He who dares, wins. Triumphing in England is a lot about seizing opportunities, overcoming conditions, putting opposition under stress.
As a formidable Ashes campaigner, Glenn McGrath has been through it all. The serial scalp hunter comprehends a thing or two about creating the sort of pressure that alters scripts.
And he knows to made inroads when the opposition has been bruised physically and psychologically. Winning is a fine and a rather ruthless art.
Here for yet another coaching stint at the MRF Pace Foundation — this time 12 Australia Cricket Academy boys will be the beneficiaries of his wisdom — McGrath felt the Indian fortunes in England would hinge on how the Indian batsmen handle swing in what will be a gruelling five-Test series.
Despite getting on in years, warhorse James Anderson, still crafty and clever, will be a factor.
McGrath said, “Anderson is going to be a big player. It is about how the Indian batsmen face his swing in the English conditions. If they can get on top of Anderson, that is going to be vital.”
Among the mouth-watering duels in the series will be Anderson versus Virat Kohli; two-way movement against flair.
McGrath said, “Virat has scored everywhere other than England. He is a quality player, aggressive, has got all the shots. It will be tougher in England with the ball moving around. And the wily Anderson will be probing him.”
Stung by injuries
The Aussie legend conceded India’s batting was strong, but felt the side could be stung by injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Its pace depth will be tested.
McGrath said, “So it will be interesting to see their bowling line-up, to see who comes in and takes the load. With Bhuvi and Bumrah out, it creates a bit of a hole. The first Test is going to be important.”
Would spin be a factor in England? McGrath certainly thought so. “Shane Warne loved bowling there. He always said if it seamed, it would turn. In English conditions it does seam a bit and Warne has had success there. India is going to need its bowlers, its spinners firing if it has to win the series.”
McGrath felt Ishant Sharma’s experience could be handy for India. ‘He’s not as quick as he was once but knows to get wickets. Umesh Yadav has got some pace. India needs him for the whole series.”
The Indians have a chance. But then, they need to dish out a brand of cricket that’s uncompromising.