Glenn McGrath, throughout his career, has been compared to West Indies great, Curtly Ambrose. The comparison makes sense. Both quicks were pencil thin and mean as snakes. They gave nothing away. Like Ambrose was for the West Indies, so too McGrath was the greatest Australian of his time.

McGrath would retire from Test Cricket after 14 years at the top of the game in wonderful fashion, leading Australia to a 5-0 whitewashing of England at the 2007 Ashes where he was named Man of the Tournament.

But before that he would grab 10-wicket hauls on three occasions, five-wicket hauls on 29 occasions and have four-wicket days 28 times.

Those remarkable figures came from the insistence on bowling in a metronome fashion, hitting just back of a length on off stump, just the way Ambrose did. To add to that, the bowling ace would learn to bowl the delivery that came back into the right-hander after it pitched. Eventually, he became the man Australia would turn to when it needed a big scalp, like that of Brian Lara.

McGrath is the man to have gotten Lara out the most of any bowler he faced. Though the batting genius also scored most of his runs against Australia, chances are, if he got out, it was to a Glenn McGrath delivery.

McGrath’s importance to Australia can be underlined by the fact that he became the first fast bowler in the country’s rich history of producing them, to play more than 100 Tests.

  

Career Statistics

Full name: Glenn Donald McGrath

Born: February 9, 1970, Dubbo, New South Wales

Major teams: Australia, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, Middlesex, New South Wales, Worcestershire

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

Height: 1.95 m

 

Test Career: Australia (1993-2007)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs       Wkts     BBI      BBM      Ave     Econ    SR      4w     5w     10w

124     243     29248     12186      563       8/24    10/27     21.64   2.49     51.9    28       29       3

 

Career Highlights

  • 5th all-time for most wickets in Tests (563)
  • 2nd most wickets by a fast bowler in Tests
  • Dismissed the most batsmen for a duck in Tests (104)
  • Averaged 21.64 while strike rate was 51.9

Adam Zampa still harbours aspirations of pulling on the baggy green for Australia's Test team, a dream he believes would be helped by more spinner-friendly wickets.

Leg-spinner Zampa, who turned 28 in March, has played in 55 one-day internationals and 30 Twenty20s since debuting for his country in 2016.

A first Test cap has so far proved elusive, though, with Nathan Lyon established as the five-day team's premier spinner and home conditions rarely calling for a second spin option.

"I think that's still my ultimate goal, to play red-ball cricket, to play Test cricket for Australia," Zampa told reporters.

"I think you'd be silly if you didn't take your chance as a spinner in Australia at the moment. So that's the ultimate goal.

"I'd love to get some more first-class cricket under my belt first, but I think with the way that I've been improving over the last couple of years, particularly at international level, the last 12 months have been a really good test for me and I've come out the other side pretty well.

"I've still got the goal to play Test cricket for sure."

Zampa's case would be helped if he could impress during Australia's domestic competition, the Sheffield Shield, though his international commitments have limited his involvement in the longer format.

Former Australia international Steve O'Keefe recently said it was "a matter of urgency" that the country produced more pitches conducive to spin if they wanted to win a Test series in India, something they have not done since 2004.

"Personally, I'd love to see that obviously as a spin bowler," he added.

"There's a lot said about bowling on flat wickets but I think Nathan does that really well himself. I think realistically us other spinners are going to be partnering Nathan in the upcoming subcontinent tour.

"I don't really know what it's like to bowl on a spinning wicket in Shield cricket. The closest thing I've ever had to a spinning wicket in Shield cricket is Adelaide Oval when it's green and thatchy. That then limits the amount of overs you bowl as well, so I think there should be an emphasis put on it.

"I think we put a lot of effort into playing the swinging ball in England, we've had the Dukes ball over the last few years in Shield cricket too.

"I think it's really important and I don't know if it has to be every wicket but there has to be some sort of emphasis in bringing spin bowlers in the game."

