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glenn-mcgrath« Previous Entries Next Entries »
Good photo from 2004 of Glenn McGrath or, as his shirt says, McGarth
Glenn McGrath is clearly fighting fit once more. More pre-Ashes banter today from the big (and bulkier, apparently) fast bowler:
“I look back on last year’s Ashes with a lot of positive memories,” he said during the team’s camp in Coolum. “You learn the most from the times you get beaten or don’t play well. As a whole, the team learnt so much from that Ashes tour.
“We looked at what we needed to improve on and put that in place. Since then, I think we’re twice the team we were at the start of the last Ashes.”
The “positive memories” bit is clearly utter bullshit. There are none, for Australia, other than the performance of Shane Warne. Even that was too inevitable for it to be a positive, especially as it was in a losing cause.
What do you think? Are Australia a crumbling, ageing side or do they have one last series in them (after which they’ll all retire into cardigans and bungalows)?
John Buchanan, the tireless laptop-addict and innovator-in-chief of Australian cricket (he is also a coach) is sending his troops on a not-so-secret-but-he’s-trying-to-keep-it-close-to-his-chest camping trip to a remote region of Queensland. The Ashes might be several months away, but they’ve effectively already begun. Tomorrow’s third Test against Pakistan will provide yet more speculation as to England’s preparations. And meanwhile, Australia are to venture into the outback - avoiding those very poisonous spiders and snakes, we hope… - for team-building and other such pitiful phrases which masquerade as a jolly old holiday.
Officials are adamant that it will not be the kind of boot camp that has become the trend for football clubs, at which players have been pushed to their physical limits along the Kokoda Trail, in the case of Hawthorn, or Arizona, in the case of Collingwood.
While the leadership course is a departure from the usual routine of gathering for a cricket training camp at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane before the summer, Buchanan has a history of overseeing physical and spiritual team-building exercises during his coaching tenure.
No sign of Ant and Dec yet…
It wouldn’t be cricket if Glenn McGrath wasn’t mouthing off, and he’s already doing it for the Ashes, naming Strauss and Cook as his ‘batting bunnies’.
I don’t mind him doing it so much, it’s not really taken entirely seriously by anyone now, I would have thought. It has become a tradition. However, it is only the start of August. I wonder what else he is going to say between now and November 23?
I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy your lovin’ is all I think about
I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy it’s more than I dare to think about
I have been reduced to listening to BBC online for my Test match fix, and what’s astonished me about the broadcast is how hard the TMS team are finding it to keep their minds on the job. At the drop of a hat they are musing on the Ashes battles ahead. One darn fool idiot (it could be Foxy Fowler) told CMJ just now that McGrath doesn’t like bowling to left handers. That might be news to Brian Lara, for just one.
It’s noticable because I’ve been used to listen to South African and Asian as well as Australian broadcasters the last nine months, and while the Ashes have been mentioned, it isn’t as noticable as it is with the English media.
I noticed another story in the Australian media about how Australian cricketers are highlighting the danger of ‘burnout’, this time it is Brett Lee doing the talking. Interestingly, he is in India doing promotional work. He may be burnt out, but clearly not so much that international travel is beyond him.
Local authorities are nervous about Australia’s commitment to the Champions Trophy after suggestions from Adam Gilchrist that some Aussies may need to rest from the event which ends a week before the Ashes series begins.
England coach Duncan Fletcher has suggested that players such as Andrew Flintoff may also need to be given a break during the one-day series.
According to local reports Lee was less than convincing when asked if he would return for the tournament.
“I would love to play it because that’s the only trophy we haven’t won. But, then, I will play if I am fit enough to play at that time. Frankly, I love coming to the subcontinent,” Lee said.
“To us the Ashes is more important than anything else. We had the hold over it for 18 long years. We are very keen to win it back.”
To be fair to Brett, I’m sure that he IS very tired right now, and promoting watches is not the most difficult of tasks. However, the Champions Trophy is not now, it is in October. The Australian players will be coming into the tournament after a five month break.
I think there is a hidden agenda here. I think that the Australians are planning to tank the tournament so that they can come home and play a couple of domestic first class games to prepare for the Ashes.
That is a big claim to make, and one that Australian players will, I am sure, deny with shocked expressions if you were put it to them. However, given the demands of the fixtures list in the 2006/07 seasons, it is in fact the only sensible thing to do. The Australian team has four different contests on its plate next summer.
- The Champions Trophy
- The Ashes
- The domestic ODI triangular
- The World Cup
Now, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand which two of those four contests are going to be a high priority for the players. If the domestic ODI triangular was axed, the Ashes could be spread out into January, and the players from both England and Australia could have a decent preparation. But it isn’t so they won’t get that preparation, UNLESS they take a dive in the Champions Trophy.
