Heroes of the World Cup: Glenn McGrath

Source :SIFY
Last Updated: Tue, Feb 10th, 2015, 03:11:31hrs
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Heroes of the World Cup: Glenn McGrath
For all his efforts in the World Cup, somehow one does not seem to instantly associate Glenn McGrath with the World Cup. When you think of Australians, you think of Warne's magic in the semifinals of '96 and '99, you think of Steve Waugh's 120*, you think of Ponting and Gilchrist's punishing innings in '03 and '07, respectively??? And yet, Glenn Donald McGrath is probably their most consistent, valuable player through the four World Cups he has played.

His record of 71 wickets in 39 games stands as the most wickets in World Cup competition (Muttiah Muralitharan is next best with 68 off 40). That record is unlikely to be broken in 2015 - LasithMalinga has the higest wickets among current players, and he'll need to pick up 41 wickets to break the record! McGrath also has the best average (18.19) and one of the best economy rates (3.96). Only Muralitharan (3.88) and Shaun Pollock (3.60) are above him from the modern era, one in which scoring rates are skyrocketing faster than commentator decibel levels. Oh, and lest we forget - he also has the second best strike rate, marginally behind our own Zaheer Khan.

His debut in 1996 was wholly unremarkable, but it was three years later that he found his mojo - in the meantime he'd become one of the best opening bowlers in the world as well. He started off rather unremarkably (as did his team) before coming into his own against the West Indies - a magnificent 5/14, that reduced them to 110 all out. A spell of clinical perfection - him clean bowling Brian Lara playing a defensive shot must have given him particular satisfaction. He then took 3/34 in a win against India, and 2/13 in the final against Pakistan.

In 2003, he started off useful and economical before reaching the zenith of World Cup bowling figures with a staggering 7/15 against a hapless Namibia.

He followed that up with 3/29 against neighbours New Zealand and later 3/52 in the final (which of course, is remembered for the Ricky Ponting assault!). Throughout, though ??? he kept picking up wickets at the top of the order (a key feature of his bowling through the series being dismissing #5 and above) and was economical. He took the c&b that silenced a nation - Tendulkar in the final.

In 2007, McGrath was no less effective. 3/14 against Scotland to get warmed up, before 3/31 against WI, 3/16 against Bangladesh, 3/17 against Ireland, 2/48 against SL, 2/25 against NZ, 3/18 against SA - staggering consistency. He was deservedly, the player of the series - despite not picking up anything over 3 wickets in a game!

You'd be hard pressed to find a bowler who could land the ball more consistently than 'Pigeon', as he was called ??? a true legend of the game and World Cup cricket.

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