Warnie~~s place hard to fill, says McGrath

Published: Sunday, December 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Glenn McGrath feels the Aussies have the bench strength to replace him in the line-up when he bids adieu to cricket after next year's World Cup but the World Champions will have a tough time finding a leg-spinner to take Shane Warne's place in the team after he retires at the end of the Ashes.

''To me, he's one of the best if not the best cricketer that's been. I think Shane's position's going to be harder to fill. I feel with mine, the young guys are already there, and I'm sure they'll go well given a chance,'' McGrath was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying.

''We've got Shaun Tait or Mitchell Johnson just to name a couple in the wings. There's plenty of fast bowlers around Australia who can come in and hopefully get a bit of experience and off they go,'' he added as he listed his possible replacements in the team.

McGrath said it would be a perfect farewell for him when he plays his last Test in front of his home crowd at Sydney. And the veteran seamer said his World Champion side will easily get over the setback of losing it's two champion bowlers at the same time.

''I feel the cupboard's not bare there. You only have to see what Stuey Clark's done. I'm comfortable knowing there's plenty of guys who can come in and take over my role,'' he explained.

''It's funny how it comes up that we (he and Warne) both retire from Test cricket at the same time. I guess you base your decision on gut feel. I feel it's the right time, as well,'' he added.

McGrath said he decided to announce his retirement as he was getting frustrated with the intense media frenzy and didn't want the Aussies to be distracted by speculations.

''With the scrutiny and the hearsay and what's happened mainly in the last few days I wanted to get it out in the open, so we could get back and concentrate on the last two Test matches,'' he said.

The lanky 37-year-old had said that he had a young family to take care of and it was getting tougher for him to leave his kids behind for long tours. The veteran bowler thanked his wife for the support she gave him during his long career.

''I couldn't have achieved everything I have without the strong support of my wife Jane. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing wife or a more amazing mother for our kids,'' McGrath wrote in a column for the Sunday Telegraph.

''That's why it's my chance now to thank her and help her out at home more after announcing I am retiring from international cricket after next year's World Cup,'' he added.

McGrath said though he had no regrets about quitting the game after the World Cup, he would miss his team-mates.

''...I will miss the mateship in the rooms. The boys have been great company,'' he said.

McGrath said the though of retirement crossed his mind for the first time after the first Ashes Test at Brisbane and subsequent discussions with his wife and manager helped him make up his mind.

''I began to think about retiring after the Brisbane Test. The thought become stronger in Adelaide, and I spoke to Jane and my manager and friend, Warren Craig. By the end of the Perth Test, I had made up my mind - it was time to go,'' he said.

Recalling his career, McGrath said most of his sledging is directed at himself rather than the batsman as he hates to fall short of expectations.

''Some people have said through the years that I don't get overly excited taking a wicket. But on the reverse side of that, I don't get down or depressed. I am very hard on myself. When I have a chat in the middle, it's more directed at myself and not the batsman,'' he said.


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