Just came across this, at Middlesex’s website where McGrath last year spent a whole 30 days. Getting soft in his old age? He highlights 2 players us Middlesex fans have long spoken about, Ben Hutton and Ed Joyce. I think Joyce is a huge natural talent – quite similar in “class” to a young David Gower – but he’s still not qualified to play for England just yet (he’s Oirish)
Postcard from Glenn McGrath
THE Middlesex Cricket Club’s record book for the 2004 season notes my time with the Crusaders was short and sweet; just one month to be exact! However, I’ve marked it in my diary as a happy and fulfilling experience for a couple of reasons.
You see, apart from allowing me the chance to play First Class cricket in England, something I genuinely enjoy, my stint with the Crusaders also allowed me the opportunity to prove to Australia’s national selectors that I was ready for a recall to the international arena after overcoming a troublesome ankle injury.
The Middlesex officials, players and supporters appreciated the nature of my mission and offered me their total support. In return, I gave them my best. Admittedly my appearances out in the middle were limited, but I was determined to take wickets and to bowl as many overs as possible.
As for Middlesex, I am happy to be on record as saying I’m impressed by the nature – and spirit – of the club. It boasts talented young players and from what I observed each possesses a winning attitude towards the game.
Two team members who immediately spring to mind as players to watch are Crusaders captain Ben Hutton and the so-called “Irishman waiting to be an Englishman”, Ed Joyce.
The grandson of the great Sir Len Hutton, Ben, or Gibbo, has the pedigree to be a cricketer of above average ability. However, he strikes me as definitely being his own man. He’s a mature leader who knows how to get the best out of his players. As for his batting, well, it is top shelf.
Like Gibbo, Ed is a talented left hand batsman and once he qualifies to represent England I’m confident the English selectors will see to it that my Aussie team-mates and I have one or two arm wrestles with him out in the middle. It’s a challenge I look forward to!
Ed and Ben are but two of a talented bunch and it’s my view Middlesex will achieve great things if the players can continue to marry their collective ability with their positive mindset. I should credit coach John Emburey for his efforts to put the team on the right track. Indeed, their approach which has impressed me so much mirrors the example John sets at training and in the match day dressing room.
One of the great delights of my career has been playing at Lord’s, the home of cricket. Apart from being the scene of my Test career best of 8/38 during the 1997 Ashes series, I’ve long considered Lord’s as an almost sacred place. To have been privileged enough to call it my “home” ground, even just for a month, is very special. It was nice, too, to sit in the home dressing room for a change and enjoy the view.
I would like to take this opportunity to assure the good ladies of Lord’s who are responsible for the lunches and teas that I rate their efforts as the best ‘tucker’ (that’s Aussie for food) I’ve enjoyed at any cricket field in the world! I faced a definite danger of gaining an extra inch around my waist during my Middlesex stint!
Middlesex, my stay with you was all too brief, but I’ll long remember a month of good cricket, good people and good times. Thank you.
All my very best wishes for the future,
On tour with the Australian team