and no. Some batsmen, if you have a bit of chat to them, they went to water. Someone like Lara, if you had a chat to him one day, you'd get him out because he'd go to water. Next day, if you have a chat to him, that's it, you are never going to get him out. So it worked against some batsmen, for some it didn't.

It is not something where you went out and said, "We're going to target this guy. We are going to sledge him." For me, personally, I probably sledged myself a lot more than I sledged the batsman, because I had such high expectations of myself. And half the time if I said something to the batsmen it was probably more out of frustration that I didn't achieve what I wanted to with that particular delivery.

It is part of the game. Test cricket is a test physically, skill-wise and mentally. And probably the mental side of the game is bigger than the other two.

How did you succeed in the subcontinent? Did you modify your approach, because not many overseas fast bowlers have done well here?
I tried to adjust to the conditions as quickly as I could. What are the positives of being a fast bowler in India? To me, the new ball is hard. It will carry through okay, so you have to use the new ball. Then the ball gets a bit soft, it stops swinging. Just got to keep it tight, work on the ball, then you are going to get reverse swing and all of a sudden it comes back into the bowler's favour. That is all I concentrated on. Use the new ball when it is hard and when it is old, look after it, get reverse swing, and set fairly straight fields and bowl a lot straighter than what you would in Australia.

That is all I tried to do, and again, I was trying and looking at the positives, or what the game plan was on these wickets, in these conditions, and how to best succeed. I still did not want to go for runs. I never set a batsman up by giving him runs. I could not bring myself to do that.

Did you have to be more patient in Asia?
It still comes back to execution and control. My stats in India were not too bad compared to the rest of the world. I did not worry that I was bowling in India compared to Australia and the UK. It was just a challenge that I enjoyed. To be classed a good bowler or a great bowler, you have got to be able to perform in every condition, every country, on every type of wicket. Patience, working to a game plan, bowling in partnerships - they were all part of the game. But ultimately my motivation was taking wickets. The end result was that I was looking to get that batsman out.

There were reverse-swing exponents like Wasim and Waqar. And guys like you and Curtly Ambrose made seam bowling famous at that time. Was it always seam for you?
Pretty much so. When I first got selected to play for Australia, a lot of people were saying you have to bowl a consistent outswinger to be successful at Test cricket. And I wanted to be successful at Test cricket so I started swinging the ball. I remember a Test I played against England at the Gabba in the 1994-95 series and I was swinging the ball quite a lot. I ended up with match figures of none for 101 at the end of that match and did not play the next three games. I went back and thought, "Well, I got picked for a reason. I got picked because of the way I bowl. So I am just going to stick to that. That bounce. That seam movement. And building pressure." That was a good learning experience. Listening to other people did not work for me. I tried it and I learned from it.

My strength was hitting the deck, coming from fairly high, using that bounce and hitting the seam. Sometimes that would carry straight through, sometimes it would come back in off the seam, predominantly more so than away, but that natural variation there was enough to unsettle a lot of batsmen.

That fast incutter. Was that an effort ball?
It was more a natural delivery. Looking at my action - because I jumped in a bit at the end - I had a strong core, which allowed me to stay tall without falling away. But it meant I had to go across myself, which lent itself to hitting the wicket and going in to the right-hander or going away from the left-hander.

Did you always have a repeatable action?
That is the way I bowled. I didn't have any coaching. The first coaching I'd ever had, I was 22. And I did not model myself on anyone else. That held me in good stead, because back when I was growing up, it was all "get side-on". Dennis Lillee had the classical side-on action and he was my hero growing up. So if I had had coaching when I was younger, they would have probably tried to get me side-on. Who knows where I could have been? I may not have ever played. My body just found the most natural way to bowl and it worked for me.

Nowadays we know a lot more about coaching. There is front-on and side-on, even somewhere in between. As long as your hips and shoulders are in line, it does not matter where you are within that range. Your back will be fine. It is when your shoulders and hips get out of line that you have problems.

"With Warnie, the partnership we had was quite amazing. Two totally different styles of bowling but two very similar bowlers in the way we went about it" © Getty Images

You lost a bit of speed towards the end. How did you make up for it?
It wasn't a conscious thing to lose speed. That is the way it happened. But then it is all about control and bowling where you wanted to. Look at Jason Gillespie, who was a similar style of bowler to me but a little bit quicker. A lot of batsmen would play and miss because though they picked the line, it bounced and seamed and was past the bat before they could adjust. Whereas when I hit the deck and it did something off the wicket, the batsman would see it and had time to adjust and maybe just follow it. I got a lot more edges because of that. The fact that I was not express sometimes worked in my favour.

Those legendary partnerships - McGrath-Warne, McGrath-Gillespie - which one was dearer to you?
They were both equally important. I loved bowling with Jason at the other end. We still have a great friendship and I always enjoyed that. With Warnie, the partnership we had was quite amazing. Two totally different styles of bowling but two very similar bowlers in the way we went about it. He and I had very good control. We could build pressure from both ends and I can definitely thank Shane for a lot of my wickets, and he has come out and said he thanks me for some of his wickets as well. To bowl with Shane at the other end was something pretty special. We won the majority of the Test matches we played in and took over 1000 Test wickets between us. They are not bad stats.

Were you and Curtly Ambrose similar bowlers?
I think similar in what we delivered. Curtly just did it so easy. He was so loose: just come up and hit the deck and he could really get bounce and seam. He was one of the bowlers I admired from among those I played against. Curtly had two or three gears where he could crank it up. He was always pretty relaxed but if you got under his skin or fired him up, all of a sudden he could bowl another 5 to 10kph quicker and then he was a real handful.

Probably a good example is our results of bowling to Michael Atherton. I got Athers out 19 times in Tests and Amby got him 17 times. So the fact that we were similar bowlers was unfortunate for Athers. Probably a style of bowling he did not enjoy the most.

Did it get too easy against Athers as it went on?
You'd never say it was too easy. There was only one time where I got him out where I felt it was probably a bit too easy. And that was his last Test. I wasn't bowling that quickly, it was gun-barrel straight as the batsmen say. And I was outside off stump, and he just kept playing and missing. So I thought I'd get one a bit straighter, he just nicked it to Warnie at first slip. And I thought, "it should not really be that easy." But I think probably Athers was a bit shocked. Definitely had a mental edge over him at that stage.

One of my childhood memories is Lara trying to defend against you off the back foot and a bail going up in the air. What were those battles like?
I enjoyed bowling against guys who were classed the best. That really tells you how good you are. I loved bowling to Sachin, Brian. That wicket you are mentioning there was in the 1999 World Cup, at Old Trafford. We were under the pump, we had to win every game to stay in the World Cup. Lot of people say it was an amazing delivery. I think it did just enough to beat Brian's bat and just clipped the top of off. Mark Waugh said it was gun-barrel straight, that Brian just played the wrong line, and it wasn't anything special.

