Thursday, October 26, 2006

Glen McGrath - What Is All The Fuss About?

So much hoo-haa over something very, very minor. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the media, aided by rather liberal comments from Glen McGrath himself, will not get over the fact that Glen McGrath is now bowling first change for his country.

I would understand an absence of decorum if McGrath had been forced into opening the batting or even if he was badgered into bowling leg breaks. But, is that the case? Of course not. McGrath has been asked to do what McGrath has done before and countless other campaigners have done prior.

Oft maligned Australian coach John Buchanan has provided a very reasonable and common-sense, IMHO, reason for this change in strategy: "by utilising Glenn in that way it gives us more flexibility." Of course it does, why else would a champion team try to fix what is not broken. The one-day formula has changed ever since the introduction of Power Plays. Batsman are no longer confined to attacking in the early and late parts of the innings. They now have the option of doing it in between.

For mine, the current Australian strategy makes perfect sense, although the trick is in the execution and the Aussies have struggled to execute properly at the Champions Trophy, thus far. When you have tyro's like Mitchell Johnson with genuine pace and swing, why would you waste them on the old ball? I would open with Johnson instead of Bracken and have McGrath enforcing the pressure during the Power Plays when the opening bowlers are taking a rest.

There is no bowler in world cricket who would be able to fulfill McGrath's new role, better than Glen McGrath himself. He has the accuracy, movement and patience to frustrate the pants off batsmen who may have to face him in the middle overs. Let the speed merchants blast away at the top of the order and continue to wreak havoc, of a different persuasion in the middle of the innings.

Now, if only McGrath stopped moaning and groaning and actually got on with bowling at full pace and from the heart, we would actually be able to assess if this theory is indeed practical. Pull your socks up, Glen. Time to get that ego under control.

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