The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Glenn McGrath is the greatest Australian fast bowler’
- He has the confidence to look ahead a couple of years: Kapil

Kuala Lumpur: Many regard Dennis Lillee as the greatest Australian fast bowler, but Kapil Dev (a one-time world record-holder for the maximum Test wickets) believes that honour should go to Glenn McGrath, who has made a comeback after seven-plus months.

“McGrath will be 37 next year (in February), but retains the passion and hunger of a much younger bowler... He continues to more than just hold his own against the emerging fast bowlers... For me, he’s the greatest Australian and one of the all-time greats anywhere,” Kapil told The Telegraph.

Speaking during the tri-series opener, India’s only World Cup-winning captain added: “In fact, there’s so much competition in Australia, yet McGrath has the confidence to look ahead a couple of years... Woh remarkable cheez hai... I can understand a 36-year-old batsman having such faith in his abilities, but a fast bowler of that age... Wow!”

Of course, Wasim Akram remains the No.1 for Kapil, but McGrath is as good as there.

Wife Jane’s illness (breast cancer) made McGrath take leave from cricket, but he has come back “refreshed,” thanks in no small measure to support from his better half. Asked whether he was worried about age now catching up quicker than ever before, he replied: “I’m feeling like a 25-year-old!”

An exemplary bowler (542 Test wickets and 332 in ODIs) with exemplary spirit.

Kapil, by the way, is of the view that Australian captain Ricky Ponting is going to finish as Test cricket’s No.1 centurion (he already has 31 hundreds to Sachin Tendulkar’s 35) and, possibly, the highest run-getter as well.

“Ricky is special... He’s such an athlete... Indeed, in recent years, he has been phenomenal... Sadly, he hasn’t got the recognition he deserves, but history will eventually remember him as very special... I certainly love to see him bat,” Kapil said.

Many, it seems, share Kapil’s sentiments about the 31-year-old.

Footnote: Our conversation took place when the West Indies were on the park, at the Kinrara Oval which has shades of Centurion’s SuperSport Park plus the Adelaide Oval, and seeing them move around, Kapil quipped: “The present generation doesn’t look intimidating... In our time, the West Indians had a presence... Even I would get intimidated by their size...”

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