How quickly you remembered that dismissal. Do you still remember most of your dismissals?
Some dismissals I remember. Back when I had 360-370 Test wickets, I could sit here and write them all down in order and picture how I got them out. I guess that was my motivation, and my goal was taking wickets. Bit long in the tooth now and the brain does not work as well as it used to, but I can still remember certain series, certain Tests and what have you.

Did it ever change for you under different captains? Or were you always the same?
No, the game plan was pretty similar as it went on. It was only the West Indies series in 1995 where our game plan was to bowl aggressively to their bowlers, to bowl lot of short-pitched stuff to intimidate them, to show them that we were here to win.

Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | August 30, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    563 Test wickets @ 21.64. That puts him in the category of all time greats. I think his style which was precise and metronomic rather than spectacular with great pace and amazing movement meant people tend to underate him slightly. Like a perfect Swiss watch or a Rolls Royce just doing the job. Thanks for the pleasure of watching you Glenn and good luck in your continuing work with your foundation.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 29, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    Kingman75- A mediium pacer puts in a clear bouncer as an effort ball- The batsman picks it very early and plays it on length. ...Hits a spot and takes a weird bounce. Can't blame the batsman. It's all hindsight. In hindsight Tendulkar should have stood up and played an on drive! But that's the "drawback" of picking the ball too early I guess. A lesser batsman may have waited. I recall Steve Waugh saying that Tendulkars' only "weakness" was that he picks the ball too early! Go figure. Perhaps like you say- It would be better to have stayed upright to a medium pacer like Mcgrath- But If the ball hadn't hit a spot Tendulkar may have been forced to hit a high risk stroke like a hook. Perhaps he didn't want to. What if the ball hit the back end of the spot and instead of keeping low shot of higher? Oh well...One of those things. It may be put down a a freak dismissal ,certainly not as a technical weakness.

  • POSTED BY Kingman75 on | August 29, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    @prashant1, wrong! You don't play deliveries like that in Adelaide on a wearing pitch. In fact, it is the worst way to play on a day 4 day 5 pitch. Deserved to be given out. Big error of judgment.

  • POSTED BY nachiketajoshi on | August 29, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    Very interesting, ended up buying your autobiography!

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 28, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    @Ragavendran Vijayshankar- That is correct. However, When looking at how Tendullkar fared against Mcgrath ,that decision would be held against him. Similarly , on the 1999/2000 Aus tour Tendulkar got some rough decisions at the SCG . I think when both Mcgrath and Tendulkar were in form it was pretty equal.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 28, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    Kingman 75 ....Actually it was a correct leave. Mcgrath - " It may be recalled that Tendulkar, anticipating a bouncer, had ducked into a ball that kept low, and was hit on the shoulder. Umpire Daryll Harper had no hesitation in giving the batsman out, lbw. I did feel for Tendulkar because I had meant to bowl a bouncer, but the ball had pitched on an odd spot and kept really low.

    Since Tendulkar is not the tallest guy around and because he was not offering a stroke, he was out in my opinion. Had he been standing up, the ball would have crashed into his pads and there would have been no controversy. But the world's greatest batsman had been hit on the shoulder and commentators and journalists debated on the decision for the rest of the tour. The incident became infamous as the shoulder-before-wicket dismissal, but Tendulkar never made a fuss about it and went on to score a century in the next Test."

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 28, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    In 2003 "I have never made a secret of the fact that I rate Tendulkar the best batsman in the business. As far as I am concerned he is technically the most sound player I have ever bowled to. Add to that the manner in which he plays, always trying to dominate the bowler. Among his contemporaries, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara and Inzamam-ul Haq are often compared to the little maestro. Each has his trademark, but Tendulkar combines all of their qualities to make him the best of the lot. Steve is all about determination and making the bowler earn his wicket. Inzamam possesses a good eye and his lazy elegance makes him one of the best players to watch. Lara has flamboyance, and when he gets in, he always scores big centuries." After the miserable injury ridden 2003-07 for Tendulakr and the best years for Lara , Mcgrath said Lara is slightly more dangerous- and that Ponting would break all batting records.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    @mysecretme: Re: the ball popped off Langer's shoulder to Ricky Ponting , it was Mark Waugh who was the bowler on that occasion, not McGrath. I think it was the 1st Test in 2001 in India where this dismissal took place.

  • POSTED BY Kingman75 on | August 28, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    Mysecretme, Sachin was plumb shoulder before wicket. It was not an unfortunate dismissal. Poor leave, no footwork, deserved what he got.

  • POSTED BY mysecretme on | August 28, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    @Harshthakor I think Sachin was troubled most by Cronje. Against McGrath, Sachin performed well whenever he really backed himself to do it. He had quite some unfortunate dismissals against McGrath- eg: hitting langer and the ball popping up to Ponting, Shoulder before wicket? The only batsman who got consistently troubled by McGrath seems to be Artherton. Everybody else had their days in the sun against him.

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | August 30, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    563 Test wickets @ 21.64. That puts him in the category of all time greats. I think his style which was precise and metronomic rather than spectacular with great pace and amazing movement meant people tend to underate him slightly. Like a perfect Swiss watch or a Rolls Royce just doing the job. Thanks for the pleasure of watching you Glenn and good luck in your continuing work with your foundation.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 29, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    Kingman75- A mediium pacer puts in a clear bouncer as an effort ball- The batsman picks it very early and plays it on length. ...Hits a spot and takes a weird bounce. Can't blame the batsman. It's all hindsight. In hindsight Tendulkar should have stood up and played an on drive! But that's the "drawback" of picking the ball too early I guess. A lesser batsman may have waited. I recall Steve Waugh saying that Tendulkars' only "weakness" was that he picks the ball too early! Go figure. Perhaps like you say- It would be better to have stayed upright to a medium pacer like Mcgrath- But If the ball hadn't hit a spot Tendulkar may have been forced to hit a high risk stroke like a hook. Perhaps he didn't want to. What if the ball hit the back end of the spot and instead of keeping low shot of higher? Oh well...One of those things. It may be put down a a freak dismissal ,certainly not as a technical weakness.

  • POSTED BY Kingman75 on | August 29, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    @prashant1, wrong! You don't play deliveries like that in Adelaide on a wearing pitch. In fact, it is the worst way to play on a day 4 day 5 pitch. Deserved to be given out. Big error of judgment.

  • POSTED BY nachiketajoshi on | August 29, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    Very interesting, ended up buying your autobiography!

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 28, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    @Ragavendran Vijayshankar- That is correct. However, When looking at how Tendullkar fared against Mcgrath ,that decision would be held against him. Similarly , on the 1999/2000 Aus tour Tendulkar got some rough decisions at the SCG . I think when both Mcgrath and Tendulkar were in form it was pretty equal.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 28, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    Kingman 75 ....Actually it was a correct leave. Mcgrath - " It may be recalled that Tendulkar, anticipating a bouncer, had ducked into a ball that kept low, and was hit on the shoulder. Umpire Daryll Harper had no hesitation in giving the batsman out, lbw. I did feel for Tendulkar because I had meant to bowl a bouncer, but the ball had pitched on an odd spot and kept really low.

