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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

McGrath has one final goal before retiring

John Mehaffey | March 14, 2007 10:51 IST

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Glenn McGrath, the elder statesman of the Australia side, has one last goal in mind before he finally retires from all forms of cricket at the end of the World Cup.

McGrath, 37, who has taken more test wickets than any other fast bowler, is second to Pakistan's Wasim Akram among World Cup wicket-takers with 45 from three tournaments to the Pakistani's 55 from five.

"I glanced at the programme the other day and noticed I was number two in World Cup wickets," McGrath told reporters on Tuesday during the world champions' final practice session before they open their campaign against Scotland at Warner Park on Wednesday.

"Wasim is one of the best bowlers of all time. He's on top with 55, I'm 10 behind. It would be nice to get somewhere close to that and maybe come out on top by the end of the tournament."

McGrath has lost the pace he showed to such effect on his first tour of the Caribbean 12 years ago when Australia took over from West Indies as unofficial world champions.

But, as he showed in Australia's two warm-up matches in St Vincent last week, he retains his naggingly accurate off-stump line and subtle variations which helped bring him 563 wickets before he retired from test cricket after the 5-0 Ashes demolition of England.

"My body is going real good, I have never felt better," he said. "My mind is hanging in and hopefully the rest will follow suit. I'm pretty focused on doing well and getting through the tournament well. Come the first of May and I can think about retiring."


McGrath is likely to bowl first change after Shaun Tait and Nathan Bracken, a role he is happy to play.

"Twenty overs of power play changes things a lot," he said. "We have changed a lot as a team with Shaun Tait coming in. He will probably bowl two or three overs at the start and pick up a wicket or two with his express pace.

"Then I can come in and hopefully tie things up. I think it will work very well for us.

"It will probably suit me very well and hopefully I can come back with the old ball, a bit of reverse swing, a leg-cutter, a few slower balls."

They key Group A match will be the final game on March 24 against South Africa, who took over as the world number one side while Australia were losing five successive one-dayers this year.

"It's a position we don't find ourselves in too often, we would rather be back at number one, that's what we are aiming for," McGrath said.

"The preparation has been perfect, we have improved each game, the whole aim of this is to peak for the final. We started at the bottom, hopefully we will finish at the top."

Australia will select their final XI from a squad of 14 as all-rounder Andrew Symonds continues his rehabilitation work after tearing his right bicep muscle. Symonds batted in the nets on Tuesday and practised his throwing although he has yet to bowl.

"He's coming along amazingly well," McGrath said. "But it's a bit different working at around 50 percent or 60 or wherever he is, to working at 100 percent in a game situation."

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