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McGrath at the MRF Pace Foundation

Special Correspondent
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NEW MAN AT THE HELM:Taking over from Dennis Lillee as director, Glenn McGrath will rely heavily on chief coach M. Senthilnathan in the smooth running of the MRF Pace Foundation.— Photo: K. Pichumani
NEW MAN AT THE HELM:Taking over from Dennis Lillee as director, Glenn McGrath will rely heavily on chief coach M. Senthilnathan in the smooth running of the MRF Pace Foundation.— Photo: K. Pichumani

Glenn McGrath was pleased with his first day as the Director of Coaching at the MRF Pace Foundation here on Friday.

“The facilities here are excellent and the boys are promising,” said the Australian after a practice session under the afternoon sun.

With head coach M. Senthilnathan by his side, McGrath singled out Madhya Pradesh paceman Ishwar Pandey for praise.

“He looks good,” said McGrath of Pandey, who is the leading wicket-taker this Ranji Trophy season with 48 scalps at 21.06.

The 42-year-old McGrath, who will be here on a two-week stint, said: “The last time I was here, I was with Dennis (Lillee). He is the greatest fast bowling coach in the world and my idol. With him, I got a fair idea about the Pace Foundation the last time I was here. It is a very good package for the boys with excellent coaching staff, good wickets, the swimming pool and the gym. And Senthil (Senthilnathan) has been of immense help.”

Switching his attention to international cricket, McGrath said he was in favour of M.S. Dhoni’s continuation as India’s captain.

“Dhoni has a lot of experience and has the respect of the opposition. He’s a quality player. Every team goes passes a phase that India is going through now and I believe Dhoni has the ingredients to guide India through these times. I would stick with him as captain,” said McGrath.

The legendary pace ace felt contemporary pacemen were suffering because of a packed cricket calendar.

“There is no off-season now and subsequently no time for the body to recover and refresh. This is leading to injuries and the Australians too have casualities. Rotation could be an answer but this too has its pros and cons,” he said.

Looking at the upcoming four-Test India-Australia series, McGrath said: “It should be an exciting affair. Australia will miss Michael Hussey and to find someone for that slot would be one of the challenges.

“Skipper Michael Clarke plays spin particularly well and may have to bat higher up. This season, Australia got out of trouble several times because of Hussey and Clarke. Now Hussey is not there.”

He added: “I have been impressed with the Aussie pace attack but they will have to adapt to the Indian conditions: use the new ball well, then bowl wicket-to-wicket and gradually rely on reverse swing.”

Queried about the new rules for ODI cricket, McGrath replied: “The use of two new balls, and the two-bouncers-per-over rule favour the pacemen, and the field restrictions could go against the spinners. But one-day cricket needed something to rev it up and everyone will need to get used to these changes.”

McGrath said he felt that the emerging pacemen, exposed to Twenty20 cricket, should guard against “losing their Test match line.”

On the main quality needed for a young paceman to succeed, McGrath said: “Attitude is the most important thing. If you do well in first class cricket then you must have the ability to perform in international cricket.

“What makes the difference is the mind.”

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