    Since Tendulkar is not the tallest guy around and because he was not offering a stroke, he was out in my opinion. Had he been standing up, the ball would have crashed into his pads and there would have been no controversy. But the world's greatest batsman had been hit on the shoulder and commentators and journalists debated on the decision for the rest of the tour. The incident became infamous as the shoulder-before-wicket dismissal, but Tendulkar never made a fuss about it and went on to score a century in the next Test."

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | August 28, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    In 2003 "I have never made a secret of the fact that I rate Tendulkar the best batsman in the business. As far as I am concerned he is technically the most sound player I have ever bowled to. Add to that the manner in which he plays, always trying to dominate the bowler. Among his contemporaries, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara and Inzamam-ul Haq are often compared to the little maestro. Each has his trademark, but Tendulkar combines all of their qualities to make him the best of the lot. Steve is all about determination and making the bowler earn his wicket. Inzamam possesses a good eye and his lazy elegance makes him one of the best players to watch. Lara has flamboyance, and when he gets in, he always scores big centuries." After the miserable injury ridden 2003-07 for Tendulakr and the best years for Lara , Mcgrath said Lara is slightly more dangerous- and that Ponting would break all batting records.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    @mysecretme: Re: the ball popped off Langer's shoulder to Ricky Ponting , it was Mark Waugh who was the bowler on that occasion, not McGrath. I think it was the 1st Test in 2001 in India where this dismissal took place.

  • POSTED BY Kingman75 on | August 28, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    Mysecretme, Sachin was plumb shoulder before wicket. It was not an unfortunate dismissal. Poor leave, no footwork, deserved what he got.

  • POSTED BY mysecretme on | August 28, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    @Harshthakor I think Sachin was troubled most by Cronje. Against McGrath, Sachin performed well whenever he really backed himself to do it. He had quite some unfortunate dismissals against McGrath- eg: hitting langer and the ball popping up to Ponting, Shoulder before wicket? The only batsman who got consistently troubled by McGrath seems to be Artherton. Everybody else had their days in the sun against him.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | August 28, 2014, 2:29 GMT

    Harmony111; Try and read your post then look back at the argument you are making. You are doing everything you despise. This is an article about Glen Mcgrath pure and simple. His record is elite, why is there any need for supporters to try and put him down. Like the Warnes, Tendulkars, Dravids etc they are in the cricketing elite why the need for comparisons?

  • POSTED BY __PK on | August 27, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    NZ played him pretty well in 2001, just by refusing to play at anything that wasn't going to hit the stumps. He only took 5 wickets in 3 tests (albeit rain-shortened). Mind you, NZ never looked like winning a test that series and there were three draws which probably says something about the drawbacks of their strategy. I remember the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies when Aus slaughtered Sean Pollock by taking advantage of his predictable line and length. Then SA tried the same thing to McGrath in the finals and he ripped them apart.

  • POSTED BY Shams on | August 27, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    When asked to pick his toughest opponent in his 13-year-old career, McGrath picked Lara ahead of Tendulkar and said he was always driven to give his best when bowling against those two.

    "To me it was always about how you went against the guys who were classed the best in the world," McGrath said after announcing he would quit international cricket after the World Cup in April next. Dec 23, 2006.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | August 27, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    @Cricfan24, agree that the danger factor is greater for a set batsman against the pace and swing of Marshall, Lillee, Steyn, Wasim etc. It will be interesting to see how Steyn manages his career as he loses incremental pace, perhaps he will have to revert back to a McGrath style.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | August 27, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    BillyCC - Valid point,However, unless on totally dead pitches ( such as Mahela against Saf) - the likes of Marshall, Lillee, Akram, Waqar Steyn always posed a threat whatever score the batsman was on. Very rarely did you have say a Lara/Dujon or VVS/Dravid play all day without Mcgrath taking a wicket kind of scenario vs. the other raw pace bowlers.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | August 27, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Ameya Shinde - I will try one last time to explain . Using the Lara example - Lara has few great hundreds against Mcgrath and Mcgrath had enjoyed huge success against Lara. Ofcourse it would be great to get the best batsmen out early - the key is 'early" . Here again there are several true pace bowlers with superior strike rates. "Early" does not only mean in terms of runs , but in terms of time.If a top batsman spends half hour or so at the crease he is naturally facing not just Mcgrath but other bowlers as well. ..So,if the top batsmen got in against Mcgrath it usually used to hurt Aus as Lara,VVS, Vaughn etcs exploits have shown. By contrast even if the top batsmen got in against the great express pace bowlers -they could still be taken out later. As mentioned Lara had NO Test hundreds against any great pace bowler till some flat batting conditions in 2003. None against Donald, Wasim, Waqar, Bond (obviously none against Walsh etc)....So, simply food for thought.

  • POSTED BY Analytical_Sathya on | August 27, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    The only Indian bowler who comes close to him is Munaf Patel, unfortunately least understood, very much under utilized,but an elegant bowler & awesome ability to understand batsman's psyche and playing style and out think him.Gets into a great controlled,relentless accurate bowling whenever goes into a groove.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | August 27, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    @cricfan24, perhaps the reason why those innings were great were because they were scored against McGrath and the mighty Australians at the time (it was such a rare occasion and that was the context of that era). Ambrose and Walsh copped a few great innings in their time, so too did Wasim and Waqar. Steyn has copped the most great innings against him in recent times.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | August 27, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Another consideration is their record against their generation. In McGrath's era, only Allan Donald is considered at the top echelon of bowlers (Shaun Pollock probably not, Gillespie and Lee, I don't think so). Before everyone questions where Ambrose (1988-2000), Walsh (1984-2001), Wasim (1985-2002) and Waqar (1989-2003) are, their career spans are a clue. McGrath started much later (at least 4 years) and finished much later (at least 4 years).

  • POSTED BY _-Will-_ on | August 27, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    Anyone who watched McGrath bowl should, in theory anyway, be able to appreciate his skills. I hold him in very high regard, but of course, that is just my opinion.

    I also appreciate his excellent work ethic - that boring old concept to which India and some other teams seem to be allergic. Ever wonder why Australia & South Africa are where they are? Robust domestic systems, selection policies etc won't bear fruit without very hard work! This work ethic must be embedded in the culture because a few hardworking individuals cannot continually provide buoyancy for an entire team.

    It's interesting that a lot of my fellow Indian fans are critiquing McGrath, but nobody is able to compare him to any other Indian bowler! And I mean a serious comparison - free from flights of fancy and devoid of meaningless hypotheticals that require the complete rewriting of history. This in itself says much about the history and present state of Indian cricket. If something's wrong, just look the other way!!

