'I gave Sachin a little sledge and he got back at me'

Glenn McGrath recounts Champions Trophy memories, including the onslaught he suffered against Sachin Tendulkar in Nairobi in 2000.

Sachin Tendulkar took apart Glenn McGrath's bowling when they met in the 2000 ICC KnockOut quarterfinals in Nairobi.   -  V. V. KRISHNAN

Glenn McGrath has mixed memories of the Champions Trophy. The competition appeared jinxed for Australia, it kept getting away from that all-conquering side.   

An outfit of marquee names in the late 90s and the 2000s, Australia suffered several heartbreaks in this competition before finally breaking through the barrier in 2006.

McGrath was there during most of this emotionally draining Champions Trophy journey. Talking to Sportstar, here, on Wednesday, he recalled some of the defining moments.

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The competition, in its early years, was called the ICC knock-out tournament.

McGrath remembered the titanic quarterfinal clash between India and Australia in Nairobi, 2000.

“It was in that match that Sachin (Tendulkar) sledged me. Things got hot in the middle. Sachin edged a pull and the ball would have been caught at fine leg, but somehow the wind carried it over the ropes. I gave him a little sledge and he got back at me,” revealed McGrath.

“Sachin is a good bloke, we enjoyed our duels.”

“Sachin made a quick 30 odd, gave the innings momentum. We lost the match by around 20 runs.”

That was not a particularly happy outing in the park for the normally niggardly McGrath. He went for 61 runs in his nine overs without picking a wicket.

The battle was intense when McGrath duelled it out with Tendulkar or for that matter Brian Lara. “Sachin is a good bloke, we enjoyed our duels,” said McGrath who won his fair share of these iconic face-offs.

The Aussie pace bowling legend plans to see the Tendulkar’s biopic presently running in the cinema houses.

Aussies continued to stumble in the competition, were ambushed by host Sri Lanka’s spinners in the next edition of the Champions Trophy in 2002. The story continued in England 2004 where the host met the West Indies in the final.

Then the tournament arrived in India two years later. India was not a venue where the Australians were the favourites.

“It was hot, but we had been playing in tough conditions. It was 55 degrees in Sharjah, during the Test against Pakistan there, and each of us bowled one-over spells.”

“We had Ricky Ponting as captain. He was aggressive, led by example and loved success.”

McGrath recollected the final against the West Indies in Mumbai. “The key was to get Chris Gayle early. He was in great form, destroying attacks. He got a start but then (Nathan) Bracken dismissed Gayle before he could do too much damage.”

McGrath too played his part, with a display of typical precision and craft, sending down seven overs for just 24 runs, picking up two wickets.

Among his victims was Brian Lara. “Well, I did my bit, got a couple of wickets,” he laughed.

Australia romped home, after dismissing the West Indians for 138. The side had finally conquered the Champions Trophy.

McGrath said, “We had Ricky Ponting as captain. He was aggressive, led by example and loved success.”

Australia now had a previously missing piece in its silverware. “It was a happy time for us in India,” said McGrath. Indeed, for there is nothing quite like that winning feeling.

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