'India is like a second home'

'India is like a second home'

Legendary cricketer

Nine years since he said goodbye to cricket, Australian fast bowler Glenn Donald McGrath says that he is “enjoying” his post-retirement phase. “I am enjoying spending time with family and friends,” he says.

“Alongside, my coaching sessions, brand commitments like Hardys Wines, and support to my foundations is keeping me busy,” adds McGrath, who is currently serving as the director of MRF Pace Foundation, Chennai. He is also the co-founder and president of the McGrath Foundation, a breast cancer support and education charity he founded with his deceased first wife, Jane.

According to McGrath, India’s culture is one of the reasons that his present wife Sara Leonardi wishes to move to the Indian countryside. “She loves India’s vibrant culture and wants us to move here,” he laughs. “In fact”, he continues, “I spend six to seven weeks in India every year”. 

Considered one of the greatest bowlers in cricketing history, McGrath holds the world record for the highest number of Test wickets by a fast bowler and is fourth on the all-time list, with the top three wicket takers Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, and Anil Kumble being spin bowlers.

“It’s the toughest job to be a fast bowler, but with the current crop of quality fast bowlers like Mitchell Stark, Dale Steyn, James Aderson, Ishant Sharma or Mohammed Shami bowling at a good pace, I feel fast bowling is in safe hands,” he says.

Recollecting his memorable moments on the pitch, he mentions, “As India is an amazing place to play cricket, I remember the 2004 Test match at Nagpur where Sachin (Tendulkar) became my 450th wicket. Even 2001 Test at Eden Garden where out of nowhere Rahul (Dravid) and VVS Laxman took the game away from us. That was an incredible inning.”

Giving examples of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, he feels that the young crop of cricketers are promising despite the retirement of many of the greats.

“Cricket has seen a lot of retirement in the past few years and has witnessed a lot of players just concentrating on one form of the game. But that doesn’t mean that the current lot of players can’t rise. To become a great player, you have to be around for 10 years or more and do exceptionally well,” he says.

“The younger lot will soon get to that stature,” adds the former player who was inducted into ICC Hall of fame in January 2013.

For the aspiring players, he advises, “They just need to get out there and back themselves. Always look to improve. Never be satisfied. Keep working. Strive for the best.”

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