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Sight Screen

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Countering McGrath

Mike Selvey, in the Guardian, starts off marvelling at the man
In this technological age it should be possible for a computer programmer to sit at a screen and digitally devise the ultimate bowler for the ultimate end at the ultimate Test ground.
The specifications might be thus: tall, with long arms to obtain bounce and exacerbate variations in such; a straight run to counter the gravitational pull of the slope from left to right; delivery from close to the stumps so that movement off the slope does not angle down the leg side and a straight ball offers a challenge; pace but not so much that a batsman cannot spot a modicum of movement and be drawn into following it; Job's patience; Nelson's strategical acumen; the ruthlessness of Vlad the Impaler. Press "enter". Bugger, it's Glenn McGrath.

That said, he moves on to wondering how England can counter him -- and interestingly, comes up with stuff that Tendulkar advocates: Move the guard more to middle stump (which means, among other things, being even more alert to the LBW or, as happened to Sachin on one famous occasion, shoulder before wicket); turn the bowler's test of patience against him by studiously ignoring anything six inches or more outside off, and firmly playing anything less than six inches off line; attack the length, which being mostly just back of good length, opens up options for driving in the V, or shutting the bat face and playing into the midwicket-mid on arc. Sachin, in fact, said it best when he said the main trick to countering McGrath was not to allow him to sit on your head.

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