Brisbane: Former Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott has turned the fortunes of national squad around in a little over a year.
Toiling at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane and as the national team`s bowling coach, McDermott has ensured that in the 11 Tests that he has been present, Australia has bowled out its opponent for 201 or less 14 times and conceded 300-plus just four times.
In its last seven Tests alone, Australian bowlers have taken 140 wickets, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
McDermott says that his primary aim is to create the world`s fittest bowling squad.
“Fit bowlers can bowl longer spells and, mentally and physically, they`re able to hold their actions better,” he said.
“Therefore, they`re more consistent in where they put the ball,” he adds.
Now, Australia has plentiful and fit reserves. As he speaks, McDermott runs his eye down a long list. One name, a long way down for now, is his son, Alister, who is making headway for Queensland.
McDermott has been successful in remodeling the Australian pace attack.
Moving away from the golden standard of Glenn McGrath, McDermott says McGrath’s advantage was his height of six feet five inches and his impeccable control over line and length. Add to that was the bounce he got off the wicket.
He admits that not everybody has those attributes, and believes that only Mitchell Starc comes anywhere close to McGrath.
McDermott has preached what he practiced in the 71 Tests he played for Australia. Essentially, it was to pitch one-and-half metres fuller and allow the ball to swing.
Back of a length, he said, two things were liable to happen - firstly, the ball had less time to swing. Secondly, if it seamed, by the time it reached the batsman it had deviated too far to catch an edge.
“This stuff hasn`t changed since W G Grace. If you`re bowling a fuller length, and you`re moving the ball, the batsman`s got less time to make a decision about how much it has moved and you`ve got a better chance of getting a nick,” he believes.
McDermott has altered Peter Siddle`s action, but did not reveal how - and shifted his line. He also impressed on Pattinson the need to bowl fuller.
But the greatest transformation he wrought was on Hilfenhaus. “He was down on pace last year,” McDermott said.
“He was bowling around his body a lot, rather than getting up and over his front leg. We did some work adjusting the place of his front foot.”
The outcome was there for all to see. Hilfenhaus` outswinger to dismiss Sehwag, the first wicket of the rout in Perth, should be donated to science. It was one of 27 for him in the series. Now, he has a one-day five-for as well.
McDermott believes out of favour Mitchell Johnson still has a part to play in the national squad.
“He`s another 145km/h man. He`s going to be swinging the ball for WA (Western Australia) soon and - who knows - maybe Australia again,” said McDermott.
He believes that captain Michael Clarke`s faith in the bowlers is also very important for the mental make-up of the squad.
“If you don`t have a captain who supports the blokes pitching the ball up - and being driven on the odd occasion - you can`t set a field to take the catches,” he said.
McDermott thrives on coaching, but is glad not to be a selector.