Pigeon Aims For One Final Feat
Glenn McGrath is eyeing a personal milestone as he attempts to cap a wonderful career by helping Australia win.
Glenn McGrath is eyeing a personal milestone as he attempts to cap a wonderful career by helping Australia win a third successive World Cup.
McGrath, the world's all-time leading Test match seamer, will bow out after his fourth World Cup campaign.
But when that time comes the 37-year-old hopes to have chalked off one more significant achievement – by ousting Wasim Akram as the tournament's most successful bowler.
McGrath has not missed a single match since making his Cup debut in 1996, and his worst campaign was as a losing finalist in that same tournament on the sub-continent.
He is not a cricketer to rest on his laurels, however, and going into today's Group A opener against Scotland at Warner Park Stadium, he has Wasim in his sights.
"I glanced at the programme and noticed I'm number two in World Cup wickets," he said. "Wasim Akram, who I think is one of the best bowlers of all time, is on top with 55.
"I'm 10 behind, so it would be nice to get somewhere close, and maybe a couple in front, by the end of the tournament."
McGrath is determined to set any thoughts of retirement aside for now.
"My body's really good – I've never felt better. The mind's hanging in there and, I hope, will follow suit," he said.
"I'll get through this tournament then come May 1, I'll think about retirement.
"It's seven weeks, there's some good cricket to play – then I could hang up the boots very comfortably."
McGrath, of Celtic stock from a family which moved to Australia from Northern Ireland around 150 years ago, has not spent too much time researching Scotland's cricketers.
He is, however, confident about his readiness to perform against them – as Australia's first change behind new-ball pair Nathan Bracken and Shaun Tait.
"I'll be on first change. To me, it's what's best for the team.
"I think it'll work really well for us," he said.
McGrath is hoping that his own bowling, at a pace reduced from his prime, will be especially effective on Caribbean pitches.
"On the wickets over here, sometimes the quicker you bowl the easier it is for the batsman," he reasons.
"So with my pace, hitting the deck, it'll probably suit me very well.
"Then coming back with the old ball – a bit of reverse swing, a few off-cutters, leg-cutters, slower balls. It'll suit my style very well."
McGrath took the precaution of consulting former West Indies batsman and Warner Park groundsman Keith Arthurton about the surface – and he was happy with what he heard.
"There's not much grass on it – it's a pretty decent wicket," he reported.
"I spoke to Keith Arthurton about it, and he thought it would be consistent and would not change too much throughout the game."
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