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Lara warns McGrath

Brian Lara offered Glenn McGrath some friendly advice on Tuesday ? think twice about playing in the 2007 World Cup.
PTI | By Agence France-Presse, Brisbane
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2005 06:49 PM IST

West Indian cricketing superstar Brian Lara offered Australia's premier pace bowler Glenn McGrath some friendly advice on Tuesday — think twice about playing in the 2007 World Cup.

Lara, in Brisbane with the West Indian team as they prepare to take on Pakistan in their second tri-series limited overs match on Wednesday, said McGrath was a champion bowler but his age -- he will be 35 next month -- could count against him.

"He'll be an ageing fast bowler coming in to bowl on really nice batting tracks in the Caribbean," Lara said.

Lara said Australia's most successful one-day bowler might damage his reputation and frugal economy rate if he tried to help the world champions defend their Cup crown on flat wickets in the Caribbean.

But the West Indian captain agreed it wasn't his role to tell McGrath what he should do.

"That's for him and Australia to decide really," he said.

"He's a great servant of Australian cricket and he's not just there due to his past performances.

"He's still an asset to Australian cricket."

Lara also agreed that McGrath's style lent itself to longevity, likening him to former West Indian team-mates Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh and former South Africa skipper Shaun Pollock.

"He's not someone who thrives on energy or the fact he needs to get the ball up to the 80s and 90s (miles per hour), he's more about consistency," he said.

"He's going to hit the seam and get the ball to move around and it doesn't matter if he bowls in the 70s or 80s (miles per hour) you've got to be a thinking batsman to keep him out.

"Someone like that is always going to go on."

McGrath has said he wants to be a part of a third straight World Cup-winning campaign for Australia after returning from a lingering ankle problem in May last year.

He also said his temporary respite had left him refreshed and would ultimately lengthen his career in the top-flight.

While some pundits felt he had slipped from his lofty heights before surgery in late 2003, Lara said he was not surprised McGrath's staggering burst of form in the past six months.

Since returning, the Australian has taken 47 wickets at 18.47 in 10 Tests to have 477 overall at 21.40.

He has also passed legspinner Shane Warne as Australia's leading one-day wicket-taker with 292 scalps.

Lara's team will meet Australia for a second time in the triangular series at Brisbane's Gabba ground on Friday after losing their opening encounter by 116 runs.

For Australia, opener Matthew Hayden, who's form this season has been indifferent, is due to return from a two-game rest.

Both Hayden and allrounder Andrew Symonds enter the clash desperate for runs.

Symonds has made four ducks from his last five international one-day innings while Hayden has failed to make an international century since June against Sri Lanka in Cairns, in Australia's far north-east.

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