Originally Posted by Noble One
Maybe the key question is, when was McGrath at his absolute peak? I find it hard to pick out a single season from his entire career he was that consistent.
I'd say McGrath was @ his ulitmate peak between SA 96/97 (Centurion test) to Ashes 2002/03 (MCG Test). He was his usual metronmoic accurate self but was capable of bowling in the high 80s consistently & a few times he may have touched 90 mph, during that period.
Pre SA 96/97 of course he had the period of WI 94/95 - WI 96/97 where he had just become test quality - but no-one was calling him a great yet then during this breakout period. Then post Ashes 2002/03 (when he had the injury in the 4th test) - Ashes 06/07 when he still had the metronomic accuracy of SA 96/97 - Ashes 02/03 - but he was basically now medium pace (80-83 mph, sometimes under 75-79 range). During this Ashes 02/03-Ashes 06/07, he had that period in 2003 when he came back from injury after the 02/03 Ashes & WC 2003 triumph where during the WI & BANG test he looked absolutely woeful in those series & missed the remainder of 03 & most of 2004.I rememvber the selectors & commentators where questioning his place in the side during that injury lay-off. Before pigeon cam back vs SRI 04 with an immediate 5 wicket haul & straight through until Ashes 06/07 retirement - continued to proved his greatness. But McGrath certainly did have a peak.