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | August 27, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    Ameya Shinde - suggest you read , try to understand and comprehend my posts again. You seem to have taken off on an incomprehensible tangent to it.

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    @cricfan24 the point of pointing out those names was that the list is stupid.Consider Mike WHitney 7-27 against an inept batting lineup is there but McGrath's pair of ffive fors against equally bad Indian line up isnt there,or McGrath's five for at Bridgetown which shifted the power balance in world cricket isnt there.Dean Hedley's ^ for at MCG which was against a team dasleep at a wheel gets mentioned but stuart McGills 7-50 defending 250 next match doesnt.Lastly if a team has won 70% of matches which piegon played, not too many batsmen got any substantial scores against McGrath, and like batting ,bowling is too done in partnerships.Its incorrect to asses just on verbatim he doesnt get set batsmen out.I presume you would rather get batsman out in his 10s or 20s than on 80 or 100s everytime.The whole point and premise of your post is absurd

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | August 27, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    @dunger.bob

    Honestly, I think it is the other way round. Aussie fans, administrators and players - all of them tend to ridicule anything related to Indian cricket. Symonds mocked at Indian celebrations after WT2007 win, The entire Aussie team pushed Sharad Pawar off the dais after winning ICC-CT, 3-4 Aussie players conspired to ruin the career of an Indian player, another made big lies in his autobiography against SRT. WC 2011 win, IPL mocked too.

    As for the Aussie fans, I have lost count of the times absolutely silly, cry-baby like arguments have been made in the past. In most such cases, arrogance is palpable. There seems to be a push for "Aussie way being the Only way"This irks us all.

    Even otherwise, the point is being consistent in using a parameter. Asking Indian batsmen to score in Aus but then calling Dennis Lilee a great bowler when his Ind record is poor can't be appreciated.

    Still --- We all admire Aussie players. Profuse respect is a little harder to come.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | August 27, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    harshthakor

    I think everyone trouble Tendulkar from 2003-07 when he was at his worst. Tendulkar played just 2 full series against Mcgrath when both were playing well and not injured. One in Aus and one in India.( There was a one off test before and the 2004 series had Tendulkar dragged out of rehab for tennis elbow)...Tendulkar avg. 49 with 2 100s and 4 50s in 12 inn. Mcgrath got Tendulakr out 4 times. These inn. also featured freak dismissals ( caught of short leg shoulder when Tendulkar was cruising, Shoulder before wicket) and dubious decisions -caught bat/pad of Warne etc..Even here Mcgrath only once dismissed Tendulkar when he was past 50 . My point is not that Mcgrath is not an alltime great - just that once the better batsmen got in against Mcgrath he was not as potent as the raw pace bowlers who could trouble a batsman at any time.

  • POSTED BY djp9 on | August 27, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    McGrath was one of all-too-rare examples of a player learning a lot and playing so much better as he got older. When he was young he struggled for discipline, you could guarantee that after every good shot of the batsman, McGrath would respond with a bouncer. As the years when by, he was able to apply an iron discipline over his line and length and his reactions ... he never looked back!

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | August 27, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    @cricfan 24 and Ameya Shinde

    To confirm one aspect about Glen Mcgrath's performances is that he has captured 8 wickets in an innings twice taking 8-24 v.Pakistan at Perth and 8-38 against England at Lords in 1997.Wasim Akram or Curtly Ambrose or even Dennis Lille have not done that.It just proves the effect of consistency in the corridor region. In a peak period Mcgrath did not equal the strike rates of Marshall,Hadlee,Imran or Donald but we have to consider that he bowled many more overs,playing much more cricket. The ultimate question is whether is a Dale Steyn or a Glen Mcgrath a greater asset to a side.Arguably it maybe better to have a combination of both.

    In the final analysis Mcgrath was a different type of bowler than Lille,Wasim,Marshall etc. and never forget that he troubled Sachin Tendulkar more than anyone with hos consistency of length.

    I rate Hadlee marginally ahead as he bore the brunt of a much weaker attack.

  • POSTED BY mysecretme on | August 27, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Single biggest reason India does not have good fast bowlers. Every fast bowler who comes around says after a few games-- McGrath was not fast, but successful, so I will concentrate on line and length. We lost Srinath, Zaheer, Munaf,Ishant and are still in the process of killing good fast bowlers by asking them to concentrate on hitting the spot.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 27, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    I think McGrath's success came largely because he moved the ball exactly the right amount. He was accurate, bowled a great length and the ball did just enough late to take the edge of the bat. There are a lot of bowlers who get too much movement, so that the ball beats everything. McGrath's other out ball was the offcutter, so he was very difficult to leave.

    He wasn't the most spectacular bowler, not amazingly fast or getting extravagant movement, but you hardly ever saw him bowl a bad ball, let alone a bad spell. One of the all-time great bowlers.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | August 27, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    Ameya Shinde- absurd comment on your part. " Dean Headley,Simon Doull,Darren Gough ,Mike Whitney, Dominic Cork,"...would hardly figure in anyones alltime list. Mcgrath is an alltime great- the comparison should be with other all time greats. Marshall,Lillee, Wasim etc. Either you get my point - or you don't. The likes of Marshall and co. could get even the great batsmen out when set. Mcgrath was less likely to do so. Many more great innings have been played against Mcgrath than most other all time great bowlers. That should tell you something. Metronomic accuracy has its' advantages...and real pace ( 145+ks) has its own. For eg. Lara never got a Test hundred against any real pace bowler till 2003. (Then 4 in 2 years against Lee and Flintoff in benign batting conditions)...Against Mcgrath it was more or less equal with Lara. But Test batting against Donald,Akram,Wasim,Bond and the real pacers is a diff cuppa.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | August 27, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    What is striking about Glen Mcrath was that he was fast -medium and not genuinely quick. .In their era it was virtually a photo between Wasim,Curtly and Glen.Wasim was the magician,Ambrose represented accuracy at it's zenith and was the ultimate march-winner in 4th innings ,while Glen was the epitome of consistency.Arguably in no era after the war was any fast -medium paceman ahead of fastest bowlers .What was unique about Mcgrath is that he posessed every component for the perfect paceman be it pace,control,bounce,movement and control.He did not posess Shoaib Akhtar's lethal speed,Wasim Akram's magical variations or Curtly Ambrose's deadly bounce but in a total package could be more lethal.

    I still feel that at their best both Wasim and Curtly were more lethal and could turn the complexion of games more.No paceman ever was more lethal on bad tracks as Ambrose or won more games in his era.Mcgrath and Wasim rolled into one made the perfect pace bowler.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | August 27, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan In 2008 series in Aus, other than SRT(who scored nearly 500runs) most of the batsmen failed miserably bar laxman's innings in sydney match & sehwag in last 2 matches!!!

