'My Test career was almost over before it started': Brett Lee recalls how Glenn McGrath pranked him ahead of Test debut
Brett Lee recalled a prank by Glenn McGrath ahead of his Test debut that nearly ended his career.
Former Australian pacers Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee were vital cogs of the Australian bowling line up in the early 2000s up till 2007, the last time they played together. While Lee was famous for his toe crushing yorkers and fiery bouncers, McGrath was a disciplinarian, someone who could bowl at the same area day in and day out and still get the world's best batters out. The two legendary pacers were part of the invincible Australian team under Ricky Ponting that ruled world cricket for many years. McGrath and Lee together combined to take more than 1600 wickets in their international career and were part of one of the most successful fast-bowling pairs of all time.
McGrath took 563 wickets in Test matches, the second-most ever by a pace bowler. In ODIs, he scalped 381 wickets at a miserly economy of just 3.88 runs, with a best bowling figure of 7/15. But while McGrath was always a fierce fast bowler on the field, off it, there was another layer to his personality which Lee has shed light on. Lee reminisced his memories with McGrath. Calling McGrath, the best fast bowler ever, Lee walked down memory lane and spoke in detail about the version not many know of.
"During the boxing day Test in 1999, I was sitting in between McGrath and Gilchrist. Gilly was eyeballing me and telling me to go out there and enjoy and while I was listening as a young kid with my eye line off the ground, McGrath was next to me tying my shoelaces together so when I hopped up, I fell over. My Test career was almost over before it started," Lee said in his YouTube channel.
Lee talked about McGrath's struggles in Sydney before eventually making to the Australia team and shared that his 'X-factor' was the six foot six inch tall frame along with his impressive ability to put the ball on an accurate line and length. Lee Lee said "McGrath could land the ball on a 20 cent piece day in day out.
Referring to McGrath as his mentor, Lee further stated that McGrath helped him with his action and maintaining line and length during his bowling spells. He remembered that during team meetings, the two of them discussed how to bowl to batting legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. Recalling the discussions, Lee shared "McGrath would always say good bouncer, good yorker, top of off and that's pretty much what he did his whole career and was so successful."
Talking about the jovial side of McGrath, Lee said: "The real McGrath is a very laid back character, a country boy and a class clown unlike his aggressive and competitive attitude on the field. McGrath is the person that would always be playing a practical joke on someone."
Lee then concluded the video by appreciating McGrath's philanthropic activities. "Off the field, what he's done with the McGrath Foundation has been outstanding, raising money for the breast care nurses. He is a terrific all round guy and everyone loves him, he's an absolute superstar and a ripping bloke," he said.