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Australian fast bowling legend Glenn McGrath believes young Indian sensation Basil Thampi can achieve great things in the future and singled him out as India’s brightest pace bowling prospect for the future.
Speaking at a function held in Chennai to mark the silver jubilee of the association between the MRF Pace Foundation, where McGrath is working as the Director, and Cricket Australia, the 47-year-old feels India presently have a good strength in depth in the fast bowling department.
"The Indian attack has very good bowlers now and the emergence of names like Basil Thampi and a few others is only going to help the team in the long run," he said. "He has come on very well. His performances in IPL this year won him the Emerging Player award and he has learned a lot at the academy."
As for his opinion on who the best fast bowler in the world was at the moment, McGrath named countryman Mitchell Starc as the one who stood out from the rest.
"His (Starc’s) ability to bowl attacking lengths with the new ball and reverse the older ball at over 150 kph makes him a difficult proposition for batsmen,” McGrath said.
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Thampi’s rise to fame has been phenomenal, to say the least, as he justified the price tag of Rs 85 lakh paid by Gujarat Lions at the 2017 IPL auction by winning the ‘Emerging Player of the Season’ award at the end of the tournament.
He claimed 11 wickets from 12 matches and impressed one and all with his ability to bowl yorkers and the consistent high pace of his deliveries. He was rewarded for his fine performances as he was named in the India A squad for the tour to South Africa.
McGrath has overseen the rise of many promising young fast bowlers at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai where he started out as a trainee and as many as three pacers (Thampi, Ankit Rajpoot, and Aniket Choudhary) have been named in the India A squad for the tour to South Africa later this month.
In his interaction to the media after his selection for the tour was announced in June, Thampi had spoken at length about the guidance he was receiving from McGrath and the Australian is very much impressed with the hard-work the youngster is putting in.
McGrath is delighted with the five years he has spent as coach at the foundations and wants India and Australia to continue the mutual association of helping fast bowlers from both countries learn from the best in the game.
Along with McGrath, former Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris is also working as a coach at the MRF Pace Foundation and though still early days after the transition from a player, he is enjoying every bit of the challenge and wants to help inspire more Indian youngsters to take up the art of fast bowling.
Basil Thampi would be hoping that the lively pitches in South Africa will assist his bowling and help him continue his push for a berth in the Indian cricket team in the near future.
With India enjoying a healthy competition for places among the fast bowlers with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and many others making their calls for inclusion, Thampi has a tough task at hand but it is something that McGrath feels the Kerala youngster can definitely achieve.
Dwayne Bravo was one of the first high profile cricketers to declare Basil Thampi as a future Indian prospect and the youngster didn’t fail in creating a good first impression at the 2017 IPL as he won the prestigious Emerging Player Award.
But praise from a legend of the game like Glenn McGrath is something which will give Thampi huge confidence and having worked under him for quite some time at the MRF Pace Foundation, the youngster certainly seems to have learnt a few tricks from the master and Indian fans would be hoping that he fulfils his potential and script a success story like that of Jasprit Bumrah.