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McGrath: an impressive end to an impeccable career

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2013 12:08 IST

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Australian paceman Glenn McGrath's impeccable cricket career ended on a glorious note with record wickets and wins for the team and self at the the game's highest stage of the World Cup.

Unlike some other players in the World Cup's farewell bandwagon who bowed out with their unrealised dreams, the 37-year-old finished his 14-year-long career with a 53-run win over Sri Lanka to clinch the unprecedented third straight World Cup title for his team.

The stalwart set up a record of claiming 26 wickets in a single World Cup to tally 71 in his four Cup performances and overtake former Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram's collection of 55 in his three World Cups.

McGrath, the veteran of 250 ODIs, has taken 381 wickets at an average of just over 22 runs each and is one of only five players to have ever reached 900 rating points, the mark of a true great.

The lanky pacer reached his highest rating of 903 points during the seven-match ODI series against South Africa in March 2002.

The only players ahead of him in the all-time list are fast bowlers Joel Garner of the West Indies, New Zealand's Richard Hadlee and South Africa's Shaun Pollock, along with Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.

McGrath had delayed his ODI retirement by three months to be a part of the World Cup in the Caribbean while announcing his Test retirement after reclaiming the Ashes from England earlier this year. More

McGrath, who returned to play the Ashes after an eight-month lay-off to attend on his wife suffering from cancer, never sat out of the team to rest and maintained his accuracy and variations in pace.

He is the highest wicket-taking fast bowler in Tests with 563 wickets.

The New South Wales bowler finished his career in fifth spot in the all-time LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers.

McGrath, who bowled only seven over against Sri Lanka in his farewell match, was cheered "ooh-ah, Glenn McGrath, ooh-ah Glenn McGrath" by the fans at the Kensington Oval, where he had picked his first five-wicket haul 12 years ago.

McGrath didn't allow his younger team mates to outshine him even in the last tournament of his career in which he was thrice adjudged Player of the Tournament.

Offering advice to the next generation of fast bowlers, McGrath said "My approach has always been quite simple. The more complicated you make things, the more things can go wrong.

"I always felt if you can bowl 99 balls out of 100, hitting the deck, then you'll take wickets," he said.

McGrath's tip for batting on number 11 was: "and as for batting, the No. 11 had some even more simple advice. Make sure the 10 batsmen in front of you score a lot of runs."

But McGrath's worth to the team was best known when he was not there in the team.

In 2005, he hurt his ankle by stepping on a ball in training and missed two of the five Ashes Tests against England. Australia lost both and the series 2-1 to surrender the Ashes after 18 years.

"There's no doubt we're going to miss him. He's been one of the all-time greats of the game," said captain Ricky Ponting.