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Miserly McGrath rules the roost in 20-20

Just two years shy of 40, Glenn McGrath isnít getting any younger.

But the way the retired Aussie great has conjured up magical spells in the ongoing Indian Premier League, you wouldnít be able to tell the difference anyway.

McGrath has been a key ingredient in all Delhi Daredevilsí wins and even in the losses he has escaped punishment and landed at least a wicket.

His 4/29 against Rahul Dravidís Bangalore Royal Challengers last week was a special effort, and with Mohammed Asif complementing him at the top, the Daredevils have the most lethal pairing in the fast bowling department.

Such has been his impact in the brief history of the league that his compatriots at the Daredevilsí camp have named the corridor of uncertainty as the "McGrath corridorí!

All this acclaim even at this age is not unexpected to the veteran who has spent the last 15 years scaring the daylights out of the batsmen and consequently getting his name etched in the history books. Still it does raise the question: Did McGrath call it quits it all too soon?

"Of course not. I came here for 6-7 weeks of cricket and Iím happy where I am. I retired because I had enough, not because I was losing my touch." McGrath told this newspaper on Wednesday. "The Twenty20 game has just four overs for me which is perfect. Itís the Test matches and ODIs that take a toll on you."

The Aussie paceman never relied on speed even in his heyday and he is yet to breach the 130kmph mark in six games. But he knows the conditions well, judging by the fact that he has the most number of dot balls against his name in IPL so far.

"In the last decade I have played a lot of cricket in India. I know what works well here, so itís not that hard to adjust," he said. "But, yes, Iíve been amazed by how quickly I have got back into stride. I hadnít bowled a ball before arriving here, so it has been a pleasant surprise."

McGrathís surprise at his own performance though wasnít shared by T.A. Sekar, himself a former pacer and a key cog in the Daredevilsí thinktank. "His work ethic is such that you canít be really be surprised by the way he has played. He arrived in Delhi on April 8 and was on the ground for a fielding session the next morning,"

Sekar said. "Glennís a veteran, but he still doesnít wait for youngsters to approach him for help. He goes up to the bowler if he feels that he could make a difference in any way. Thatís why heís such a vital member of our side."

The stripling Daredevilsí pacer Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh, who has impressed many with his wicket-taking ability, vouched for McGrathís assistance.

"Heís a great guy... always there and always helpful. Thereís so much you can learn from him not just about the nuances of bowling, but just seeing the passion he has for the game."

McGrath boasts an economy rate of 6.10 and his tight line and length in a competition tailor-made for batsmen has stunned his teammates and critics. Interestingly, McGrath had no takers for him at the IPL auction and the GMR Group got him at the base price of $350,000.

The bigger irony, though many would agree, is that he wears a T-shirt with a name that literally translates to a sitting duck!

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