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | August 27, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    On a green top Glen Mcgrath would be the all-time champion with Sir Richard Hadlee who could supplement his deadly control with disconcerting bounce.However he lacked that crucial element of unpredictability posessed by Wasim Akram,Malcolm Marshall,Dennis Lillee ,Ray Lindwall or even Andy Roberts.In their peak periods all these stars were more lethal combining top pace with variations of swing and bounce .In single spells or at his best I rate Wasim inches ahead of Glen who could conquer the deadest of pitches with his magical reverse swing.Lillee's hostility or agression and Marshall's unique trajectory would make them marginally better choices than Mcgrath for the al-time xi.

    Neverthless I complement Glen for being so successful in an era which had the greatest of batsmen and conditions hardly conducive to pace.He would rank 4th in my alltime list behind.Marshall,Lillee and Hadlee.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | August 27, 2014, 2:54 GMT

    Pace bowling's ultimate metronome of consistency was Glen Mcgrath who resembled a passenger train rolling down a railway track.No paceman,bar Sir Richard Hadlee posessed as much control as Mcgrath who mastered his opponents weaknesses like a programmed machine.He did not posess Wasim Akram's lethal movement and reverse swing of Curtly Ambrose's, devilish disconcerting bounce or Shoaib Akhtar's lightning pace.However he blended every component for a pace bowler in correct proportion from swing,to accuracy to control, and pace.

    Statistically Mcgrath is arguably the best pace bowler of all with 563 scalps and an average of 21.63 .He surpases the greats like Denis Lillee and Malcolm Marshall in terms of longetivity of performance.

    One weakness of Mcgrath is that at times he could be predictable unlike Wasim Akram,Malcolm Marshall or Dennis Lillee who had a unique set of variation sin their repertoire and greater explosive ability.Mcgrath would rank just below Lillee and Marshall.

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    great example of positive thinking...glenn mcgrath

  • POSTED BY CricketNuffy on | August 27, 2014, 2:03 GMT

    With respect Dunger Bob, your accusation is true of all cricket tragics wherever they live and whichever team they support - and I would add that all Aussie supporters believe their players are the greatest of all time. Sometimes true, often not. But cricket is greater for that passion.

  • POSTED BY CricketNuffy on | August 27, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    .... and not to detract from Glenn's career, but I make the point that building pressure on opposition batsmen is assisted by having runs already on the board from your own innings. I think Glenn often had an advantage when compared to some of his contemporary bowlers, the aussie batting line up was stronger back then. Glenn was the right bowler for that team.

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | August 27, 2014, 0:39 GMT

    @Third-slip-Absolutely agree with you re. Lara v Mcgrath.Greatest batsman of his gen. v arguably greatest fast,fm bowler.Was lucky to catch live his '99 epic 153 n.o in front of 15 thousand screaming B'dos fans as a kid well past midnight here in India!

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | August 27, 2014, 0:22 GMT

    @Prabhakar- I think Indians should be grateful,relieved both Warne,Mcgrath retired when they did.Or a combination of Lee @ his peak with Warne,Mcgrath would've meant Ind faced similar fate to Eng albeit 4-0.Here @ least can be content with a close 1-2 L.

  • POSTED BY Bobby_Talyarkhan on | August 26, 2014, 23:45 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan - better to retire too early than too late (like some we could mention). And remember - India only created a "big headache" for Australia in 2003-4 because McGrath and Warne were NOT playing. And the same probably goes for 2008. Granted - Warne did not have a great record against India but he didn't need to - McGrath and Gillespie took care of things just fine.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | August 26, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    I have a theory. Please tell me if it's wrong. I think there is an element among the Asian fan's that seems to be insanely jealous of pretty much everything Australia has achieved over the years. It started with the Bradman/Sachin thing and since then I can hardly think of a single Aussie player of note who hasn't been given the treatment. They usually cop a dazzling array of carefully selected but spurious and irrelevant stats to 'prove' why the Asian counterpart is/was better. .. This element also seems to have the gift of time travel. They jump across era's and time lines as though they too are irrelevant. .. it's the domain of the immature and delusional imo.

  • POSTED BY karachidude23 on | August 26, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    Excellent article, love Mcgrath, he was "the tormentor" , i wonder sometimes what records would bowlers like Wasim ,Waqar and Marshal have had with there swing and pace if they were born in South Africa or Australia

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | August 26, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    McGrath is undoubtedly one of the best bowlers during his time, but he would have been respected and remembered more if he controlled his emotions, attitude and mouth... A classic sample - Sarwan Vs McGrath...

  • POSTED BY Third_slip on | August 26, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    An excellent interview/article. There's no doubt McGrath was a fantastic bowler as his accuracy, durability and stats confirm. For me though I've seen better bowlers and Marshall and Ambrose would definitely be among them. Both could do what McGrath could do at a quicker pace without sacrificing any accuracy. McGrath himself says in the article that pace and control would make for a very dangerous bowler. Furthermore as far as Lara goes of course he got him out a lot of times, we can count those, but how many times did Lara get the better of him in return? It must be said he often bowled to Lara at the fall of an early wicket with his tail up. It was afterall a very weak West indies team at the time (not McGrath's fault but true nonetheless!!!).That gave him a definite advantage that cannot be denied!!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    @cricfan24 yes that list includes luminaries Dean Headley,Simon Doull,Darren Gough ,Mike Whitney, Dominic Cork, to name a few,So you mean they were better bowlers than McGrath?And sure big Hundreds are scored against every bowlers, that a bowler will get you out on zero every time to be called great is simple stupid.Point is he won 70% of games he played in,He contributed to it directly by picking up wickets or keeping the end tight that wickets fell to the other end,S/rR of 50 at 21 runs per wicket is phenomenal for a bowler who bowled at 134 and didnt swing the ball.Yeah sure he didnt get as much 5 fors, but he averages 4.67 per five wicket haul , best among contemporaries

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | August 26, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    Mcgrath either got you early -or not. In ODIs the batsmen had to go for shots and couldn't keep blocking - so Mcgrath used his accuracy to great effect. In Tests , once the better batsmen got in ...Mcgrath was generally much less effective. Many huge innings have been played against Mcgrath , more than most other great bowlers. An indicator -in the wisden top 100 lists Mcgrath doesn't appear in the best bowling even once,...but there have been some 4 best innings played against him. ..So,the trick was to negotiate the initial stages against Mcgrath. Once in , Mcgrath didn't have the firepower to dislodge the best batsmen.

  • POSTED BY siddhartha87 on | August 26, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    McGrath is best pace bowler that I have seen. I heard Malcom Marshal was pretty good but never had the privilege to see him bowling. People say Wasim was better ,may be but no is a better match winner than McGrath.

