CHENNAI: Former Australia pacer Glenn McGrath feels Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah will enjoy bowling in England conditions and the onus is on India’s batsmen to deliver in the highly-anticipated five-Test series in August.
“Bhuvi and Bumrah have got pretty good control. That’s what you need in England. I expect Bumrah to do really well simply because of the way he bowls. He has got a unique action, but he bowls good lengths. In England, you just have to get the right length. There will be a little bit of seam movement and swing in the air. He will enjoy bowling with the duke ball which has a pronounced seam. It’s a question of the Indian batsmen getting enough runs,” he said
McGrath, who is here to supervise MRF Pace Foundation camp, also spoke on the ball-tampering row that shook the cricket world.
India will be playing a Test series in England after a lot of white-ball cricket. How challenging is it going to be for them to adapt to the red ball in the English conditions?
A lot of it depends on the tour matches and the preparation time. You have got to adapt a lot quicker these days. Well, most of these guys have played in England before. Experience plays a big part to be able to adjust and adapt quickly. They have to rely on experience.
Virat Kohli vs James Anderson is expected to be the defining battle during the Test series…
Obviously, Kohli is a more experienced player this time around. There’s no doubt that he’s a quality batsman, but the English conditions are pretty tough. When you have got a bowler like Anderson who knows the conditions so well and bowling pretty well at the moment, it’s going to be a lot of hard work for Kohli. He has got to be prepared to work hard. He can’t just go out and play his game and hit through the line. He has got to be able to adapt. You want your best batsman to perform. If he performs, it will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the team. I’m looking forward to that battle.
How did the recent ball-tampering incident affect you?
It’s been a lot of different emotions. A lot has been said. There is nothing new I can add to what happened. To think that you can get away with that in the first place was very naive. The punishment has been quite extreme. But if you look at positives to come out of it, it will be interesting to see what happens if somebody gets done for ball tampering in the future now. So the line in the sand has been drawn there. If anyone gets done again, the punishment might be a little bit harsher. It’s a low point for Australian cricket.
You said the Austr alians were naïve. On top of that, they then admitted it at a press conference, which made it worse…
Yes, they should have sent the coach for a PC like every other team does. There were a lot of errors made from the outset. They have been severely punished. They know that what they did was wrong. They had to front the media and everyone back home.
Can ball tampering be stopped?
The umpires are in a good position. They can see what’s happening. With technology and 30-odd cameras around, they can see everything. I don’t know whether you can stop it. It’s up to the umpires and the technology at hand. If they see it as a problem, they have to be really proactive and get on top of it.
Do you think Steve Smith and David Warner can bounce back?
Yes, everyone makes mistakes. I’m sure Smith will come back a better person and player. Warner might find it a little tougher coming back, but he, too, is good a player as well. Australia need these quality players in the team.
There have been suggestions that Australia have to cut down on sledging. Should Aussies mellow down a bit?
I think the media blows sledging out of proportion. They have done it ever since I was playing. I think the Australian way is to play hard and tough in the middle, but in all fairness. That’s where the line was crossed previously. I know the way the Kiwis go about it and I respect that. If we become too nice on the field, that’s not the Australian way. The attitude the Australians have to get back to is the right balance of killer instinct and competitive nature. In Australia, we call it a little bit of mongrel. I think sledging is a wrong term. There is always a bit of chat. Abuse and being personal; all these things are crossing the line. The little bit of chatting is putting a pressure on the opponents and making them feel uncomfortable.
Al Jazeera’s sting operation and corruption in cricket... Does it worry you?
There is always a concern if it’s true. If it’s happening, it’s really disappointing. It’s hard to comment as nothing has been proved yet and I haven’t seen the footage. You need to back it up with evidence.