Without a shadow of a doubt, Rahul Dravid was one of the best that wielded a willow for India. His on-field abilities coupled with gentlemanly conduct earned him accolades and fans in equal measure.
Since retirement, his eloquence is a much sought after tenet and his lectures make for compelling experiences. His most recent such outing was at the Link Lecture Series on Thursday night at Mumbai.
Speaking at the event, Dravid mentioned Glenn McGrath and didn’t hesitate in calling him greatest he ever faced.
"They (Australia) were the best cricket team in my generation. Amongst them all, the greatest bowler that I played against, not only the greatest Australian bowler, but the greatest fast bowler (that) I played against has to be Glean McGrath," said the former India captain.
Dravid, who had several encounters with the legendary fast-bowler, had plenty of praise for the Australian. “He was absolutely (brilliant), no one challenged my knowledge of the off-stump as much as McGrath did. He was relentless and gave you nothing. A lot of times, whether he is bowling in first hour of the morning or late in the afternoon of in the evening, he (McGrath) was going to give you nothing, he was relentless (and the) accuracy."
McGrath was revered for his accuracy and hitting an immaculate line and length at all times. And Dravid recognised this tenet of the Australian. “He was not mean as he looked, but he could be very very mean with the cricket ball because he gave you nothing. He was one of those guys you, while batting, think how to score a run and where is the extra-run going to come from. He just had that level of accuracy and control.”
McGrath’s was one those few fast-bowlers that tormented batsmen in more ways that one. With an upright seam, he extracted prodigious movement off the pitch. This, coupled with the occasional swinging delivery, made him Australia’s premier strike bowler with the new ball.
And the pace was always there. In his prime, McGrath hit the turf in excess of 145 km/h and even at the time of his retirement, he consistency bowled at over 130km/h.
"He had good pace, bounce but a good game sense as well. McGrath was probably the greatest fast bowler I played against," said Dravid.