  • POSTED BY cloudmess on | August 26, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    Wonderful interview. McGrath was neither the fastest bowler of his generation, nor did he swing the ball much, and yet he was still the best. It only makes me wish a few more England fast bowlers down the years could have emulated some of his methods: work it out for yourself, don't just let a bowling coach do all your thinking; keep your objectives clear; have a game-plan; be prepared to adapt your game to different pitches; work hard on your fitness and preparation; stay focused on the positives. It sounds so simple, but England bowlers usually find ways to ignore at least a couple of these objectives. Those who say that McGrath lacked humility miss the whole point of what humility is.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | August 26, 2014, 15:23 GMT

    @Prabhakar. I wouldn't be talking about Indian cricket as look at the current state of your team! Your team can't even last 3 days in a test that was effected by rain ha ha. Come back when you can actually win a SERIES in Australia , and stop all the excuses as your so called top team of greats couldn't win in OZ but ours won in India in 04. Just more and more sour grapes so get that chip off your shoulder!

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    @prabhakar you have your facts wrong Warney,Langer and McGrath retired in January ,last ashes test Sydney(2-5 Jan 2007) not december 2007 as you mentioned as if scared of Indian batsmen.When Warney and Mcgrath played together in 99 ,India didnt manage anything.The 2003-04 series in Australia featured assortment of Gillespie,Mcgill,bichel,williams,Bracken,with Gillespie and Williamms breaking down in Adelaide test.The return series in India proved too much for India,Warney got 14 in 3,McGrath managed 14 in 4 at 30 and 25 respectively and Aussies won that series.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    no doubt, mcgrath was a great bowler, but sledging? was it required for a bowler of his calibre? sledging ripped off the beauty of his aura. in that way ambrose is a better respected bowler and west indies team of early 80's a better respected team. may be it is australian style but using it as a tactic, reduced the beauty of the team and the game. with great power comes great responsibility. it was ugly cricket.

  • POSTED BY mrmonty on | August 26, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    McGrath ticked off all the boxes to be the greatest seam exponent of his era. But, probably never bothered to stop by the Humility Shop.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    The retirement timing of Mcgrath and Warny left a lot to be desired. They both retired in Dec 2007, at the peak of their fitness, after a 5-0 whitewash of England. Was it because their next big series was against India in the end of 2008. Remember, India with Viru Sehwag, Sachin, Rahul Dravid, VVS , became the biggest headache for the Aussies in the 2000s. They could have played on till the 2008 series against India. However, in that case there wouldn't have been the euphoria of going out on a high of a whitewash. As it was eventually proved India ran the Australians real close in 2008. In fact, if not for some substandard umpiring India was winning the series. And everyone in the line up scored heavily as was the case earlier. For someone who always claimed to relish a challenge, it was a big disappointment. Warny would have anyways fared poorly against India.

  • POSTED BY McWheels on | August 26, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    There can be no question about his record, or his ability to play the game. As fast bowlers go, quite peerless, with the possible exception of Syd Barnes. However, a more sweary or enduringly unpleasant demeanor it's difficult to imagine. It may have been the way that team played, but he had a committed and wholehearted part in it. Compare to Andre 'Gunter' Nel, a cartoon character, or even Merv Hughes who had the decency to make it funny some of the time.

  • POSTED BY YogifromNY on | August 26, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    I had the privilege of watching a lot of McGrath's and Warne's matches while growing up. Absolutely phenomenal bowler with a huge amount of spine and guts. As many have pointed out, not an out and out genius like Akram or Marshall, but still very talented. And that iron discipline and mental strength he displayed got him his wickets and took his team to victory so many times!

    Let's not debate if he was greater than or less than this bowler or that. Let's just celebrate an extraordinary fast bowler with that priceless Aussie attitude of 'never say die'.

    Salute and respects from an India team fan based in the US.

  • POSTED BY THEBEAST7 on | August 26, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    @ Vinod_Fab: Dude, no point in saying "IF" or "But"s. Glenn was an all time great. He won games for his country on his own. He was difficult to score against. Each and every game it's a battle between the batsman and the bowler. Some time the batsman win, Some times the bowler does. GM has taken KP, Sachin and the so called all time greats at one point. Respect the gentleman. Dont compare him with the past greats. He has 500 + test wickets to prove. Most greats like Lara, Sachin etc at some point has said the bowler they hated to bat against was Glenn.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    @Babaa76. Couldn't have agreed with you more.

    Lets just say that Mcgrath was a 'hardworking' great- not in the same class as the God gifted ones like Malcolm Marshall or a Wasim Akram. He made the most of his limited abilities. One ability that he had more than others was the chirp that he gave to batsmen!!!

  • POSTED BY Krooks on | August 26, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    Glenn Mcgrath Took the Fast Medium Bowling to Stratospheric heights, and the longevity that he showcased considering he was a fast bowler was phenomenal.

    Just like Ponting, I didn't like Glenn when he played against India, but as I grew older and followed more cricket, I started appreciating the nuances that McGrath brought to cricket specially around setting up a batsman up for the eventual wicket.

    Glenn we salute you.. Thanks for this interview :)

  • POSTED BY Baabaa76 on | August 26, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan Whether he had others bowlers and fielders around him or not, or if other greats (and we must remember, all the names you mention are truly greats of the game) had them or not. The simple fact is, yes he did. But what McGrath was able to do was make use of them exceptionally well. You are probably right, if he was in a team similar to what Dev, Akram or Hadlee had around them he probably wouldn't have lasted as long or had quite the same stats, but for this article, that is completely irrelevant. Rather than trying to pick the article apart and say, well he wasn't as good as so and so because of this reason or that, just take it for what it is, an article celebrating one of the greatest bowlers of the past 20 years.

  • POSTED BY Seamer_Singh on | August 26, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    My favorite bowler during my years of watching cricket growing up. IMO best seam bowler of modern times.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    Comments here only underscore how underrated McGrath is. He didn't have the charisma of all the other greats but he was effective everywhere, against every batsman and for a long time. He rarely failed to pick up a wicket in his first spell and he kept it tight. He knocked over the top order players and his record against the great batsmen is impeccable. Australia missed him more than Warne when he was absent. People describe him as consistent like that is a trait that all bowlers could have if they wanted. But consistency and control is a rarer skill than pace, bounce, swing, cut and turn. And it is arguably more valuable. McGrath is a certainty in the all time Australian XI and a strong contender for the mythical world XI

  • POSTED BY riverlime on | August 26, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Ask Glenn what happened with the Sarwan incident, and whether it should be taught by coaches to young players.

  • POSTED BY timeless_steel on | August 26, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    Outstanding interview of the great bowler!! Good work Abhishek!

