October 06, 1975, Bradford, Yorkshire
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Yorkshire Martyrs Collegiate School
A neat, upright batsman with a penchant for the drive, McGrath started his Yorkshire career in a blaze of glory at 19, in 1995. "The one bonus was the development of Anthony McGrath into a player of obvious class," intoned that year's Wisden, and 999 runs the following season won him a place on an England A tour of Pakistan when his captain was Nasser Hussain.
But then McGrath's career went into reverse and soon he was keeping his place in the side with a spot of swing bowling as well as some occasionally eye-catching batting. In 2002 he topped Yorkshire's Championship bowling averages (18 wickets at 27.66), but was only sixth in the batting (803 runs at 32.12, including a career-best 165 in the Roses match).
Then, in 2003, Darren Lehmann decided to have a year off from county cricket, and Yorkshire decided not to burden Michael Vaughan with the captaincy, recognizing that his England ambitions would take priority. To some surprise, McGrath was appointed. A few weeks later, the national selectors came calling too - an injury to Andrew Flintoff left them seeking another batsman who bowled a bit, and McGrath fitted the bill. He made an immediate impact as well, with consecutive half-centuries against Zimbabwe, and three wickets in his first six overs. Duncan Fletcher, England's coach, also took a look at him in one-day cricket, although his somewhat ponderous fielding did not help his cause.
The invited the best spell of McGrath's career. The summer of 2006 was particularly fruitful as he averaged 60.00 as well as hitting a one-day best 148 in late August. But in the autumn of 2006 he fell out with Yorkshire, turning down the captaincy and a three-year contract, and his time there was seemingly over. However, Darren Gough's arrival as captain brought a U-turn and he agreed a new deal. He took over as captain at the end of the 2008 season and signed a new three-year deal with the county.
McGrath, though, never gave the impression he took naturally to captaincy and the cares of the job perhaps contributed to a downturn in batting form in 2009, although perversely he made a stunning career-best 211 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Yorkshire avoided relegation but there was general recognition that change was needed when McGrath was succeeded by Andrew Gale in 2010.
No longer pre-occupied with leadership, he bounced back in 2010 to score 1,219 first-class runs, passing the thousand runs mark for the third time in his career and posting a number of match-winning innings. He scored heavily, too, in both the 40 and 20-over competitions, which made the frustrations suffered because of knee injuries and sciatica in the next two seasons especially frustrating, his perpetual struggle for form and increasingly rotund girth eventually forcing him into retirement ahead of the 2013 season.
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