McGrath: "DRS taking something away from the game"

Former Australian pacer Glenn McGrath said on Monday, "I think DRS kills the moment. A bowler takes a big wicket and the whole team celebrates. Then the decision is referred and the verdict is ‘not out.’ It’s a big downer. It takes something away from the game."

Glenn McGrath also felt that the upcoming Australia tour would be a big challenge for the team.   -  R.Ragu

Although supportive of DRS in the beginning, Australian pace legend Glenn McGrath is now in favour of umpires having the final say.

Here to guide aspiring pacemen at the MRF Pace Foundation, McGrath said on Monday, “I think DRS kills the moment. A bowler takes a big wicket and the whole team celebrates. Then the decision is referred and the verdict is ‘not out.’ It’s a big downer. It takes something away from the game.”

The Aussie added, “Everybody makes mistakes. The umpires make mistakes. The DRS makes mistakes. But it all evens out in the end. I feel when the umpire gives you out, it should stay that way.”

With Australia visiting India for four Tests – the first Test begins in Pune on February 23 – much focus was on the upcoming series.

McGrath observed, “The Hobart Test against South Africa was a low for Australia. After that there were many changes in the team, skipper Steve Smith and David Warner led the way, and the team did very well against Pakistan. But the side will be up against it in India.”

Playing spin, McGrath said, would be a big challenge. “The Australians have either been too aggressive or too defensive coping with spin in India. They have to find a way.”

He explained, “Look at Mathew Hayden. He wasn’t a very good player of spin to start with but learnt to play here in Chennai. When the Aussies toured India in 2001, he was ready with a game-plan, sweeping the spinners. I think the sweep is a effective shot in these conditions.”

McGrath felt Australia had some good young batting talent. “Peter Handscomb has made a very good beginning to his Test career. And he is a fine player of spin.”

Although spinners will play a role, McGrath believed Australian pacemen needed to strike even in the back-breaking Indian conditions. “Mitchell Starc can bowl at speeds in excess of 150 kmph. He is a left-armer, swings the new ball, reverses the old. Josh Hazelwood moves the ball, get wickets. They will need to adjust to the Indian conditions. Reverse swing will be a factor.”

McGrath played a significant role – he has 33 wickets in eight Tests in India at a creditable 21.30 – in Australia’s series triumph here in 2004. “We had a set team, were confident and had a game-plan. In 2001 too we came very close and were only denied by the brilliance of V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid.”

On Virat Kohli taking over as the ODI and Twenty20 captain, McGrath said, “This had to happen at some stage. When your Test captain also is also in the ODI and Twenty20 teams, I think he should the skipper in all formats.”

The Australian pace ace was of the opinion that the contemporary Test sides largely disappointed away from home. “Now the teams are very good at home and very bad away from home. That needs to change. For India to be really considered No. 1, it will have to win Test series in South Africa, Australia and England. Teams need to travel better.”