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    o CRICKET lover could forget Glenn (aka Pigeon – nicknamed so because of his long, skinny legs, one hears) McGrath in a hurry. And this week, Bangalore met the smiling Aussie in quite a different avatar than the usual. Instead of his lethal cricket ball, he had a glass of wine in hand, as brand ambassador for the Australian wine label, Hardy’s, a role he’s quite happy about. “Hardy’s is iconic, has a 160-year-old history, and I get to work alongside Bill Hardy, the sixth generation from his family in the wine business. It’s good to see that knowledge and tradition being passed down through the generations.”
    There’s plenty that McGrath has passed down to his successors in the Australian cricket team. The greatest Aussie fast bowler of his time, he’s sent more than his fair share of spine-shivers to opponents on the pitch. He loves that, and wouldn’t ever choose to be anything other than a quick. “It’s about bowling fast, controlled, landing the ball where you want,” he says, adding, “India has always been a tough place to be a fast bowler but a truly quality fast bowler has to be able to adapt in all conditions.” He considers himself lucky to have played when he did – “The Australian team was ranked number one and there were some pretty amazing players I got to play alongside.” Things were hectic but not as hectic as today, he agrees, recurring injuries being due to crammed cricketing schedules. “Such is the life of an international cricketer today. But hey, the rewards are handsome too,” he adds.
    Aussie cricket is in good hands, he acknowledges and says that he’s “really impressed by the current Australian team, captained well by Michael Clarke, and when Michael retires, Steve Smith.” There’s depth with bat and ball and he’s impressed with their current fast bowlers, so, no worries here, mate.
    India, he feels, will be a bit of all right too with Virat Kohli heading things. “India is lucky to have Kohli, a class batsman with an aggressive streak. That no-backing-down positive attitude will hold him in good stead,” McGrath says. A few words of advice too: “Celebrity status is something that goes hand in hand with being international cricketers, especially in India. As long as they don’t let it go to their heads and they stay grounded it should be fine. They’re people, just like anyone else. Though these days everyone has a camera/video camera on them 24/7, and they must realise that and respect the fact they’re role models too.”
    Meanwhile, he concentrates on the serious (his McGrath Foundation for cancer) and the happy (wine, travel and a new life). Like he says, “Life is meant to be enjoyed and I do my best to achieve this.”
    With wine glass in hand, we’ll say cheers to that!
    m firstimpressionbangalore@gmail.com

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