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I fancy my chances against the Indian batsmen: McGrath

Glenn McGrath
Glenn McGrath

Glenn McGrath is the spearhead of the Australian team on their tour of India. The tall paceman has been the leading wicket-taker for Australia in their world record 15 Test wins. He has always given them a good start with quick wickets early in the match and on the rare occasions when he is unable to get wickets, he dries up the runs from his end, mounting the pressure on the batsmen all the time. His main asset is not even his express pace but rather his accuracy with the ball. He is the best exploiter of the corridor of uncertainty and on more occasions than not keeps the batsmen on a leash with his tight spells. CricInfo met McGrath at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai and he shared his views on his career:

Q: Are you looking for any personal goals on this Indian tour?

A: Not really personal goals, The team is more important than any individual. I have been here in India before and I did not do well in the Test match at Delhi. I would like to better that record but my main goal is to get victory for Australia in this series, because if we win here we will be creating history by winning after 30 years. So my main goal on this tour is to take as many wickets for Australia as I can.

Q: Who do you think is the most important player in the Indian team? Whose wicket do you think is most important?

A: All ten of them I'd say. (Laughs) No, I can't single out any particular player as most important. India has a few good players, Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly. But I fancy my chances against them. It's a challenge for me on the flat wickets to get them out early and win the Test for Australia.

Q: You said in an interview in Australia that you would get Tendulkar six times out of six on the Indian tour. How do you plan to do that?

A: (Laughs) Actually it was more of a joke. I did not mean it the way it sounds. In the heat of the moment, I might have said something like that but I never had any intention to make it sound like that. Though it would be nice if that did happen on this tour. He is a good player and I will be looking to get him early in the Tests.

Q: You have always been vocal at the crease when the batsmen go after you. What do you say to them?

A: No, I don't go after anyone. I never go after any batsman if he hits me for runs. It's really me having a go at myself. When I am not bowling accurately, I tend to talk out loud to myself and it looks like I am having a go at the batsman. It's only me having a go at myself, trying to pull myself together. I like to be accurate with my bowling and not let the batsmen dominate me. There is nothing more to that.

Q: Can you explain the situation that arose with Tendulkar in the series when India was on tour to Australia in 1999-2000?

A: Well, I don't know much about that. I did not go after him, it was he who came after me. He took me for some runs and I was a little disappointed with myself, when suddenly it happened. I could not get it why the little guy did that. It had nothing to do with me unlike what the TV replays show.

Q: When the West Indies toured Australia, you mentioned you would dismiss Brian Lara in every innings. You did precisely that. Do you enjoy a high success rate against left handers?

A: Well, that was a nice feeling. He is a good player and the West Indies team mainly revolves around him. He is the key player and can take the game away from you single handedly and he did defy us in the West Indies. I think I am successful against left handers. It's just that I like to take on a challenge and in any form. Be it a Tendulkar or Lara I like to take wickets for my team and help them to victory.

Q: There were some unpleasant events involving Lara in that series as well. Do you think it was a little too much?

A: See, when you are playing international cricket, the pressure is always there. Everyone wants to win and in the heat of the moment such events may happen. The players may react to different tactics differently. There is a high degree of competitiveness and that adds up to the pressure in the middle.

Q: How well equipped is this current Australian attack compared to the last tour in 1998?

A: I think this team has a much more balanced bowling attack than in 1998. I was injured then and could not be part of that tour. Kasprowicz was here as our main strike bowler and he did a good job here as well. Jason Gillespie is also here. He is fast, bouncy and generates a fair bit of pace. Miller and Warne are very good spinners, so I think we have a good attack on this tour.

Q: Is the absence of Brett Lee crucial to this tour?

A: Well, I think it would have been nice to have a lively character as Brett here in India. Even though he was out with an elbow injury, there were other guys who came in his place and did a good job for themselves and for the team. Brett is a very lively character. He is fast and can be consistently fast in his spells. I don't bowl that fast but I try to keep a good line in my bowling. I haven't seen anyone bowl that fast but then he's not here and we have to play with the bowlers that we have here.

Q: What is the real Glenn McGrath like, both on and off the field?

A: I am a very gentle fellow. On the field I am very focussed. I get emotional at times when I am not able to do a good job. I maintain the pressure on the batsmen and if they don't give me a wicket, then the other bowlers can get one. When I play for Australia, I am a very different person, I like to do well for the team and give my 100% on the field. Off the field I like to smile a bit, share a laugh with the guys. I like to stay indoors, I don't talk much but I like to enjoy myself more often.

Q: You made a remarkable prediction about your 300th Test wicket. It happened exactly as you had predicted. Any prediction for this particular tour?

A: (Laughs) Oh, nothing much like that. That was a moment I'd remember all my life. I said a few things before that match and it turned out the same way as I said. I think it was just plain luck and nothing much to it. I can't make any predictions about this tour, but I can only say I will be looking for wickets early on to give a good start to my team.

© CricInfo

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