Of course it is not acceptable to say that in public, so they are coming out with this nonsense about ‘burnout’.
That dillema is actually made explicit in this story about Glenn McGrath’s preparation for his comeback next season.
McGrath, 36, wants to begin his comeback in earnest in the Champions Trophy limited-overs tournament in India in October, then return home for a couple of Pura Cup matches for New South Wales.
But if Australia reaches at least the semi-final stage of the Champions Trophy - a tournament it has never won - he won’t feature in the Pura Cup.
The Blues have matches between October 27 and 30 at the Gabba and November 3 to 6 in Adelaide, with their next from November 24 to 27 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The first Ashes Test begins at the Gabba on November 23.
Selection chairman Andrew Hilditch said this week McGrath was “gearing himself up” to be ready for the tournament, but captain Ricky Ponting has advised him to bypass the Indian trip and prepare via a stint in English county cricket.This would enable him to deliver some long and repeated spells and regain match fitness. McGrath traditionally takes times to find his rhythm, and Australia cannot afford to ease him into the Ashes.
“Personally, I feel that it would be perfect for me to (play in the Champions Trophy) and have a couple of games in the Pura Cup,” McGrath said.
“That’s my plan. But if they would prefer me to look at county cricket, I would look at that.”
So you can see where the priority of the cricketers lies. And I do not blame them one bit. It is the administrators that force this on players with ridiculous ODI tournaments. The Champions Trophy has no credibility because it is forced into odd places in the international calendar by the likes of Australia’s triangulars, a tournament that lost its credibility a long time ago anyway.
And these considerations apply just as much to the English who by coming off a busy domestic season have a much more valid claim to cite burnout.
Excellent piece by Alex Brown in tomorrow’ Sydney Morning Herald, in which he talks about Jason Gillespie’s recall and the tantalising prospect of his return to taking the new ball with Glenn McGrath. Brown is insistent that this won’t (and shouldn’t?) happen. I’ve been murmuring about Australia’s fast-bowling problems for a few months now, and remain convinced that serious problems exist. Stuart Clark has done exceptionally well, and has improved rapidly - and that after his debut game in which he took nine wickets. He is, though, no sping chicken.
Which is why, as I keep saying, the performance of Mitchell Johnson will be so fascinating to watch. He’s young, raw, very fast and a left-armer. Ingredients, you might argue, that might very quickly earn him the new ball with Brett Lee if he’s successful against Bangladesh. If if if. He’s clearly being weened into Test cricket in preparations for the Ashes, while Gillespie’s recall is more of a “well, maybe your Pura Cup form might help dissipate your nightmares of the Ashes”. I’m less convinced that he can be a force again.
But any thoughts of McGrath and Gillespie returning to lead the attack in a throwback to a golden period of Australian cricket would seem unrealistic, however nice an image it may be for the romantics. Certainly, both are still capable of making a telling contribution to an Australian attack, however the new ball appears to have been passed on.
Brown also talks about McGrath’s requirement of a heavy workload, which is a not-often discussed aspect of his bowling. The other day, it was mentioned that he is considering a county stint. Assuming his wife regains her health, I would find it surprising if he didn’t play a month or six weeks of county cricket; how else is he going to get his bowling legs back, otherwise?
Very very interesting times ahead for Austalia’s bowlers.
I watched this video (14 mins) the other day of the West Indies against Australia, in the third Test at Bridgetown in 1999. For various reasons, that particular year was a total bloody washout for me, and I missed a lot of the cricket that went on. So it’s great to see a video of such a tense Test, and doubly great to see messyrs Ambrose and Walsh. However, what struck me most was…
- How roly-poly Shane Warne was back then
- How superb Austalia were under Steve Waugh
- Jason Gillespie used to bowl quickly
- Jason Gillespie swung it and moved it off the seam at will
- Glenn McGrath used to bowl quickly
- Glenn McGrath swung it and moved it off the seam at will
- Glenn McGrath was an angry, bitter, and quite remarkably aggressive competitor
- Australia must miss having Mark Waugh in the slips
Rightly or wrongly, Australia of 2005 are nothing compared to the 1999 model. The old model had bite, power and uncompromising aggression. The new model seems a bit lost; their warhorses and spearheads are, to be blunt, blunter than they once were. Watch the video and see if you’re as surprised as I am at their slick, machine-like qualities.
As a sidenote, what a knock by Lara!
As mentioned by Jag today, Glenn McGrath won’t play a Test match until England visit later in the year. And the SMH ponders whether this might be too much for a 37-year-old who, if selected, won’t have his Test legs on him. He has withdrawn from Australia’s tour of South Africa to look after his family (his wife is battling cancer again).
