Former Australian pace ace Craig McDermott is at the MRF Pace Foundation with a bunch of promising cricketers from the Centre of Excellence down under. The idea is make the young players more rounded in different conditions.

The 48-year-old McDermott said here on Sunday that apart from getting a taste of the sub-continental conditions, the cricketers will receive guidance from pace legend Glenn McGrath at the Foundation.

“Pace bowling is not about speed alone. If you bowl between 135 to 140 kmph and move the ball, you can be a handful. It’s about control. Some of the young guys here could get a chance if any of the frontline pacemen get injured. There is talent in the group,” said McDermott.

The 20-year-old Gurinder Sandhu, who has taken 14 wickets in just two first class matches for New South Wales, said, “It is exciting to be in India. I have climbed the rungs pretty fast, played for Australia in the under-19 World Cup. Practising in the conditions here will add a new dimension to our bowling.”

McDermott said, “It’s about getting used to bowling different lengths. Good bowlers adapt. McGrath was known to have bowled back-of-a-length most of the time but then he has got so many batsmen out leg-before which indicates he altered his length.”

Josh Hazelwood, who has represented Australia in the shorter format said, “The idea is to stay fit, stay focussed, put results on the board and put pressure on the guys in the team.”

Apart from pacemen Sandhu, Hazelwood, Joel Paris and Matt Fotia, batsmen Kurtis Patterson and Peter Handscomb will also be a part of the camp that will continue till June 26.

On stressing player behaviour to the youngsters, McDermott said, “I am very aware of the off-field behaviour too and in many ways belong to the old school.

“This reflects even in the clothes the young cricketers wear for different occasions.”

McDermott, who was Australia’s bowling coach when the side trounced India 4-0 down under in 2011-12, said, “We bowled a fuller length and drew the Indian batsmen forward by focussing on six stumps.

“When Rahul Dravid was bowled several times, the plan was to bring the ball back from the fourth stump.”

In India, attacking the stumps more and swinging the ball was the key, he felt.

Sandhu who has his roots in Punjab – he has visited India on six occasions before – plans to take his mates around the city and explore the place culturally. In several respects, returning to India is a kind of homecoming for him.

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