Australia pace legend Glenn McGrath was at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here yesterday to meet the teams during their pre-Test net sessions. All the players sported pink caps as part of a charity event to aid the McGrath Foundation which raises money to place Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia.
The SCG will once again turn pink on Day Three of the Test (January 5), the stumps and bat handles will be pink and spectators will be encouraged to wear pink bandanas to help raise money for the charity. The SCG Trust has renamed Day Three of the annual Test as the 'Jane McGrath Day', in honour of McGrath's late wife.
The New South Welshman spoke to MiD DAY yesterday.
Sir Donald Bradman scored his 100th first-class century at the SCG against India in 1947-48. We are here now for the 100th Test at SCG and Sachin Tendulkar could get his 100th international century -- a ground which he rates his favourite outside India. Is it too good to be true?
Gee, I didn't even know about that. It's a beautiful thing. How these things work. It's magical. I love Sachin, he's a special man, a special talent but I would rather hope that it (the 100th ton) doesn't happen at the SCG. I want him to score that 100th hundred, but I am hoping it's after this tour. But it's definitely going to be a special occasion, and a celebration of cricket.
Umesh Yadav is a huge admirer of yours. Before leaving for Australia, he said that he wanted to meet you and learn a thing or two about fast bowling. What do you make of the kid?
He was quite impressive (at the MCG). He bowls at good pace. He seems to have a great attitude and most importantly, he's a wicket-taking bowler. Perhaps, the direction and control are not there quite yet, but it's not far away. He's got that raw talent, good pace and can generate good bounce. He's got a lot going for him at the moment. He definitely impressed me a lot down at Melbourne. I look forward to seeing him bowl again.
You couldn't bowl to Sachin on India's last two tours here (injured in 2003-04, retired by 2007-08). Is that one of your regrets -- not bowling enough to Sachin at your home ground?
Yeah, this is my favourite ground in the whole world. Luckily, I bowled to him here in 1999-2000, even dismissed him in the first innings. I would have loved to bowl to Sachin more in Australia. Unfortunately, I broke down with a knee injury in 2003-04 and was retired by 2007-08. As a bowler, you always want to bowl to the best in the world. That's why I always loved bowling to the likes of Sachin, Rahul (Dravid), (VVS) Laxman and (Brian) Lara. Bowling to those guys helped me challenge myself and understand where I stand as a bowler, helmed me judge myself.
Australia performed the Southern Cross ritual (victory song) close to two hours after the Test match in Melbourne. It was a very touching moment for anyone who saw it. It showed a lot of bonding and team spirit. That must please you? You guys usually do it privately.
It was always a very special thing for me when I played for Australia. You've got to celebrate your wins. As a team, they are a very strong side. Normally, the longer it is after the game, it shows even more unity. But two hours after the game, they are still at the ground....that shows you what a strong unit they are becoming. It's fantastic for Australian cricket.
Why don't the bowlers ever lead the song? It was Michael Hussey who performed it...
Batsmen have to do something (laughs). It's always the bowlers who are doing all the hard work. Actually, it gets passed on. And it's up to the previous holder to pass it on. They hold the honour (of leading the song) it until retirement... before passing it on to someone else. It's not something that gets passed around a lot. It will be interesting to see who Hussey passes it onto.
What do you make of the current Australian pace attack?
I have been very impressed with Peter Siddle -- he's got a great attitude, doesn't give away anything and bowls in good areas. Ben Hilfenhaus swings the ball both ways at good pace and control and James Pattinson has all the attributes to be a great fast bowler for Australia. He's tall and hits good areas. He's also got good pace and solid aggression. I am very impressed with the whole unit. These are very good signs for Australian cricket. We still have Pat Cummins, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson in the wings. There's a lot of competition for places. It's fantastic for Australian cricket.
Can you tell us a little about your Foundation's involvement with the Sydney Test?
It's been four years since we have been involved with the Sydney Test. The crowd and everything else here turns pink... it's amazing. The support we have received, not just from the crowd, but the players, Channel 9, Cricket Australia and everyone else. I am looking forward to seeing a very pink cricket match.
But batsmen never got to see that side of you...
(Laughs) Yeah, I was really nice to them.