Australia’s legendary cricketer Glenn McGrath has called for an all-pace attack to demolish India in the December 4 opening Test of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Brisbane.
McGrath’s recommendation goes against the grain of cricket, at least contemporary cricket, which has moved on from the no-spinners-in-our-team West Indies era. It also does not do any good for the mindset of his country’s spinners. On one hand, Cricket Australia is trying to improve their spin resources. On the other, their greats like McGrath don’t want spin to play a role at the start of an important series. What is disappointing is that McGrath is writing off the Indian batting line-up even before the first ball of the series is bowled. The lack of respect for India is evident in most of the pre-series reports.
Talking teams/batsmen down is something McGrath loved doing in his playing days especially when it came to players like Mike Atherton and Brian Lara who gave him that extra bit of satisfaction when they got out to him. But this is 2014. McGrath is a former player, and much wiser. He also heads the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai which means he knows something about coaching.
It’s a shame that Australia’s most successful fast bowler can have such a one-dimensional view of the game.
All the Australians who are talking about a possible 4-0 victory for their team over India must realise that the Border-Gavaskar Trophy rivalry is diluted by the fact that there are far too many home wins in both nations.
India’s Test victory in Australia came in early 2008 when the Test series ended 2-1 in favour of the hosts. In 2011-12, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men lost 0-4. Australia have a poorer recent overseas record. Their last Test victory in India was witnessed in 2004, the very year they won a Test series in India since 1969. The Australians India-bashers to note have lost their last seven Tests in India. This is abysmal and the media (or the team’s support staff as batting legend Sunil Gavaskar calls them) should bring up Australia’s foibles on the sub-continent more often in order to bring perspective in their writing.