Glenn McGrath

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Glenn McGrath

Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1998
Wisden Australia Cricketer of the Year 1999
Allan Border Medal 2000
Wisden Australia Cricketer of the Year 2005/06
Glenn Donald McGrath (born 9 February 1970 in Dubbo, New South Wales) is one of the most highly regarded fast bowlers in cricketing history, and a leading contributor to Australia's domination of world cricket since the mid-1990s to 2006. He holds the world record for the highest number of Test wickets by a fast bowler. While McGrath may be a talented bowler, he struggles as a batsman, with an average of 7.51 runs an innings in Tests, and just 3.77 in ODIs.
McGrath grew up in Narromine, New South Wales, where his local captain thought so lowly of his bowling ability that he refused to give him a bowl. However, McGrath's potential was spotted by Doug Walters and he moved to Sydney, where he was soon selected for his state team in the 1992/93 season. McGrath capped his rapid rise in the next Australian summer with selection in the national side after playing only eight State matches. Not the quickest bowler, even at the start of his career, he instead relies on unerring accuracy, and the ability to make the ball seam a little off the pitch. He can also generate steep bounce using a high arm action and the advantage of a 198 cm (6'6") frame. In the latter years of his career he has begun to use swing bowling a lot more than in the past, helping to maintain his effectiveness even as his pace reduces somewhat. This effectiveness is illustrated by continuing success in the later parts of his career. In 2004, at the age of 34, McGrath took eight wickets for 24 runs against Pakistan in Perth, his best Test bowling figures and second-best ever by an Australian. Also notable is the longevity and resilience that he has shown, and in 2004 he became the first Australian fast bowler to play 100 Tests, and has become the most successful number 11 Test batsman in terms of runs. In the first innings of the ICC Super Series Test match in 2005, McGrath passed Courtney Walsh to become the greatest wicket taker among fast bowlers in Test history. Whilst fiery, confrontational, and on one or two rare occasions on the field ill-disciplined (e.g. in his 2003 encounter with Ramnaresh Sarwan in the West Indies), off the field he is generally reputed to be quiet and friendly, and rather a prankster in the cricketers dressing room (a trait publicly attested by many teammates). He is married with two children; his wife, Jane, is a former flight attendant. Jane has successfully fought a battle with breast cancer and a second one with a bone cancer, but was diagnosed with a relapse of cancer in February 2006 and will undergo further treatment to fight the disease. McGrath has used his profile to raise money for breast cancer charities. His most well-known hobby is hunting wild pigs, a pest animal in some parts of Australia. Clearly, McGrath despite the trappings of cricketing fame is still a 'country' boy at heart, harking back to his early days at Narromine where ironically he couldn't even get a bowl for his local team.

Editor: Nishanth Gopinathan.