Australia need to lift their game before India tour: McGrath

Kolkata, Aug 30 (IANS) Going by Australia’s recent humbling at the hands of Sri Lanka, retired pace ace Glenn McGrath feels the former World No.1 team needs to improve a lot between now and March when they tour India for a four-match Test Series.

“Aussies have a few things to sort out. Once they are home, they will start playing well. But with the Indian tour coming up in March, specially the way things went in Sri Lanka on turning wickets, they have got a lot of work to do between now and then.

“They will find it tough in India unless they can turn it around,” the 46-year-old said at a product launch here on Tuesday.

Australia lost each of the three Tests during their ongoing tour to Sri Lanka by 100-plus margins.

McGrath, who got 563 wickets in 124 Tests, praised the younger crop of Indian pacers.

“The bowlers like Nathu Singh are very good. The younger crop has the willingness to learn across the board, especially in India.”

Asked whether he has worked with the young Indian pacers, the Aussie said: “I have had short stints with Jasprit Bumrah and Varun Aaron. They are good bowlers, with raw pace.”

To a poser on Bumrah’s tendency to bowl no-balls, MacGrath, while not specifically referring to the Indian pacer, said the aspect needed to be stressed during practice sessions.

A lot of talk nowadays was on M.S. Dhoni’s retirement. But McGrath favoured the India limited overs’ skipper calling time on his own terms as he was a “great of the game”.

“He is still one of the best finishers of the game. The last match against the West Indies, India needed 244 odd to get, and he was up there. Unfortunate for India to have lost in the last over. It is a bit harsh on him. Players like him deserve to go out in their own terms.”

Asked to draw a comparison between Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar, McGrath said the two were “different personalities”.

“Virat is more aggressive, and brings about a different attitude. Sachin and Virat are different personalities. But yes, Virat comes a little harder at you than Sachin.”

McGrath’s duel with Tendulkar is considered the stuff of cricket legend. Asked whether he dominated the Little Master, McGrath said: “I never dominated Sachin. I always concentrated on hitting the right lenghths and he used to wait for the bad ball. On his day, he would be more aggressive.”

Known for his mastery over line and length more than raw speed, does it bother Mcgrath that the game is now more batsman-friendly with the onset of T20 cricket?

“I am not sure domination of fast bowlers is less nowadays. Australia has got Josh Hazlewood and specially Mitchell Starc. South Africa, Pakistan have got quality fast bowlers; England has (Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson. India has got good ones too.

“I am not sure if it’s the bowlers who are suffering. Batsmen, in T20 play with different intensity, wicktets they play on are different too, the bats are better. Teams also seem to play better in their own conditions and don’t tour too well. I am not sure if bowlers are not doing their job, or batsmen have improved. I still think there is quality fast bowlers around.”



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