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A passage to India

The first time Glenn McGrath visited India, it was 1992 and things were a little different. Since then, the Australian pace bowler has made numerous visits to the country, and has seen it change over time.

McGrath, who was in Bengaluru last week as the ambassador for Hardys Wine, says that he has some great memories of the country.

“I love travelling and I’ve had some great memories, both with the Australian team and IPL. The first time I came here, being a country boy from New South Wales, I guess my tastes were a bit modern. The first time around, I found pepper hot, but now I enjoy the flavours and spices. It has been quite a journey – things have changed since then.”

Calling India his “second home”, he adds, “I love coming back here. I spend at least six weeks here and that’s getting more. My wife says she wants to move here one day! I definitely see myself spending more time here.”

“Normally when we come here, we are playing or on tour. We are at the hotel, go to the grounds to train, play and recover, and are off to the next venue. We don’t get time to have a look around. However, I’m doing more of that slowly. Last July, we spent around 10 days in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur; that was a nice little family trip. I want to do that every couple of years - bring the family out and visit different places.”

Which locations are on his wish list? “I’d like to go to the Kerala backwaters
and Kashmir.”

In comparison to Australia, how does he find India? “There are a couple of similarities but a lot of contrast. Aussies are very friendly and easy-going people, and play sports hard and tough; India is the same. People have a passion for cricket and sports. But in contrast, the climate, food and the sheer number of people is different. India is a multicultural country. All the teenagers in Australia should come and visit India – just to see how the world works; all the things they worry about would
be different.”

Now that he can handle more spices, what are the local cuisines he enjoys?
“Over 20 odd years, I’ve become a bit more tolerant to spicy food. I like my chicken tikka masala and that range of things, with a little bit of flavour.”


What is McGrath like on his day off? “I’m pretty relaxed at home. I like getting back to the country. A couple of years back I took up scuba diving. I live in the beach suburbs in Sydney so I can be in the water in 10 minutes.” He adds, “My wife is expecting her first child, so that’s going to be a little different.”

Do his children, James, 15 and Holly, 13, have his passion for sports? “My daughter is more creative. But we did take up skiing when I turned 40 and she loved that. She picked it up fast and it's the one thing we can do together. My son, however, loves cricket and is a fast bowler, although his batting needs a little work. He also likes rugby.”

“I enjoy spending time at home. I try to get up with the children and get them ready for school. In the evening, I like picking them up from the bus stop. I also try to take care of my garden, which is nearly a full-time occupation. We also have a boat so we love taking trips on the water, diving and fishing,” he sums up.

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