    Back in 1999 as a kid, I could see the class which Glenn belonged. He was accurate in his line and length and more fast than he appeared. He used all tricks which he carried day in and out and as he highlighted in this article he could adjust quickly to alien conditions and pitches which is a serious trait of masters of the game. He truly deserved that legendary and celebrated sporting careerer.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | August 26, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    I'd have McGrath in my team because he could bowl absolutely anywhere. Australia, England, India, The Moon, Africa. It didn't seem to make much difference where he played, he was still the sort of bowler most batsmen hate. He was like a tailor except he'd work in reverse. He'd simply unpick a batsman's game stitch by stitch. I saw him do it to Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid and Sangakarra. .. all you can do is beat the best of your time and that's what he did, time and time again. They got him a few times as well but overall it was advantage McGrath. He was clever, tough and the original Mr. Reliable as well. A great bowler for Australia. A true 500+ wkt man. So, as they say in the classics, Ooh Aah, Glenn McGrath.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | August 26, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    @sandy_bangalore Are you sure about that? I remember SRT taking Mcgrath apart quite a few times in ODI & Tests....In 96 WC, he took him apart in Mumbai & also in one of the matches in 2001 ODI series when SRT trashed him in B'lore!!!

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | August 26, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    One of the few bowlers who enjoyed dominance over Tendulkar,barring the one innings that SRT played at Nairobi. A truly great bowler and who has even conquered Indian conditions(averages 22 with bags of wickets)

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    This is with respect to some of the comments here. What would have been Mcgrath's record if he was to play about 60 odd test matches in his career ( like Kapil Dev or Wasim Akram did) in India, without anyone to create pressure/support from the other end, with pitches where the ball doesn't bounce more than knee high, where temperatures often soar around the 40 degree mark and where coastal areas are humid- Chennai, whose batsmen didn't score 400 plus as regularly as with Mcgrath's side ( which automatically created scoreboard pressure right from the beginning) , with no great slip or athletic all round fielding unit to support- which Mcgrath had and the likes of Kapil and Wasim Akram didn't have? He may have retired after playing about 75 test matches is my guess. Plus remember, Kapil Dev was a brilliant all round fielder, apart from being a devastating batsman.

  • POSTED BY CricketNuffy on | August 26, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    Glenn enjoyed a great career (his stats speak for him) without necessarily being a great athlete. I admire his strength of character and determination to achieve what he did. Was some of his sledging over the top? Yes definitely so, sometimes embarrassingly. But he was an integral part of a wonderful australian team now past, and I look back fondly at that era when mcgrath and warne were bowling at either end and winning test matches.

  • POSTED BY enlightenedone on | August 26, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    @vinod_fab you have no idea what youre talking about.

  • POSTED BY Vinod_Fab on | August 26, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    @Mad_Hamish on (August 26, 2014, 7:50 GMT).. My point is not about the rest of batsman, it's about attacking batsman who takes the game on scruff of it's neck..!!.. And yeah he took 1st 5 wickets with only 20 on board(when he was top of form with new ball) but KP just took him out of the attack even when pidge was in prime..!!. Is SRT and Lara as consistent in attacking than Viv ? Consistent attacking batsman will just create a uncertainity in any bowler's mind.. FYI -- Sachin in his prime tore him apart and won many battles and as far as Lara is concerned,Lefties do have major problems and with his style of batting he is bound to get trouble with pidge's bowling..!!.. Nevertheless pidge is genius in his own rights but in my list he will not be in top 10..

  • POSTED BY Vinod_Fab on | August 26, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    @Ameya Shinde on (August 26, 2014, 7:37 GMT),, so you coming to say that pidge is better than lillee and kapil dev..??..That is not true at all..!!.. Batsman those days were naturally genius and still they fared very well..!!.. And my point reg KP tearing him apart that he loses his line when someone attacks instinctly..!!. Klusener did it..!!. KP did it..!!. Sachin did it for brief..!!. So if there have been Viv, or Greatbach then he wouldn't have been this much effective..!! And to top of that,lilee is role model for pidge so i don't think he is better than role model.. But nevertheless he choked majority of batsman if not all... Viv would have tored him apart that's for sure..!!

  • POSTED BY Vinod_Fab on | August 26, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    @Ameya Shinde on (August 26, 2014, 7:37 GMT),, so you coming to say that pidge is better than lillee and kapil dev..??..That is not true at all..!!.. Batsman those days were naturally genius and still they fared very well..!!. And my point reg KP tearing him apart that he loses his line when someone attacks instinctly..!!. Klusener did it..!!. KP did it..!!. Sachin did it for brief..!!. So if there have been Viv, or Greatbach then he wouldn't have been this much effective..!! And to top of that,lilee is role model for pidge so i don't think he is better than his role model.. But nevertheless he choked majority of batsman if not all... Viv would have tored him apart that's for sure..!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    Best fast bowler ever!

  • POSTED BY Mad_Hamish on | August 26, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    @Vinod_Fab McGrath's figures on Pietersen's debut match 18-5-53-5 and 17.1-2-29-4. So if Pietersen smacked him around massively the rest can't have done much. Not to mention that throughout McGrath's career there were a fair few pretty aggressive batsmen around like Lara, Tendulkar etc

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    @Vinod_Fab to disregard McGrath as saying he isnt better than Lillee or Kapil Dev is hilarious indeed.When KP hit McGrath the game was done and it was those runs which come before a team folds,and McGrath took 9 wickets in that game ripping apart England in one magical spell after tea taking 5 wkts defending just 190.McGrath has brilliant record everywhere, He accounted for Lara every time, simply put the number of wickets he took, allowed the groundsmen in Australia to prepare pretty flat dry wickets.And t all SL fans yes Vaas is the greatest fast bowler and Kulasekara is his greatest understudy,and Samaraweera is so great he averages 20 against Australia.

  • POSTED BY Cool_Jeeves on | August 26, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    Terrific player under pressure. But still, for a brief period, Lance Klusener overcame him in the World Cup semi final. Damien Fleming was even better under pressure and rescued Australia in that game. But McGrath was great day-in and day-out.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | August 26, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Amazing insight. Modesty is overrated for geniuses. Glad that he opens up on his thought process. Australian cricket owes him a lot, may be a lot more than the other genius Warnie.

  • POSTED BY Vinod_Fab on | August 26, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    In my opinion he is no where best to yesteryear's WI bowlers,hadlee,thompson,botham,imran,kapil,lillie but yes a modern great that too not with the great pace..!!.. He keeps very tight but if we have Viv Richards or any other attacking batsman then i am pretty sure that he pidge wouldn't have fared well..!!.. I remember KP(debut) where he just torn'd him apart and pidge was clueless..!!.. That's what an attacking batsman can do..!! I respect his legendary career and his impeccable line throughout his career..!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    @Prabhakar, yep there`s no doubt that McGrath had great support from his fellow bowlers, but to suggest that Walsh ?? and Akram (Imran, Qadir, Waqar, Saqlain, Kuneria) didn`t enjoy excellent support as well is a fair way from the truth.

    @SLisbest, yeah no doubt that Chaminda was an excellent bowler, if not quite in McGrath`s class, but Kulasekera?

