Record-breaking McGrath, but is he the best?

31 03 2007

Congratulations to Glenn McGrath for overtaking Wasim Akram as the leading wicket taker in World Cup history. Considering how few of the top wicket-takers are still playing (Vaas and Muralitharan are the only players in the top 10 currently still playing), and considering how far behind they are, you’d have to say the record is likely to stand for some time. Looking down the list and seeing Warne is amongst the leaders, especially considering he missed the 2003 World Cup, shows just why the Australians have been able to dominate World Cups in recent history. However I found it interesting that Brian Lara, a man who in my opinion is the best batsman of his generation (better than Hayden, who seems to cash in on batting wickets but has never convinced me that he can do it under pressure, and Tendulkar, who likewise has a reputation for choking) rates Wasim Akram as the better bowler.

And to be honest, I find it hard to disagree with him. McGrath has never had Akram’s pace and certainly has never swung the ball in the way Akram was able to. I honestly believe that if Akram played in a side that was as good in the field as Australia, and with a leg spinner of the quality of Warne (when you’re facing someone like that in the middle overs it’s natural to try and target the pacemen) he’d have a lot more wickets. When you factor in Akram’s ability with the bat too, I know who I’d pick in my all-time team if I could only have one (although I’d probably go for both if I could!). However what McGrath has done is made the very most of his limited skills (there have certainly been more talented bowlers who’ve taken many less wickets) and for that he deserves his congratulations.


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