India's bowling attack remains world-class: Glenn McGrath

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26 Feb 2020 | 01:12 PM
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India's bowling attack remains world-class: Glenn McGrath

With Smith & Warner back, India will face a tough time in Australia according to the former Aussie great

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Australian pace legend Glenn McGrath said India's bowling attack remains a "world class" one despite the recent debacles against New Zealand and blamed the under-whelming performance on factors such as injury layoffs and toss.

India lost by 10 wickets in the opening Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

While Ishant Sharma returned with a five-wicket haul, his pace colleagues Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami managed just one wicket each as New Zealand posted a match-deciding first innings score of 348 despite being 216 for six at one stage.

"I still have total faith in the Indian (bowling) lineup. They had a few injuries of late. Sharma is coming back and he did get five wickets. Bumrah had a couple of injuries and he is coming back," McGrath told reporters.

"So, yeah, I think the Indian bowling attack is world class and there is no doubt about that," he added.

"I don't have any issues with the bowling attack, you don't lose form overnight. It was just one of those things where the toss made a huge difference. (in the first Test in New Zealand), but you still got to get and score runs."

McGrath praised Ishant for "reinventing" himself and also lauded Shami and Bumrah.

"...the way he's (Ishant) come back in the last couple years, it's been impressive. I thought his career might have been finished at international level, but he has reinvented himself and he is bowling well," said the 50-year-old, who is in the city for a Tourism Australia event.

"Shami bowls good pace and is deceptive in the pace he bowls, he can move the ball around and is very experienced, just knows the game so well.

"Jasprit is unique with the way he goes about it short run up, powers through the crease, can swing the ball, good control and good pace (in) second third spells. And then on top of that the other quicks and spinner."

According to McGrath, the pitches in Australia and New Zealand are different and he advised the Indian bowling unit to be patient.

"In New Zealand it swings more, it seams a little bit more. So that first pitch there was fair bit of grass and India lost the toss.

"You've got to bat really well and on those pitches that are doing a bit, as a bowling unit, you have to do less. Just be patient, just get the ball in the right area," he said.

With Smith & Warner back, India will face tough time in Australia: McGrath

McGrath believes that with the explosive duo of David Warner and Steve Smith back in the Australian team, India are in for a tough time during their tour Down Under later this year.

India had registered their first Test series triumph in 71 years in Australia when Kohli and his men won 2-1 in the four-match rubber to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy last year.

"Australia are playing good cricket. Steve Smith and David Warner -- both are playing well and we saw what Warner is capable of in the Australian summer. Having a batsman like Warner back, and a quality batsman like Steve Smith, it's a totally different game," McGrath told reporters.

The Australian team that Kohli and Co. defeated earlier didn't feature Smith and Warner, who were serving 12-month bans for their respective roles in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town in 2018.

Smith and Warner returned to the national team ahead of last year's World Cup and have looked in good form since then as they helped Australia retain the Ashes against England. India are set to tour Australia later this year for four Tests.

"...it's gonna be tougher for India. That's not to say they they can't perform well. They have got confidence of playing in Australian conditions now and they know how to do it.

"They've done it and they've been successful. So, there's still enough positives there I think it's going to be a really good series for sure," he said.

McGrath also praised India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is set to play in the DY Patil T20 tournament after being laid low for five months due to a lower back injury which required surgery.

"I like Hardik, the way he bowls, bats, his attributes. It is handy to have a player like that," he said, drawing comparisons with England's Andrew Flintoff.

Day-Night tests is way forward: McGrath

McGrath is not in favour of tinkering with the five-day format, saying to bring in more fans to the game, day-night Test matches is the way forward.

McGrath said the growing popularity of the T20 cricket is good for the sport and probably the new fans with embrace the challenging Test format.

"I am a big fan of Test cricket. To me, Test cricket is still the ultimate and we got to keep the game fresh, people enjoying it. T20 has taken the world by storm, it is bringing a lot more people to cricket and that is brilliant and hopefully that will filter into Test cricket," McGrath told.

"We have got to keep Test cricket alive and moving forward and positive and people coming to the game. And to me, the way to that is Day-Night Test cricket. I am big fan of it . I'm not a big fan of four-day Test cricket. I'm very much a traditionalist -- five days -- that's Test cricket to me," elaborated McGrath.

"But if we can bring something new that keeps people coming to the game, then that's brilliant. Day Night cricket it that, it brings different challenges. When you bowl, you bat it can make a big difference. Different tactics, so it just brings a different awareness and different things you have to do," he elaborated.

Australia have played maximum Day-Night tests matches, while India led by Kohli have embraced it only in 2019 after they played their first-day Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata.

India have agreed to play Pink Ball test in Australia and McGrath feels it will be a challenge for the visitors Down Under.

"They (India) will find tough to adjust. Australia has lot more experience and have played quite a number of Day Night tests now and that will be in their favour and home ground advantage too. Indian team is a quality team. They are experienced and Virat is a quality captain, they will be up for the challenge," McGrath said.

McGrath, who played 124 Tests, also picked top four teams for the upcoming T20 World Cup and they were hosts Australia, India, England and Pakistan.

In the end he also made a cheeky comment on last year's Cricket World Cup final where England were declared winners on the boundary count, saying "I was disappointed being a bowler and wickets should count for something."

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IndiaGlenn Donald McGrathSteven Peter Devereux SmithDavid Andrew WarnerVirat Kohli

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