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McGrath to retire after World Cup
Julian Linden | December 23, 2006 10:16 IST
Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath said on Saturday he would retire from all forms of cricket after next year's World Cup.
McGrath ended days of speculation about his future when he confirmed he would join Shane Warne by ending his Test career in next month's final Ashes Test against England in Sydney.
But McGrath said he would continue playing one-day internationals for another four months before retiring altogether after the World Cup, to be held in the West Indies in March and April.
"As of the end of the World Cup later next year I'll be finishing up all forms of cricket," McGrath told a news conference in Melbourne.
"Obviously that means Sydney will be my last match, but it's probably a perfect or fitting ending for myself being my home ground and my favourite ground in the world."
McGrath, 36, said he is bowling as well as ever and could have kept on playing but was retiring to spend more time with his family.
McGrath took eight months off this year to look after his children while his wife Jane was undergoing treatment for cancer.
"It's a tough decision because I still love playing. The body feels great and I couldn't be happier with the way I'm bowling so everything's exactly where I want it to be," he said.
"But on the other side, it's an easy decision because of everything else that goes with it...the training, the travel, the time away from home.
"It is getting tougher to leave home, especially with Jane and the kids. The kids are growing up all the time and it's tough missing the things they go through.
"But I would say that with respect to Jane, her health has nothing to do with the decision I've made here today. We're a family and that's what it's all about."
McGrath rose from humble beginnings to become the world's most successful fast bowler, capturing 555 Test wickets in 122 matches, and 342 one-day international wickets in 230 games.
The lanky paceman tormented the world's best batsmen for over a decade with his unerring accuracy but rumours were rife that he was on the verge of quitting.
The wear and tear of bowling had started to take effect and he had struggled with niggling injuries over the past three seasons.
He made a comeback in 2004 and another in September this year after taking time off to care for his wife, immediately helping Australia win the Champions Trophy for the first time, then regain the Ashes they lost to England last year.
Speculation about his future began to intensify when Damien Martyn retired after the Adelaide test and Warne announced he was quitting after Sydney.
McGrath initially tried to dampen the speculation by saying he was still weighing up his options before calling a news conference on Saturday to confirm the news.
"It's only in the last couple of games I made the decision to hang up my boots," he said.
"The plan I had come up with was Shane would go before Melbourne and me before Sydney, but with all the hearsay and scrutiny we wanted to get it out of way. Trying to deny retiring is a bit tough.