Glenn McGrath is likely to play in today’s ODI against South Africa in Sydney. The future of the Australian fast bowler in the short term though is very doubtful, as his wife is once again battling with cancer.
It seems likely that McGrath will be available to play in the Second final as well, which will be played at Sydney, but that he’s not able to travel for the immediate future.
I would hazard a guess that McGrath was told to play by his wife Jane, who would be hating the impact that her battle with cancer is having on her husband. I wish them both well. Even though this is a cricket blog, there are actually more important things in life. Not many, but this is one of them.
UPDATE- Ugh, me wrong. McGrath’s a late scratching. Good luck mate!
Dennis Lillee thinks that Brett Lee is now the main spearhead for the Australian attack.
While Lillee praised Warne for breaking his record of 85 wickets in a calendar year, he was just as excited about Lee’s performance.
“Brett’s steadily improved over many years,” Lillee said.
“He has learnt to bowl now a more consistent line and length. He uses the yorker and bouncer sparingly and it probably has more effect.
“He is pretty much a complete fast bowler.”
Asked whether Lee was now Australia’s pace spearhead, Lillee said: “Absolutely. I would dare say McGrath would certainly be happy to take the pressure off himself for a start. It doesn’t mean McGrath is any lesser (of a) bowler, (but) certainly Brett seems to have taken the mantle of leading the attack.”
Ahem. I would like to see a lot more consistency by Lee before I put too much trust in him. Especially against England.
Jagadish mused on Trescothick’s folly in inviting Pakistan to bat first and then watching them run up over 350, and went down memory lane for other invitations that did not work out too well. He invites readers to give their vote for the biggest blunder (I voted for Ganguly’s inviting Australia to bat in the 2003 World Cup final, which led to Australia scoring 359).
Great idea, that.. Jagadish limits his post to ODI’s so I’ll make the two obvious Test blunders. Both of them were Ashes disasters.
In 2002, Nasser Hussain decided to invite Australia to bat in the First Test at the Gabba. Hayden and Ponting racked up centuries and plundered the English to be 2 for 364 at stumps. What was the blunder? Hussain no doubt thought his bowlers would get more assistance from the pitch then he thought, and he wasn’t helped that Simon Jones broke down after seven overs.
In 2005, Ricky Ponting lost the services of Glenn McGrath, but still felt confident enough to invite England to bat at Edgbaston. Freed from the stern discipline of McGrath, the English were bowled out by stumps, but they had racked up 407 at more then five an over. England seized the initative in the Ashes series and never gave it back.
Any other blunders come to mind in Tests?
So. This Test has just about sparked into life at the eleventh hour - laughable to think there are two whole days left in it. Plenty of time, therefore, for the World XI to reach 355. They can pootle along at about 2/over and they’ll walk through to victory…
I really think World XI have their noses in front. The formula for victory is incredibly easy: one batsman needs to score a hundred. The rest can back him up with 40s and 50s. But, as we’ve been saying for the past decade, the threat of McGrath and Warne is omnipresent. My Cricinfo colleague, Dileep Premachandran, has done a preview for day 4. Chat away, if any of you can be bothered.
In a fight, who would win between Glenn McGrath and Steve Harmison? Both lanky, both stupidly tall - who would floor the other one first? You can vote on most pages somewhere near the top on the right-hand-side.
Yes, this kind of poll is about my level…
I still haven’t got anything remotely intelligible to say about England winning the Ashes. I doubt I will do, either, which won’t surprise any of you! But if I do, it’ll seep its’ way on here at some point…
So, in the meantime, where to now for Australia? On an Australian breakfast show this morning (this evening, I guess; their morning, anyway) they said “So! South Africa beat Australia and regain the Ashes.” (with obvious reference to Kevin Pietersen).
If Michael Vaughan had lost the Ashes, he would be a fairly lost man; after all the hype, who knows how the media would have responded? Australia’s PM, John Howard, once said he held the second most important job in his country - behind the captain of the Australian cricket team. And John Buchanan said of Ricky Ponting that he is an “occupier of a fairly significant position in Australian society.”
I’m not rubbing salt into open wounds, and neither will I when I do my review; God knows I’d be seething if I was on the losing side, again. So, I’m just interesting in getting the opinion of any Aussie readers on where Australia should go from here, and anyone else with an opinion for that matter.
Who in the team depressed you the most? Is Clarke captaincy material? Should Ponting resign from the captaincy, but retain his place in the side (Will: yes, he probably should)? Which other two young, fast bowlers can/will replace Gillespie and Kasper?
These are all things Australia will be discussing fervently in the coming weeks, so let’s get the ball rolling early.« Previous Entries Next Entries »