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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


McGrath gives no chance to rivals

N.Ananthanarayanan | March 30, 2007 11:53 IST

Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath said he did not see any serious challenge to his team completing an unprecedented hat-trick of World Cup titles.

McGrath, 37, is one wicket away from equalling Pakistan paceman Wasim Akram's Cup record of 55 scalps going into Saturday's Super Eights game against unfancied Bangladesh.

"If we go and play the way we have I can't really see any team getting close to us," he told reporters during nets at the Antigua Recreation Ground on Thursday.

"That is the way we've been."

No team have been able to challenge Australia with South Africa losing their closest-contested game by 83 runs on Saturday.

McGrath, who also spearheaded the bowling in the 1999 and 2003 triumphs, said his predictions were an attempt to challenge the team and a statement of fact.

He rightly forecast a 5-0 drubbing for England in last year's Ashes series in Australia.

"End of the day I don't say anything I don't believe," he said. "It is just embedded into the Australians.

"In any Australian sport it seems that attitude is carried right across the board," he said. "We've been so successful over such a long time, we know how to win, what we've to do.

"When you walk on the field you just have to look around you, the guys that are walking with you.

"There are some amazing players, some of the greats of all time. It does give you a lot of confidence."

SPECIAL MILESTONE

McGrath was delighted he was about to surpass Akram's Cup milestone after taking nine scalps in the first four matches.

"Guys like Akram are sort of heroes of mine," he said. "He is known as one of the best bowlers of all time. To finally go past him, if I get a couple of more wickets, that would be something special."

McGrath said he had no plans to rescind on his decision to retire from international cricket after the World Cup.

"If it was just about playing, I could continue," he said. "It is everything, the travel, the training, the time away from the kids.

"I've been lucky enough to have been, for 14 years, at the top level. It is my turn to move on."

McGrath retired from tests after the Ashes series and is the third highest test wicket-taker with 563 scalps.

He felt Australia's one-day series defeats against England and New Zealand helped the team rectify flaws and go on to prove people wrong that the team was on the decline.

"It was probably the perfect build-up for us," he said. "You don't want to come into the tournament in peak form. There are no thoughts of any negativity from the Australian side at all."

McGrath defended previously prolific run-getter Michael Hussey who has come in for media criticism after being dismissed for single-figure scores so far.

"He is coming in at the last four of five overs and has had no time to settle down," he said. "It shows he is a great team player. He is not worried about his average.

"We're averaging 340 runs a game," he said. "You can't complain there."

The seven-week World Cup culminates in the April 28 final in Barbados. Australia won the tournament in 1999 in England and 2003 in South Africa. No team has clinched three in a row.


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