McGrath praises experienced Umesh

Former Australian seamer Glenn McGrath on Tuesday heaped praise on Umesh Yadav, saying the Indian pace spearhead understands well how to manage the workload of international cricket.

Dhawal Kulkarni interacts with Glenn McGrath in Mumbai on Tuesday.   -  PTI


Which budding fast bowler or even a seasoned medium pacer in first class competition would not like to pick the brains of Glenn McGrath?  Thanks to the initiative taken by the Chennai-based MRF Pace Foundation and the opportunity grabbed by the Mumbai Cricket Association, 16 medium pacers in the boys under-19, 23 category and the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team have been given a chance to spend quality time over two days at the MCA’s indoor facility at the Bandra Kurla Complex on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Clearly Dr. P. V. Shetty, Jt. Hon. Secretary, MCA was pleased that the MRF Pace Foundation chose MCA to spread some of its culture to the local speedsters. “We are more than happy and hope such things continue. We have had a relationship with MRF for many years; many of our boys train at the foundation before the start of the season.’’

The chief coach of the MRF Pace Foundation, M. Senthilnathan said: “Last year we went to Punjab and Ahmedabad. We get to see a lot of bowlers. We would like to spread, what we do at the Pace Foundation. The most important part of the camp are the local coaches. I was discussing this with Glenn, from next year we are open to the idea of having woman fast bowlers for training at the foundation.’’

But how does a two-day camp help the medium pacers and their ilk ? McGrath, the champion bowler, said: “Some (of the 16 chosen for the camp) have been at the MRF camps, a few have played for the country and the State. What we do is to look improve the technique of the fast bowlers to a degree; and technique is about efficiency and bowling quicker for longer (spells) and without getting injured and about the thought processes. If we can help the boys take away one thing to become better cricketers, brilliant. If the  coaches can take away one thing, it’s even better. Even I am always looking to learn as well. Give some tips and if they can go away one thing, then its worthwhile.’’

McGrath has never had the chance to train and practice at the facility here. “I am impressed with it.  It is amazing. If you have the facilities and the are a winner. We met a lot of coaches. The national cricket centre in Australia is an incredible facility too. At the end of the day, it’s about the young guys coming through with an attitude to work hard and improve. Yes, it makes it easier, when you have the facilities like this.’’

When asked about the absence of genuine and express fast bowlers in international cricket, McGrath said he’s always on the look out to see one. “I think everyone wants to bowl fast. I wanted to bowl fast, but I was never express. To be express is a unique thing. Not many bowlers can bowl 145 or 150 plus quicker; it’s raw talent, you cannot teach that. I would always like to see guys never slow down their pace, but improve their accuracy. Only some people talk about slowing down to improve accuracy. I don’t like that. You work hard to improve your accuracy, but express bowlers are very rare. To be a fast bowler in India is probably the toughest place in the world. But 150 plus is very rare.’’

Finally responding to a question on how Umesh Yadav managed to bowl the long home international season free of injuries, McGrath explained: “Fast bowlers get injured, that’s the toughest part of the sport. It’s unnatural to run in and bowl fast. That’s stress on your body. But as we mature and get a little bit older, our body sort of finishes growing and we have less injuries. Umesh Yadav is bowling well at the moment; he is a little bit older than what he was couple of years ago, but he’s a lot more experienced too. And he knows how to, or should know how to prepare himself to recover.

“I always say being fit is not so about how long you can bowl for, but it’s how quickly you can recover. So as we get older we get to know ourselves better. I think that’s helped Umesh. He is bowling with confidence, but a fast bowler needs an off season.  If you are bowling all the year around without an off season and bowl the next season, sooner or later injuries are going to creep in. You got to have a bit of a break to put that strength and fitness back in, I think Umesh has worked it out and he knows how  to recover.”

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