By CricketCountry Staff
Mumbai: Apr 20, 2013
It was one of cricket’s most riveting contests: Sachin Tendulkar pitted against Glenn McGrath. A batsman who liked to dominate bowlers and a fast bowler who gave little away with his robotic accuracy.
McGrath considers Tendulkar as technically correct and mentally strong. The great Australian spoke about Tendulkar for the special feature by Outlook magazine to herald the Little Master’s 40th birthday.
Looking back at their duels, McGrath stated that it was a huge challenge bowling to Tendulkar. “He remains a top class player and has ensured a place in the history books for scoring the most runs in Test cricket, a record that I think will never be broken. He is technically correct and mentally strong — I have nothing but respect for him,” said McGrath.
McGrath troubled Tendulkar when India travelled to Australia in 1999-00. “In Australia you get a little extra bounce and sideways movement, so I just tried to put the ball in the right areas and use the movement against him. I never prepared differently against Sachin but loved the competition,” said the former fast bowler when asked about his success Down Under against the then Indian captain.
Tendulkar’s moment of dominance against McGrath came in the ICC Champions Trophy in 2002. The Indian opener launched an assault on McGrath from the very beginning and put him off his length. “At the top level, it’s always a mental game — bowlers and batsmen trying to find an edge over one another is what it’s all about. I remember that game in Kenya. Early on, Sachin played a pull shot that went straight up in the air, but the breeze carried it just over the boundary for six. I felt a little unlucky, because anywhere else it would have been a good chance to get him out with an easy catch. After that moment I gave Sachin a little sledge — one of the only times I did that in my career. He proceeded to smash us all over the ground,” said McGrath.
Asked about Tendulkar’s popularity in Australia, McGrath said: “Australia is a sports-mad nation and love their cricket, especially players of the highest calibre. Back when Don Bradman played he had a worldwide profile; I think Sachin enjoys a similar adulation as he’s at that level. He was a massive challenge. Sometimes I enjoyed success; at others he scored some big 100s.”
Australians often indulge in a sledge here and there. Steve Waugh had termed sledging as a process of ‘mental disintegration’. When asked why he didn’t say much to Tendulkar, McGrath said: “My success against him came when I didn’t say a great deal. I realised quickly it was best not to talk too much.”
McGrath lauded Tendulkar for his passion and commitment. “[H]e still competes in the Ranji Trophy in between Test series,” said the star fast-bowler.
When asked to describe his favourite Tendulkar moment, McGrath said: “There are so many, it’s hard to pinpoint one. I remember clearly the days he smashed us around for 100s, but also the World Cup back in 2003 when he hit me for four off the second ball and I happened to get him out next ball. I’ll always remember Sachin as a quality cricketer, one of the best of all time. Importantly, he’s also a great bloke, one of the nicest I have met in the game.”