Ian Healy’s selection to the Australian team in 1988-89 was a shock. He never turned back, becoming a staple in the Australian side and more importantly, the beat by which the great unit of the 1990s took its timing. Until he was replaced by Adam Gilchrist and until Gilchrist came of age, he was Australia’s greatest of all time. His glovework to Shane Warne, one of the most deceptive spinners of all time was immaculate. ‘Bowling Warnie’ became the signature sound coming through the microphone stumps when Australia were in the field. He was annoying to the opposition, always getting in an earful before each delivery and appealing for everything made batsmen feel they were always in trouble. Healy’s impact was incontrivertible, so much so that he beat wally Grout, Don Tallon and Rod Marsh to the Australian team of the 20th Century. But outside of that, Healy was also handy with the bat, eking out those extra runs the Australian side needed to get them over the line and in the ‘90s, they usually did.   

Career Statistics

Full name: Ian Andrew Healy

Born: April 30, 1964, Spring Hill, Brisbane, Queensland

Major teams: Australia, Queensland

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

Test Career: Australia (1988-1999)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave     BF       SR      100s    50s     Ct     St

119      182     23       4356   161*  27.39   8760    49.72       4      22      366    29

 

Career Highlights

  • Former record holder for most dismissals in Tests (1998-2007)
  • Scored 4356 runs at an average of 27.91
  • Produced 4 centuries and 22 half centuries from 182 Test innings
  • Joint 2nd most dismissals in a calendar year ( 67)

Adam Gilchrist is considered by many, the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman of all time. Gillie could bat anywhere from number-one to number seven in the Australian team, but would feature in the lower-order in Tests simply because he would need a break after wicketkeeping. His philosophy on batting was, “just hit the ball”. To prove the point, his strike rate of 81 in Tests was nothing short of remarkable. In fact, once Gilchrist hit the second ball of the second innings of a Test match for six. What was interesting about that feat, is he was sitting on a king pair. Only Mark Boucher of South Africa has scored more than 5,000 runs as a wicketkeeper in the history of the game. And while his glovework may not match Boucher’s, his 416 dismissals is no small feat and is only surpassed by the South African. His wicketkeeping, like his batting, was uncomplicated and it was rare to see Gilchrist flying to one side or another to take a catch, but his footwork was good. He was also blessed with the soft hands a wicketkeeper needs and never dropped very many.  

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Adam Craig Gilchrist

Born: November 14, 1971, Bellingen, New South Wales

Major teams: Australia, Deccan Chargers, ICC World XI, Kings XI Punjab, Middlesex, New South Wales, Western Australia

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

Height: 1.86 m

 

Test Career: Australia (1999-2008)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave     BF      SR       100s    50s   Ct     St

96        137    20       5570    204*  47.60   6796   81.95     17       26     379    37

Career Highlights

  • Most runs by a wicketkeeper in Tests (5570)
  • Most centuries by a wicketkeeper in Tests (17)
  • 2nd most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Tests (416)
  • 3rd best batting average for a wicketkeeper in Tests (47.61)

Known as "Nugget", Miller was the golden boy of his country's cricket in the years immediately following the second world war.

When Miller was on centre stage, people took notice. On firm pitches, he could bat, right-handed, with power and panache, driving and cutting as well as any.

He was capable of bowling fast, hostile spells, forming, with Ray Lindwall, a formidable new-ball partnership that produced 243 wickets, a combination bettered for Australia only by Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie. At slip, where he might stand casually upright with his hands behind his back or just plonked on his thighs, he could catch swallows.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Keith Ross Miller

Born: 28 November 1919

Place of Birth: Sunshine, Victoria, Australia

Died: 11 October 2004 (aged 84)

Place of Death: Mornington, Victoria, Australia

Height: 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)

Batting Style: Right-handed

Bowling Style: Right-arm fast

Role: All-rounder

 

Test Career (Batting) - Australia (1946-1956)

Mat        Inns       NO         Runs      HS           Ave        100         50                     

55           87           7           2958       147         36.97     7              13          

 

Test Career (Bowling) - Australia (1946-1956)

Mat    Inns    Balls     Runs   Wkts   BBI     BBM      Ave    Econ   SR    4w    5w   10w

55         95     10461    3906     170    7/60    10/152   22.97   2.24    61.5   8       7       1

 

Career Highlights

  • Royal Australian Air Force pilot during World War II
  • Tallied 2958 runs at an average of 36.97
  • Scored 7 hundreds and 13 fifties in 87 innings
  • Secured 170 wickets at 22.97

Known around the world as one of the most aggressive top-order batsmen, David Warner has destroyed bowling attacks over the years. He has been the vice-captain of Australia’s Test and ODI national teams between 2015 and 2018.

