Glenn Donald McGrath
February 09, 1970, Dubbo, New South Wales
Right hand Bat
Right arm Fast medium
Narromine Primary; Narromine High School
The young Glenn McGrath was described by Mike Whitney as "thin - but Ambrose-thin, not Bruce Reid-thin". Later Mike Atherton compared McGrath to Ambrose on a vaster scale.
Catapulted from the outback of New South Wales into Test cricket to replace Merv Hughes in 1993, McGrath became the greatest Australian fast bowler of his time. He went on to beat Courtney Walsh's 519 wickets to become the leading wicket-taker among fast bowlers, and his claim to the title of Australia's greatest fast man is contested only by Dennis Lillee. His obituary was prepared a few times when he needed to take breaks from the game, but he wrote his own farewells. He retired from Tests at the SCG, his home ground, after Australia whitewashed England 5-0 in the 2006-07 Ashes, and was adjudged the Player of the Tournament during Australia's successful World Cup campaign in 2007, his final ODI appearance.
McGrath's USP was an unremitting off-stump line and an immaculate length. He gained off-cut and bounce, specialised in the opposition's biggest wickets - especially Atherton's and Brian Lara's - and he was unafraid to back himself publicly in these key duels. He was a batting rabbit who applied himself intently, which eventually paid off when he made 61, then the third-highest score by a No. 11 in Tests, against New Zealand in 2004-05.
He rewrote the World Cup record books in 2003 with 7 for 15 against the outclassed Namibians, on his way to adding another winner's medal to a bulging collection. An ankle injury threatened to derail his quest for 500 Test wickets, but after briefly contemplating retirement he bounced back with yet another five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka in Darwin in July 2004. Three months later, in Nagpur, he became the first fast bowler to play 100 matches in the baggy green, and his greatness was further confirmed when he knocked down Pakistan in Perth with 8 for 24, the second-best figures by an Australian.
Adept at picking his moments, he chose the first day at Lord's in 2005 to reach 500, and his subsequent ankle and arm injuries were crucial to Australia losing that Ashes series. The following summer was also painfully disrupted with the recurrence of his wife Jane's cancer, which called for immediate treatment and McGrath's full attention. He pulled out of the VB Series finals as well as tours to South Africa and Bangladesh, but he made an emphatic comeback that culminated in him taking 26 wickets in the 2007 World Cup, then a tournament record.
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Debut/Last Matches of Glenn McGrath
List A Matches