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    Glenn Mcgrath was an inspirational bowler not only for the young cricketer but for his fans too. Its the way he bowled. The challenging length and torturing line that he used to bowl for long and long was certainly admirable. His bowling just revealed the secret of life that he who recognizes his actual potential and works hard beyond any limits on nurturing himself always gets good fruit. I am a Pakistani but a true cricket lover and Mcgrath Fan. I could even enjoy his bowling against Pakistan and him taking wickets against us just because it was all great brand of cricket that he always displayed!!!!!!!!!!!! Hats off to the Great Man

  • POSTED BY aman15 on | August 26, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan Always had the backing of strong score board pressure ?? What r u talking abt ?? Did he have the backing of strong score board pressure when australia folded for 190 in the 1st test of 2005 ashes and then proceeded to claim 5 top order englishmen with england having scored just 21 runs in one of the most extraordinary spells of fast bowling ?? I don't think so. mcgrath has got to be one of the most accurate bowlers of all time and rarely, if ever he let his team down. FYI Walsh started his west indies career in 84-85 when the windies were still the most dominant side and were to remain the same for nearly a decade. So don't know what kind of support r u talking for walsh. Also walsh was rarely accurate during early part of his career, this being one of the main reasons the ambrose was chosen to spearhead the attack with marshall when ambrose debuted despite walsh being more experienced customer and walsh was relegated to the spot of stock bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    Glenn McGrath Was Really A Great Legend And Has Installed The Spirit Of A Good Fast Bowler. He Is A Peak Model For The New Fast Bowlers. He Was Miser To The Batsmen To Score Runs Against Him. But I Don't Think Glenny Will Have Forgotten the Smashed Consecutive Five Fours From Pakistan All-Rounder Abdul Razzaq, Anyhow Gleeny Was Among The Ones Who Would Be Watched Keenly.

  • POSTED BY vigneshmurali on | August 26, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    confident bloke this mcgrath thorough professional and amazing bowler.Still think steyn is better he can do everything that mgrath does only at 10kph faster with more swing

    ALL HAIL STEYN

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | August 26, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Talk about being mentally tough. They dont come any tougher than Pidge. Only the true champions can have such confidence in their own ability. What a dream it must be to play the game without any self doubt.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Mcgrath was without any doubt a hardworking type of great bowler. He owes a lot to the tight Australian fielding unit too, who wouldn't give an extra run and build up pressure. He also owes a lot to the bowlers who were bowling from the other end- the warnes, the lees and gillespies, who were also high quality, not letting the pressure fritter off at the other end. Plus he always had the backing of strong score board pressure- his team at the time would have almost always put up 400 plus on the scoreboard creating immediate pressure on the opposition team. This is not to take away anything from his achievements. Mcgrath is a good example of what hardwork and sincere work ethics can achieve.Just imagine the same kind of a support to someone like a Walsh or a Wasim Akram- guys who were more naturally gifted-they may have ended up with over 1000 wickets!!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Fast Bowler with super smart brain. Which we don,t often see ! Truly a world class blower.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 26, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Brilliant interview. Thoroughly enjoyed it

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  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 26, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Brilliant interview. Thoroughly enjoyed it

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Fast Bowler with super smart brain. Which we don,t often see ! Truly a world class blower.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Mcgrath was without any doubt a hardworking type of great bowler. He owes a lot to the tight Australian fielding unit too, who wouldn't give an extra run and build up pressure. He also owes a lot to the bowlers who were bowling from the other end- the warnes, the lees and gillespies, who were also high quality, not letting the pressure fritter off at the other end. Plus he always had the backing of strong score board pressure- his team at the time would have almost always put up 400 plus on the scoreboard creating immediate pressure on the opposition team. This is not to take away anything from his achievements. Mcgrath is a good example of what hardwork and sincere work ethics can achieve.Just imagine the same kind of a support to someone like a Walsh or a Wasim Akram- guys who were more naturally gifted-they may have ended up with over 1000 wickets!!!

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | August 26, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Talk about being mentally tough. They dont come any tougher than Pidge. Only the true champions can have such confidence in their own ability. What a dream it must be to play the game without any self doubt.

  • POSTED BY vigneshmurali on | August 26, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    confident bloke this mcgrath thorough professional and amazing bowler.Still think steyn is better he can do everything that mgrath does only at 10kph faster with more swing

    ALL HAIL STEYN

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    Glenn McGrath Was Really A Great Legend And Has Installed The Spirit Of A Good Fast Bowler. He Is A Peak Model For The New Fast Bowlers. He Was Miser To The Batsmen To Score Runs Against Him. But I Don't Think Glenny Will Have Forgotten the Smashed Consecutive Five Fours From Pakistan All-Rounder Abdul Razzaq, Anyhow Gleeny Was Among The Ones Who Would Be Watched Keenly.

  • POSTED BY aman15 on | August 26, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan Always had the backing of strong score board pressure ?? What r u talking abt ?? Did he have the backing of strong score board pressure when australia folded for 190 in the 1st test of 2005 ashes and then proceeded to claim 5 top order englishmen with england having scored just 21 runs in one of the most extraordinary spells of fast bowling ?? I don't think so. mcgrath has got to be one of the most accurate bowlers of all time and rarely, if ever he let his team down. FYI Walsh started his west indies career in 84-85 when the windies were still the most dominant side and were to remain the same for nearly a decade. So don't know what kind of support r u talking for walsh. Also walsh was rarely accurate during early part of his career, this being one of the main reasons the ambrose was chosen to spearhead the attack with marshall when ambrose debuted despite walsh being more experienced customer and walsh was relegated to the spot of stock bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    Glenn Mcgrath was an inspirational bowler not only for the young cricketer but for his fans too. Its the way he bowled. The challenging length and torturing line that he used to bowl for long and long was certainly admirable. His bowling just revealed the secret of life that he who recognizes his actual potential and works hard beyond any limits on nurturing himself always gets good fruit. I am a Pakistani but a true cricket lover and Mcgrath Fan. I could even enjoy his bowling against Pakistan and him taking wickets against us just because it was all great brand of cricket that he always displayed!!!!!!!!!!!! Hats off to the Great Man

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    @Prabhakar, yep there`s no doubt that McGrath had great support from his fellow bowlers, but to suggest that Walsh ?? and Akram (Imran, Qadir, Waqar, Saqlain, Kuneria) didn`t enjoy excellent support as well is a fair way from the truth.

    @SLisbest, yeah no doubt that Chaminda was an excellent bowler, if not quite in McGrath`s class, but Kulasekera?

  • POSTED BY Vinod_Fab on | August 26, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    In my opinion he is no where best to yesteryear's WI bowlers,hadlee,thompson,botham,imran,kapil,lillie but yes a modern great that too not with the great pace..!!.. He keeps very tight but if we have Viv Richards or any other attacking batsman then i am pretty sure that he pidge wouldn't have fared well..!!.. I remember KP(debut) where he just torn'd him apart and pidge was clueless..!!.. That's what an attacking batsman can do..!! I respect his legendary career and his impeccable line throughout his career..!!