Warner made his Test debut against New Zealand in 2011. Ten days after his Test debut, he made his maiden Test century. For his performance in 2014, he was named in the World Test XI by ICC. Warner scored 418 runs in the 2015 Ashes, although Australia lost the series 3-2. In 2015, he was again named in the ICC World XI. Warner reached the 5000 Test runs mark in 2016.

Career Statistics 

Full name: David Andrew Warner

Born: 27 October 1986 (age 33)

Place of Birth: Paddington, Sydney

Height: 170 cm (5 ft 7 in)

Major teams: Australia, Australia A, Australia Centre of Excellence, Australia Under-19s, Australian Cricketers Association All-Stars, Australian Institute of Sport, Australian XI, Brad Haddin XII, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI, Delhi Daredevils, Durham, Middlesex, New South Wales, New South Wales Institute of Sport, New South Wales Second XI, New South Wales Under-19s, New South Wales Under-23s, Northern Districts, St Lucia Stars, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sydney Sixers, Sydney South East, Sydney Thunder, Sylhet Sixers, Winnipeg Hawks

Batting Style: Left-handed

Bowling Style: Right-arm leg-break/Right-arm medium

Role: Opening batsman

 

Test Career -  Australia (2011 - present)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs          HS     Ave      SR     100    50    

84     155     7      7244          335* 48.94 72.85   24     30

                                   

Career Highlights

  • ICC Test Team of the Year: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Allan Border Medal: 2016, 2017, 2020
  • Australian Test Player of the Year: 2016
  • Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year: 2012
  • He is the first Australian batsman to score 7 ODI centuries in a calendar year
  • Has the second highest individual score by an Australian, 335* in 2019 against Pakistan
  • Has scored the joint sixth-fastest hundred in Tests
  • His 24 career Test centuries have come as an opener
  • Only four batsmen have scored more centuries than Warner in the opening position

Standing at 6-foot, 4-inches, and generally half-way down the pitch, Matthew Hayden was a powerful, imposing opening batsman, who generally turn the tables on the intimidatory tactics of fast bowlers. To add to that, he was skillful too. Hayden scored hundreds at an alarming rate. Generally, if he got to 50, he would continue on to score a century. And, as his world-record performance at the time, 380 against Zimbabwe, he could also bat for a long time. At the end of 2001, Hayden broke Bob Simpson’s record for most runs in a calendar year. So impressive were his century-making skills, that Hayden would get to 20 centuries in just 55 Tests, and surpass Don Bradman’s 29 later. Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting are the only other Australians who can boast scoring more centuries, but neither can say, that they scored four centuries in a row, twice in their lifetime.

Career Statistics

Full name: Matthew Lawrence Hayden

Born: October 29, 1971, Kingaroy, Queensland

Major teams: Australia, Brisbane Heat, Chennai Super Kings, Hampshire, ICC World XI, Northamptonshire, Queensland

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Batting averages

         Mat    Inns    NO   Runs    HS    Ave        BF          SR      100   50

Tests   103    184    14      8625   380   50.73     14349    60.10      30     29

 

Achievements

Team: Australia (1994-2009)

  • Former record holder for highest individual Test score (2003-2004)
  • Highest score of 380 is Australia’s all-time record
  • Played all 184 Test innings as an opener
  • Scored 31 Test centuries, the third most by an opening batsman
  • His 8625 runs are the fourth-most by an opener in Tests

Rugby Australia (RA) interim CEO Rob Clarke wants a swift return to play and to get a handle on the organisation's financial state.

Clarke outlined his two key objectives at his first media conference in the role on Thursday, having met with board members on Zoom beforehand.

The former Brumbies and Rebels CEO has replaced Raelene Castle after her controversial reign came to an end last month.

He is in no doubt as to the scale of the task facing him, with rugby on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has had a huge monetary impact.

"There's a lot to be done," said Clarke. "The game has gone through a very, very challenging period and the first item on the agenda is to get ourselves playing around the country again.

"I'm delighted with the plans that have been put into place with the team here, we're well positioned for when the restrictions are lifted and will enable us to get rugby played at both a community level and a professional level as soon as we possibly can."

