It was the 1996 world cup semifinal at Mohali. It was a day and night match. I watched the Australians settle for 207. Not a big score, and considering that Australia were not as formidable as they are today and West Indies were in much better shape than the are in the present. The score was 165/2 in about 32 overs, when the power went off, as is the custom in many Indian cities at the dawn of summer. I took off for my dinner in hope that West Indies will face Srilanka in the finals and restore themselves to the glory days of the past. With great difficulty I could tune in to the live commentary on AIR. It was Warne to Richardson and the score was 180 odd runs for 6 and we were into the forties. Unbelievable!!, from the jaws of victory, West Indies were snatching defeat. I was very confident that Richardson will see them through this without difficulty. I was wrong, the mercurial bowling from Warne was mind boggling. Listening to the commentary on the radio (a soul that was used to watching live action) was in it self a hair raising experience, and hearing to the commentators describe Warne's action on field is something I can never forget. It was simply marvelous. I have seen him bowl up teem number of times but that memory of the 1996 world cup semifinal is what Warne brings back .
The memories with McGrath are also from the World Cup, this time its the 2003 World Cup at Wanderers in South Africa. India received a thumping from Ponting and Australia posted a mammoth target of 340 for victory. Both the sides need a great start. Tendulkar who was in an ominous form throughout the tournament made his intentions clear with a boundary. Not one to be left behind McGrath struck back with his usual probing deliveries. It was a match of two greats, I was with a few hundred other students watching the match on the big screen in the college auditorium. The auditorium was roaring both and on and off screen. It was an electrifying atmosphere. McGrath was tracking back his run up after the fourth ball of the first over. In less a minute it was silence all around, it was deafening. The sticklers of the game may say it was not perfect, but it did achieve something. The line and length just outside the off stump, that he bowls so consistently, I many a times get carried away "isn't it simple", only to be brought back when I see all those who struggle to bowl a decent line and length.
These two bowlers, cricketers may not epitomize our image of greats, who are modest of their achievements, who are down to earth, in essence Gentleman. But, who cares, I don't they have lived their cricketing life on their terms and played a great part in a great era for Cricket as a whole and Australian Cricket in particular.