Tall and lanky. Accurate line and immaculate length, with a fair amount of pace. A dose of verbal volleys. Bowling a nagging off-stump line, he has made accuracy his forte. Can there be a better way to describe Glenn McGrath? He does not rely on sheer pace like Brett Lee or Shoaib Akhtar, but by bowling a disciplined line and length he has made even the best of batsmen commit folly.
Glenn McGrath made his debut in 1993 against New Zealand at Perth. He came in as a replacement for Merv Hughes. He did not have an outstanding start to his career but the Australian selectors persisted with him and today he is on the verge of breaking into the 500 wickets club! It would not be an exaggeration to say that he is the best fast bowler of the present era! However, his success over the years has been defined by the way he plans the downfall of the opposition batsmen. Targeting the best batsmen in the opposition camp, he lets out a series of warnings and shatters their confidence even before the series starts. His strength lies in the way in which he can persistently bowl an unyielding line and length and obtain a fair amount of pace and bounce on even lifeless pitches. Add to that, he is a miser when giving away runs. He has taken 499 wickets in just 109 matches at an average of 21.23 and economy rate of 2.49 runs per over.
He has already promised that he his going to make the most of his, probably last Ashes tour. He has taken 68 wickets in 11 matches in England at an average of 18.27. Even at the age of 35 he is a force to reckon with. Andrew Strauss is already under pressure for not becoming McGrath’s 500th wicket. Earlier it was Mike Atherton, whom McGrath had made his bunny. However, considering the England cricket team’s victorious performances in the last season, the Australians will be expecting a tough fight. Besides, once a sitting duck when it comes to batting, McGrath has now honed his skills as a batsman! He has now a half –century against his name i.e. when he scored 61 runs against New Zealand in the 2004-2005 season. He along with Jason Gillespie has already sounded a warning for the Brits to take their batting seriously. In short, one can conclude that Glenn McGrath is a complete team-man.
A negative aspect that has come out during his cricketing career is his ill-temper, especially when the opposition is on the top. He does not back off from a verbal duel with the batsman, inviting the batsman into losing concentration. However, things have taken an ugly turn when the batsmen have given back as good as he gets. The incident involving West Indies batsman, Ramnaresh Sarwan was one of those that showed McGrath in bad light. But he has promised to change himself on that front.
Pace, aggression and discipline are the qualities that make a good fast bowler. Glenn McGrath, with his orthodox bowling action, has shown all these qualities that has made him such a successful bowler over the years. A complete team man, he is the captain’s first choice. With the Ashes tour coming up and given the fact that he relishes the English conditions, one can safely bet that a match winning performance by him is round the corner. Here’s wishing this magnificent fast bowler All the Best for the upcoming Ashes tour and for all the forthcoming matches. Let us wait for another spell of lethal bowling by this amazing talent that has made Australian cricket special!