If you could imagine the perfect fast-bowler then it would probably be a lot like Glenn McGrath. The Australian pretty much found success against whoever he faced and was feared by many batsmen across the globe. McGrath will go down as one of the greats, not for being the canniest fast bowler, nor the quickest but for the sheer menace of his deliveries. With McGrath approaching the crease, you know things would happen, just as they can with our sports betting lines.
His Start In Cricket
McGrath’s potential was first spotted in his local Narromine, NSW where he began playing cricket. He was quickly moved to Sydney and made his NSW debut back in the 1992-93 season. It took just eight first-class matches for McGrath to be picked for the Test team that summer. He was a key part of Australia’s 1995 Test series victory against the West Indies when he proved he could stand up to the best batsmen around.
By the year 2000, McGrath was playing in the English County Championship for Worcestershire where he quickly became a fan favorite. In just 14 first-class games, McGrath took 80 wickets with a record of 13.21. That includes 8-41 versus Northamptonshire as well as a 55 against Nottinghamshire, his first half century in first-class cricket.
His Formidable Record
In a career spanning over 14 years, McGrath amassed 563 test wickets to shore up his reputation. In ODIs, McGrath ended up with 381 wickets which is mighty impressive for a right-arm fast-medium. He was known during his career as being such a formidable opponent due to his consistently accurate line and length which was unwavering. McGrath did not let any batsman over the hook and though some bowlers have taken more wickets, none have done so at a lower average nor taken as many during the Cricket World Cup (71).
Then you consider the years he would have spent sharing the bowling duties with Shane Warne and you realize why Australia was so dominant. Batsmen had no time to rest, they were essentially broken down mentally by the wizardry of the two bowlers. Perhaps it is no surprise that when England did regain the Ashes in 2005, McGrath had missed two tests after rolling his ankle on the morning of the second Test and you wonder how the best sports odds would have changed for that series.
Part of his record cannot be seen in mere statistics and that is his desire for a comeback. There were tough spells he spent when playing was not possible. There was his ankle surgery back in 2003 then the sabbatical he took from 2006 to look after his wife.
When McGrath did return, he used the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy to announce it. He also regained his spot back in Australia’s Test team. Back at the Gabba, McGrath ended with a six-wicket haul in his first innings back as Australia regained the Ashes after just 15 days of play. In total, McGrath took a superb 21 wickets as he proved the bane of the English with an average of just 23.90, he even took a catch in what was his last test series.
His Panache For The Big Stage
You could rely on McGrath to deliver when it mattered and to get out the most stubborn of opponents. When he reached the 300 mark, it was Brian Lara’s wicket that McGrath claimed in the middle of a hat-trick. For the 500 mark, he saved that one for Day 1 of an Ashes Test at Lords in that 2005 series when he took out Marcus Trescothick. He even took 2/13 during the 1999 World Cup Final.
Even on his sign-off, he left the field in the grand manner. After avenging that 2-1 Ashes defeat, he helped inspire Australia to a 5-0 whitewash back on home turf. Then he left with a wicket from the very final ball he bowled. That was his Test career yet he left the World Cup a winner too with his third title to signal the end to his limited-overs career fittingly.
Once McGrath left international cricket, he played in the Indian Premier League for the Delhi DareDevils. Again, he made his mark with some of the most economical bowling that the competition has ever seen in his debut season. There was no second season as his contract was bought out.
Out of the sad death of his wife, Jane McGrath, from breast cancer is perhaps McGrath’s greatest legacy. Glenn McGrath remains Chairman for The McGrath Foundation which has made the Sydney Test, the Pink Test, in her honor. Day Three of the Pink Test is also known as Jane McGrath Day, a national celebration of the woman and a testament to Glenn McGrath’s all-conquering appeal as one of the greats. It is perhaps no surprise that he is a member of the ICC Hall of Fame and was given the respective honors at the seventh Bradman Awards a couple of years after his retirement.