Glenn McGrath (L) and Ricky Ponting. (Getty Images)
Glenn McGrath (L) and Ricky Ponting. (Getty Images)

‘I did it once and it didn’t go down well,’ When Ricky Ponting asked Glenn McGrath to not bowl with the new ball

  • Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting narrated an incident where he once asked Glenn McGrath to come second change, something the former quick did not approve of.
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 05:08 PM IST

When you think of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, Glenn McGrath’s name is right up there. The former Australia fast bowler was one of the most accurate quicks ever, finishing his career with 563 Test wickets, the second most by a fast bowler in the format. McGrath was the leader of Australia’s fast bowling attack at their prime when the team dominated world cricket, winning 16 Test matches in a row under the captaincy of Steve Waugh between October 1999 and March 2001.

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Upon Waugh’s retirement, Ricky Ponting took over as Australia’s captaincy and carried forward the legacy built by Waugh. Under Ponting, Australia won the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, with McGrath at the forefront of the team’s dominance. McGrath would usually open the bowling for Australia and his deadly combination with Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie was monumental in Australia running their opposition ragged.

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However, Ponting narrated an incident where he once asked McGrath to come second change, something the former quick did not approve of. "I did it once... in the 2007 World Cup I reckon when we had Bracken and Tait operate with the new ball and it didn't go down that well. But as it turned out, the Pigeon ended up being the Man of the Series anyway. He was the Player of the Tournament while being the first change in that World Cup,” Ponting said on the Unplayable Podcast.

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"I don't think I ever had to do it in a Test match but anytime I had to tell him he wasn't bowling well or his spell was coming to an end, then I wouldn't get the best of reception.”

Ponting brought it up in reference to the fact that Australia are bringing Pat Cummins as first change in the India Test series. In the four Tests so far, captain Tim Paine has opted for Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to open the bowling with the new ball, while Cummins, the No. 1 Test bowler in the world, is brought on as first change. Irrespective, Cummins has responded well having taken 14 wickets in the first three Tests.

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