Sun, Dec 24, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Glenn McGrath joins growing retirement lineup for Australia

FIVE-DAYERS FINISHED Another member of 'Dad's Army' decided the time was nearing to leave the squad, though he will play for a local team in England

AP , MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Australia's Glenn McGrath, front, appeals for a decision against Graeme Smith, rear, during a Super Series Test match in Sydney last year. The veteran fast bowler said yesterday he would bow out of cricket after next year's World Cup tournament, following in the footsteps of teammate Shane Warne. After a training session in Melbourne ahead of the fourth Ashes Test that will begin on Boxing Day, McGrath, 36, announced that the Sydney Test match next month on his home cricket ground would be his last five-day match.

PHOTO: AFP

Glenn McGrath, the most successful fast bowler in cricket history, will join his leg spin counterpart Shane Warne as two Australian veterans playing their last Test matches over the next two weeks.

McGrath announced on Friday that he will retire after the World Cup limited-overs tournament ends in March of next year.

The decision means McGrath's final Test of the Ashes series against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground ending Jan. 6 will be his last game in a five-day match.

Warne will also play his last Test at Sydney. His only cricket over the next two years will be with his English county side Hampshire.

"It's probably a perfect or fitting ending," McGrath said on Friday. "It's only been the last few days that I've really thought about it."

The 36-year-old McGrath has taken 555 wickets at 21.65 in 122 Tests since making his debut against New Zealand in 1993.

He is third on the list of all-time wicket-takers behind only Warne (699) and Sri Lankan off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (674).

The retirements of Warne, 37, and McGrath come less than 10 days after batsman Damien Martyn, 35, announced his retirement.

McGrath spent most of this year out of international cricket to be with wife Jane in her battle against cancer.

McGrath dismissed West Indian star Brian Lara 15 times in Tests. He also had an outstanding record against opposition openers -- he dismissed England's Mike Atherton 19 times and the West Indies' Sherwin Campbell on 11 occasions.

The chief executive officer of Australian cricket, James Sutherland, said McGrath had achieved the rare distinction of being a consistent match winner in Test and one-day international cricket for 13 years.

"They say bowlers win matches -- they must have been thinking of players like Glenn McGrath when they said that," Sutherland said. "His remorseless accuracy and forensic probing of the slightest weakness in a batsman's technique is legendary," Sutherland said.

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