Pink ball adds a new dimension to the game: Glenn McGrath

Pink ball adds a new dimension to the game: Glenn McGrath

Glenn McGrath
Glenn McGrath of Australia. (© Getty Images)

Australian great Glenn McGrath feels that the advent of pink ball day-night Test matches created a new dimension to the game. India is hosting the Duleep Trophy matches with the pink ball under the flood lights. “Pink ball adds a new dimension to the game,” said McGrath after a coaching clinic for Under-23 pacers at PCA stadium.

“Pink ball adds a new dimension to the game, I don’t mind it. With T20 really taking the world by storm, Test cricket to me is really important. We got to hold it in high regard.” McGrath affirmed that the pink ball is going to offer a lot of support for the pacers, but he pointed out that they still need to hit good line and lengths to be successful.

“Obviously, the pink ball does a little bit more, you got a little bit grass on the wicket. It loses colour very quickly and the ball doesn’t hold up like the older, especially the Test ball. It’s a little bit more in bowler’s favour, it’s going to swing around, it’s going to nip around a little bit more. I think bowlers will enjoy bowling with the pink ball, but at the end of the day they still they have to get the ball in the right area,” he said.

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How hard the bowlers are prepared to work:

McGrath lamented that the biggest problem with fast bowlers coming through popular Twenty20 leagues are they will stop working hard after the initial success. “Biggest issue which I find, probably not just in India, probably around the world is how hard they are prepared to work. And if they do get a little bit of success playing in IPL or big bash in Australia is that they get to that level and they think they have made it and they stop working hard and they stop training as much,” McGrath said.

“Young bowlers have to be prepared to work hard and then work even harder to stay there, there are no easy options or short cuts. Sometimes, I see young cricketers reach a certain standard, all of a sudden they get paid good money and they stop work. I think money should always be secondary. It’s great that cricketers are earning good money. But if money is secondary and it’s all about going out there, performing at their best and keeping themselves in the best condition. Then that money will be there all the time. And I think that’s the attitude young cricketers should have. Ultimate goal should always be representing your country,” he added.

Key to success:

The 46-year old said that, for a fast bowler to be successful, one has to adapt to different playing conditions and consistently work hard on bowling. “To be a good fast bowler, you have to bowl well in your own conditions, to be a great fast bowler, you have to be able to adjust and adapt to all different conditions throughout the world, quick wickets, bouncy wickets, slow, dry wickets.”

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“We are here to see the young crop of fast bowlers. They can pick up one or two things how they can become better bowlers. We [at MRF Pace Foundation] never change actions, we always fine-tune them. To be a fast bowler is the toughest part of the game. You’ve got to be prepared to work harder than anyone else, you got to be prepared to go through more pain than anyone else.”

Pace is something which comes naturally to a bowler:

Varun Aaron
Varun Aaron of India. (© Getty Images)

Speaking about how the budding cricket bowlers can generate more pace, he said that it is something natural to a player and they can only extract a bit more from his action. “I think the pace is something which is natural. We can extract a little bit more pace by getting more out of the action. But we can’t teach someone to bowl express pace.”

He explained his strategy of going about his business. “When I played I set a goal of (giving away) 4 runs or less in ODI and 6 runs or less in a T20 game. Now if you say if I keep it to 5 runs in ODI and 7-8 runs in T20, I have done my job,” he said. “The biggest issue I have with being a fast bowler in this day and age is one there is no real offseason. For a bowler, because it’s so tough, throughout the season your strength and fitness deplete, you need to backup, if there is no real off season its hard to do that.”

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He also pointed out on how well the spinners have adapted to the shortest format of the game and the kind of value they bring to the side. “When spinners first came in T20s they thought they are going to be hit out of the park and now they are opening the attack and doing well. Bowlers need to adapt. One thing a fast bowler can control is where he bowls at more. Control combined with pace can be a dangerous combination.”

Pointing a few domestic cricketers, who had impressed him, he said, “Couple of guys that stand out, Veer Pratap Singh is probably the best I have seen, he is bowling exceptionally well, he has got a good pace, he swings the ball. He had a little taste of IPL cricket. Anikeet Chaudhary, Ankit Rajput, Nathu Singh, they are good young upcoming bowlers.”