Cricket

Australian sweep a possibility, says McGrath

Glenn McGrath, seen with M. Senthilnathan and Basil Thampi, is back at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai.

Glenn McGrath, seen with M. Senthilnathan and Basil Thampi, is back at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai.  

‘Smith hits the ball into unconventional areas; his ways at the crease are very effective’

Glenn McGrath sees a potential 5-0 sweep for Australia in the ongoing Ashes series following its remarkable come-from-behind victory over England in the first Test at Edgbaston.

The Aussie pace bowling legend is back here at the MRF Pace Foundation where he will soon be joined by the emerging players of the Australian Academy team.

He said “5-0 is a possibility. It will not be easy for England who are without the injured James Anderson, such a big factor in the English conditions with the Duke ball.”

And then he dwelt on Steve Smith whose battling twin hundreds in the first Test buried England. “The English crowd was after him but he showed enormous mental strength.”

‘Technique is for the purists’

Talking about Smith’s methods, McGrath said, “Technique is for the purists. Smith’s ways at the crease are very effective.”

McGrath added, “Smith moves across and you think you can get him leg-before but he gets the better of you. He hits the ball into unconventional areas. You bowl outside off and he can hit you behind square on the leg-side. He uses the pace on the ball.”

The Aussie pace predator said, “Smith is not like Mark Waugh or Damien Martyn who were natural, fluent strokemakers. To me he is somewhere between Steve and Mark Waugh.”

Still on Smith, McGrath said, “Smith is not ruffled by the dot balls. Smith and Cheteshwar Pujara are two present-day batsmen who have loads of patience.”

Smith and Kohli the best

McGrath said, “Smith averages close to 63 after 65 Tests. If he maintains this average after 100 Tests, he will be among the greatest batsmen to have played the game. Right now, Smith and Virat Kohli are the two best batsmen in the world.”

McGrath was excited with the comeback of the pacey James Pattinson and said, “He is the enforcer in this Australian attack. He’s got the pace, skill and presence.”

He called his former team-mate and now Aussie coach Justin Langer a tough bloke and said, “He emphasises discipline and commitment, has produced results with whichever team he has coached.”

The pace ace sympathised with New Zealand’s debatable defeat in the World Cup final and said, “We should have had another Super Over or a Bowl Out. I think the boundaries countback rule was framed by a batsman!”

Asked about Rohit Sharma’s lack of consistency in Tests, McGrath replied, “He has the ability. I am surprised why he has not been able to seal his Test place so far. He has the technique and the strokes.”

McGrath called Dale Steyn, who recently retired from Tests, “One of the greatest fast bowlers of all time with an outstanding strike-rate.”

On Mohammad Amir leaving Test cricket at 27 to play in the shorter formats, McGrath said, “That’s a young age to leave Tests. I still hope there enough people who regard Test cricket as the primary form of the game.”

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 6:44:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/australian-sweep-a-possibility-says-mcgrath/article28871713.ece

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