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Glenn McGrath’s advice to Australia bowlers vs India, ‘Don’t give easy runs’

Glenn McGrath, who picked up 33 wickets in eight Tests in India, has given some tips to the Australian bowlers on how to combat the conditions in India ahead of the four-Test series starting on February 23

cricket Updated: Feb 08, 2017 12:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Glenn McGrath,Australia national cricket team,India vs Australia
Glenn McGrath played a vital part in Australia’s 2-1 series win over India in the 2004 series. (Getty Images)

Glenn McGrath, Australia’s most successful pacer especially in the sub-continent, has some tips for the Australian pace battery on how to take wickets on slow, spin-friendly Indian surfaces. Australia are set to tour India for the four-Test series starting from February 23 in Pune.

McGrath revealed his mantra that earned him 33 wickets in eight Tests in India with a best of 4/18 at Eden Gardens during the epic 2001 Test in Kolkata.

“People say I was not an over-attacking bowler, or a defensive bowler – to an extent that was probably right but it meant I could have really aggressive field placements (in Australia) and that’s how I looked to take wickets,” McGrath was quoted as saying by

Glenn McGrath had a wonderful record in Tests in India, picking up 33 wickets in eight Tests. ( AFP )

Mean mindset

When it came to bowling in the sub-continent, McGrath said the mindset has to be mean. “In the sub-continent, you don’t have that bounce, you don’t have that seam, you don’t have that carry. “Okay, how are we going to take wickets? The new ball will still carry through quite well, so you’re looking to take wickets caught in the slips, caught behind with the new ball. Then you go through a patch when the ball really does nothing — it’s not carrying through, it’s not reverse swinging, so then you really have to dot it up (stop the scoring),” McGrath said.

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“Give them no easy runs, bring in maybe a short mid-wicket, a short cover and just ring the field up. Work on the ball, the wicket’s going to be abrasive and after a while it will go reverse swing. As soon as that ball starts reverse swinging, it’s a little bit more in favour of the bowler and you can attack a bit more.

Long spells

McGrath, who was part of the 2004 Australian team that last won a Test series in India, stated that longetivity is the key while bowling in India.”Be prepared to bowl long spells, build pressure and look to take wickets that way. So that’s my mindset in the sub-continent,” he said.

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Australia have not been able to win a single Test since 2004 and their solitary win in a Test match in the subcontinent came in 2011 against Sri Lanka.

The legendary Aussie pacer puts it down to adapting to the conditions.

“Ninety nine times out of a hundred it’s still hitting the deck, hitting the top of off stump,” McGrath said of bowling in India. “A lot of people think that must be easy, but it’s a slightly different length on every wicket. There’s not going to be two wickets where it’s just the same length, so you have to adjust to the conditions and that’s where I felt I could adjust quite well,” said McGrath.

Mitchell Starc has the spark

Skipper Steven Smith will rely on his seamers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood with likely back-up from Jackson Bird and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh to do the damage early on. McGrath, however, felt Starc could trouble the Indian batsmen. “(Hazlewood is) tall, strong, and hits good areas,” McGrath said.

“I think sometimes he’s working on swing rather than bounce and getting that carry through. Once he really settles down and gets to know his game back to front, I think he’ll be really good,” he added.

First Published: Feb 08, 2017 12:54 IST