CHENNAI: Australian fast bowling great Glenn McGrath is still in love with the 50-over format but has no hesitation in admitting that it does face a daunting challenge with the exponential popularity of T20 cricket.
A traditionalist by nature, the ‘Director of Coaching’ at the MRF Pace Foundation still believes that Test cricket remains the “ultimate test” of a cricketer.
“I am very much a traditionalist. I liked Test, I liked my ODIs. Test cricket is still the ultimate to me. I I hope that it is protected and still held in high regard,’ McGrath told reporters during an interaction.
“As for the ODIs, it is still exciting as long as they are scoring runs. Interesting to see the future (of ODIs) and see where it goes. They have got to keep making it (ODIs) exciting. They have got a few challenges,” he added.
McGrath won’t be surprised if a lot of youngsters start opting for T20 Internationals citing workload issues.
“I would like to think so. See teams are now having separate T20 and ODI teams…they are nearly getting more specific. Yeah, the money is in T20 cricket isn’t it? To be honest, a lot of players, a lot of youngsters coming up will look to play T20s.”
McGrath, who will be completing a decade at the helm of the MRF academy, said he had enjoyed the stint and was proud of the players like Prasidh Krishna and Avesh Khan who had gone on to represent India.
“It has been 10 years (laughs)…the last 2 have been a little dodgy. It has been great. I’ve enjoyed it. Our goal was to continue what Dennis (Lillee) had done.
“I knew I couldn’t just come in and fill those shoes. He (Lillee) is the best pace bowling coach in my opinion. It is about teaching the young guys, the next generation, to become self-sufficient.”
McGrath is happy that the Foundation has been able to keep up its lofty standards and guft Indian cricket, a bunch of quality speed merchants.
“To see 29 of our boys and ex-boys playing in the recent IPL was a proud moment. Prasidh and Avesh represented India in limited overs cricket. I am really proud of them…proud of all the boys,” McGrath, who took over from Lillee, added.
He said Indian captain Rohit Sharma finding some form after his recent struggles with the bat was good news.
“I think it is good news. He is a class player. You want him doing well. You want to see the senior players do well. You saw Shubman Gill get a good score the other day in the West Indies. The batsmen are doing their job in the West Indies.”
On Hardik Pandya’s return from injury and impressing with all-round performances, McGrath said “Cricket is very much a confidence sport. Hardik is very much a confident player. If he is bowling well it has a positive impact on his batting.
“He is two players in one. He is a luxury. He is a good, intelligent bowler and powerful hitter. He has got a good game plan.”