McGrath fires first salvo, starts mind games with Tendulkar

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New Delhi, Oct 8 (UNI) Known for playing mind games against opponents on and off the cricket field, star Australian medium pacer Glenn McGrath fired the first salvo in the run up to the Champions Trophy this time aiming at Sachin Tendulkar saying that the master blaster from Mumbai must have enjoyed the on-field confrontations with him.

''I love the (on-field) confrontations with Sachin. He must also be enjoying it. He was smiling the last time around,'' McGrath said of the recent contest with Tendulkar in the Malaysia tri-series.

''Sachin is one of the best batsmen in the world. I love bowling at him. Whenever I bowl to him, I have a gameplan in my mind how to dismiss him. On some occasions I won and on others he won. But over the years, it has been in the good spirit,'' McGrath told reporters in a media interaction here today.

India and Australia play on October 29 in Mohali with England and one qualifier making up the four-team Pool 'A'.

McGrath, who has taken 332 wickets from 225 one-dayers so far, said India was the most difficult place to play for bowlers ''as the pitches here are flat and more spin-friendly.'' ''Here fast bowlers have to work hard and what I try to do in India is to put the ball in the right areas, '' the 36-year-old pacer from New South Wales said.

''That is where the experience of senior players counts and the younger lot have to learn from seniors on how to cope with conditions here.'' The world's highest Test wicket taker also said he was never in doubt of his place in the Aussie side when he took a break from cricket due to his wife's cancer treatment, but said that was a blessing in disguise to take rest and recharge batteries.

McGrath, who took just two wickets from three matches in the Malaysia tri-series recently, said he was not disappointed with his show there.

''I was not disappointed by my performance as I had not thought of hitting my best after a long lay off. My goal is to improve with each match. I will be happy if I achieve 90 to 95 percent of my top form in this tournament.'' McGrath, who has already begun playing mind games against England players including captain Andrew Flintoff and spinner Monty Panesar in the run up to the Ashes which starts on November 23, said Australia were not thinking of the coveted urn right now and were instead focused on winning the Trophy.

''It will be good for Australia not to think of Ashes series for the moment and concentrate on winning this tournament,'' he said.


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