New Delhi: Craig McDermott burst on to the scene in the mid 1980s and was part of the revival in Australian cricket under Allan Border.
Being the leader of the pack which included the likes of Merv Hughes, Terry Alderman, Bruce Reid and Mile Whitney, the big Queenslander played a major role in Australia being crowned world champions in the subcontinent in 1987.
The combination of pace, bounce and movement brought McDermott 291 wickets in 71 wickets. With a classic side-on action, which aided out-swingers, he could run through any batting line-up.
After his playing days, he turned to coaching and was instrumental in the 4-0 thrashing that Australia gave India in 2011-12. He made the likes of James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Starc pitch the ball up and get all modes of dismissal into play.
Now after a short break, McDermott is back with the national side as fast bowling coach, plotting England’s downfall. The attack which could not prevent a 0-3 defeat in the United Kingdom seems rejuvenated and has sown seeds of doubt in the minds of a few England batsmen. None of the three Aussie speedsters in action in Brisbane can be termed a spring chicken. Ryan Harris is 34, Mitchell Johnson 32 and Peter Siddle 28.
But they made the likes of James Anderson (31), Stuart Broad (27) and Chris Tremlett (32) decidedly pedestrian in comparison.
McDermott, skipper Michael Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann have also put their heads together and devised specific plans against particular batsmen.
Hence, Jonathan Trott was tormented with short-pitched stuff aimed at the body, captain Alastair Cook tested around the off stump while Kevin Pietersen was given nothing to hit. This sort of homework was absent during the Ashes series in England, and McDermott’s influence is evident.
He came into the Australian set-up when the team was trying to recover after the retirement of greats like Greg Chappell, Rodney Marsh and Dennis Lillee, as also the impact of rebel tours. McDermott saw the dark days and was very much a part of the revival.
History is repeating itself as the Aussies try to recreate the glory days under Clarke. An Ashes triumph would be just the tonic the present team needs.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
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