Clarke revealed proposals had been put to the Australian government for the sport to return, with July the earliest date play could resume at the elite level.

"[At the] professional level, our plans have been submitted to the government," he said.

"Assuming that restrictions are lifted as we hope in the next week or so, we would aim to be playing in possibly July with training starting in June, but of course it's all tied to restrictions.

"The government has our proposal and I hope they view it favourably and that will give us a rough time frame."

Prior to her departure, Castle announced provisional losses of $9.4million for RA in 2019, with a much larger deficit – reported as up to $120m ​– on the books for 2020 if rugby does not return this year.

Clarke, however, is hopeful a World Rugby bailout will ease RA's worries.

"That is something that is absolute priority, clearly the game is not in healthy financial shape, we know that, the exact details I'll get across in coming days," he said.

"I'm confident that World Rugby money is secure and that will be approved imminently and that goes a long way to relieving some immediate financial pressures. But I need a little bit more time to get under the numbers and understanding where we're at."

Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are talismanic figures who set the tone for their respective international sides, according to David Warner.

Australia's Smith and India's Kohli are two of the finest batsmen of their generation, occupying first and second spot respectively in the current Test rankings.

The duo are set to meet if India's tour of Australia – scheduled to begin in October – goes ahead, although significant doubt remains as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a threat.

If it should go ahead, Warner expects to see great things from the two leading men, who he says act as figureheads for their sides.

"When it comes to cricket, they both have got the mental strength, the mental capacity to score runs," Warner told Cricbuzz.

"They stabilise, they boost morale – if they score runs, everyone else's morale is up. If they are out cheaply, you almost sense that on the field that everyone is … [down on morale and thinking] now we all have to step up. It's a very bizarre situation.

"They both love spending time in the middle. Virat's passion and drive to score runs is different to what Steve's would be.

"Steve is going out there for a hit in the middle, that's how he sees things. He's hitting them out in the middle, he's having fun, he's enjoying himself, just does not want to get out.

"Virat, obviously, doesn't want to get out, but he knows if he spends a certain amount of time out there, he's going to score plenty of runs at a rapid rate.

"He's going to get on top of you. That allows the guys coming in [to play their own game], especially in the Indian team you've got a lot of players who can be flamboyant as well."

Rugby Australia (RA) director Peter Wiggs has resigned just over a month after joining the board.

Wiggs was elected as a director on March 30, but his resignation was confirmed on Wednesday.

The Supercars chairman was poised to become RA chairman before a fallout over his chief executive plans, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald.

In a statement, RA chairman Paul McLean said: "Peter has decided to step down from the board and I understand his reasons.

"He has undertaken some very important work and has made a valuable contribution to the organisation, in a very short time, and we are thankful for his contribution.

"The immediate priority of the board is to install a replacement for Peter, and an interim chief executive. I will provide an update on those matters at the appropriate time."

Marnus Labuschagne has made a stunning start to his Test and ODI careers and the Australia batsman is also eager to get his chance in the Twenty20 format.

Labuschagne, 25, earned a national contract last week after impressing in Tests and ODIs, formats of the game he averages 63.43 and 50.83 in respectively.

The right-hander has played just 10 T20s during his career, making 97 runs at 12.12, but is yet to represent Australia in the format.

However, Labuschagne is keen to star in all three formats for his country if he gets the chance.

"By no means do I want to limit myself to only those two formats. I definitely have ambition to play T20 cricket for Australia," he said in a video interview.

"Obviously my opportunities have been minimal and with the schedule it doesn't look like there might be too many other opportunities in that actual format.

"For me, it's about just scoring runs in one-day cricket and Test cricket for Australia and if I get opportunities down the road to make sure I take them.

"I think by no means do I want to restrict myself to being only a two-format player, I think there's definitely ambition and drive to play T20 cricket."

In 14 Tests, Labuschagne has already made 1,459 runs, while he already has an ODI ton in just seven games.

But the South Africa-born batsman said he felt no pressure to continue delivering.

"For me it's just about making sure that my processes, that I'm prepared, that I understand what the game requires and then to make decisions upon that," Labuschagne said.

"If that means that I get runs then that's great, and if that means I miss out for me it's just about going back to the chalkboard and understanding my game and making sure I continue to learn from that."

