World Cup 2019: IPL is best preparation for World Cup, only in terms of mindset, says McGrath

Australia pace great Glenn McGrath also believes Steve Smith and David Warner will turn it around in IPL 2019 and prove their worth in international cricket.

World Cup 2019: IPL is best preparation for World Cup, only in terms of mindset, says McGrath

Australian pace legend Glenn McGrath plumped for India and England as the favourites to win the ICC Cricket World Cup. The veteran pacer, who is on a visit to the MRF Pace Foundation, which he heads, said playing the Indian Premier League is good preparation for the prestigious quadrennial event.

“I thought the top-two teams at the World Cup were India and England. England has had a tough time in West Indies and India coming up with a few losses against Australia, so I think the competition is going to be a bit tighter. Australia’s confidence will go up and their chances [of going the distance] will be a bit more now than what it was at the start of the series. We will have to see how they do well against Pakistan in the UAE,” he said.

On Australia's World Cup chances, the pacer said, “I think the recent series win has done a world of good for the Australian team. They were a little flat in the series against India Down Under. But the win in India will give them a huge amount of confidence. It is again different conditions in England.”

With the IPL two days away, McGrath said the league will help players get into the groove, with respect to mindset. "I think it’s (IPL) a good preparation, in the sense that it will get your mindset into the shorter versions of the game. Indian conditions compared to England conditions will be different but just the mindset — feeling bat on the ball and taking wickets — it will boost the players' confidence ahead of the World Cup," he added.

Smith and Warner

Australia's Steve Smith and David Warner are gunning for a comeback into the national side after serving their bans for their involvement in the sandpaper gate scandal and McGrath felt the players would be keen to prove their mettle once back. "I think they (Smith and Warner) will do well in the IPL. They have been out of the game for the last 12 months now. I know they have played a few T20 competitions around the world but they are keen and hungry. They are ready to prove they are good enough to continue playing international cricket,” he explained.

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But where do Smith and Warner play in the Australian side? “It will be a good headache to have rather than try to make the numbers up. I think someone like Usman Khawaja who bats in the opener or in No. 3 — it will be interesting to see which way they go. I think with Warner likely to take the opener’s spot, I see Usman going in at No. 3 and Smith in at No. 4. I think it was great to see Khawaja in good form and score runs in the Indian conditions," he added.

Steve Smith and David Warner at a net session prior to the CA sanctions for ball-tampering.   -  REUTERS

 

Player workload

There has been a lot of noise surrounding the players' workload with the IPL and World Cup succeeding each other. McGrath felt there wasn't too much to dwell into it. “You can’t get through two months without getting injured, then there is an issue. I think the workload is not huge. The intensity is different obviously, there are only 4 overs every game and then the travel. But, the players know how to recover. If they can recover well, they will be fine, else it can be an issue," he explained.

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McGrath lauded the Indian pace attack for an exemplary series in Australia. "In Australia, there were no chinks in the Indian pace attack. Their bowling unit is incredible. It is about keeping fit and on the park. I am a massive fan of Bumrah [Jasprit]. The way he goes about his cricket is incredible. He is young, keen and has a great attitude. He has had an incredible start to his Test career. It is always how you back up in the second year once the players have seen you. I am looking forward to that. In ODIs, he has been doing it for quite a few years,” he added.