Usman Khawaja has revealed he is "very shocked" at the financial situation Cricket Australia (CA) finds itself in due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

CA stood down the vast majority of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year, with concerns over when international action will be able to resume.

Australia are due to stage the ICC T20 World Cup, as well as welcome India for a lucrative tour, yet their home schedule could be at risk because of the global health crisis.

Admitting it is disappointing how the situation has played out, Khawaja hopes CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) can work together to come through what he feels is a cash-flow problem that could have been avoided.

"I was very shocked. I knew our projections for revenue were still very high and I think they still are, depending on what happens with the India series," he told Fox Sports.

"It's a bit confusing. I don't have all the financial information in front of me, but it seems like it's more of a cash-flow problem at the moment.

"There's obviously a little bit of mismanagement there somewhere, with the portfolio and putting a lot of money into the share market.

"To me that's Business 101. To make sure you have enough cash reserves if c**p hits the fan.

"So I'm a little bit disappointed on that front ... but what's been done is done now, so it's just our responsibility as CA and ACA to work through this."

Khawaja was absent from the list of players to be handed national contracts by CA this week, having not played a Test since being dropped during the 2019 Ashes in England.

The left-hander, who averages over 40 in the longest format, still believes he is one of the best six batsmen in the country and feels the criticism of his play against spin is unjustified.

"Without sounding arrogant, I still feel like I'm one of the top six batsmen in the country," Khawaja said.

"My playing against spin has been right up there as some of the best in the county. Bar maybe Steve Smith, who is an absolute genius.

"But the most important thing is to score runs."

Unheralded West Indies middle-order batsman Larry Gomes has rated his century against India at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago as his best.

Australia have replaced India at the top of the ICC Test rankings and are also the number one Twenty20 side in the world.

India had been the top-ranked Test side since October 2016 but have dropped to third behind Tim Paine's men and New Zealand.

Australia lead the way with 116 points, with the Black Caps on 115 and Virat Kohli's side - still top of the Test Championship - amassing 114. South Africa dropped below Sri Lanka into sixth spot.

Results from 2016-17 were wiped off when the latest rankings were calculated, with matches played since May last year rated at 100 per cent and those from the previous two years 50 per cent.

Australia drew the Ashes series in England 2-2 last year before whitewashing Pakistan and New Zealand on home soil. 

There have been plenty of changes in the T20 order, with Australia rising to the summit for the first time since rankings were introduced in 2011.

They replace Pakistan, who slip to fourth, with England up to second and India into third.

World champions England have increased their advantage over India at the top of the ODI rankings to eight points.

Dave Rennie remains committed to taking over as Australia head coach despite the departure of CEO Raelene Castle last week.

Castle resigned her role at Rugby Australia after being told she no longer had the support of its board, with chairman Paul McLean later saying concerns over her mental well-being after "abhorrent" social media "bullying" played a part in the board's thinking.

Her departure led to speculation Rennie may reconsider his post, with Castle said to have been an influential factor in his decision to take the Wallabies' top job.

But Rennie, who was reportedly sounded out about replacing Steve Hansen as New Zealand coach, will join up with Australia, though when that might be remains a little unclear as the Glasgow Warriors coach awaits news on whether the Pro14 and European Champions Cup can resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am really gutted at the decision to move Raelene on," Rennie told reporters. 

"She is a big part of the reason I signed with Australia. I was really impressed by her. She had a real clean plan over what the next few years looked like.

"I am really disappointed. But she exited with dignity and class. I am disappointed with the decision but clearly I want a chat with the board and [to] get clarity over what the plan looks like now.

"I am still very committed and we have been doing a lot of work in and around preparation for when the new season comes around."

Rennie added that he remains in constant contact with RA over when exactly his job can begin, with travel restrictions in place due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

"I've been in constant contact - probably every second day I'm talking to people in Australia," Rennie added. 

"Scott Johnson [RA's director of rugby], who also played a big part in getting me over there, we're talking all the time. 

"We've got a management group that's trying to drive stuff and connect with Super Rugby coaches.

"The relationship with all Super Rugby clubs has been really good and has made a difference. We're all trying to work together to improve the athletes, especially when they're isolated."

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