Kabir looks to McGrath for Ashes inspiration

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The Independent Online

Kabir learnt a great deal from McGrath, who is one wicket away from 500 in Test cricket, when the Australian spent the entire 2000 campaign with Worcestershire. The 24-year-old is in the England squad for the game against Ricky Ponting's side, although unlikely to feature in the starting XI. He will, however, be casting a keen eye at the weekend over his former team-mate, who has shown signs of recapturing his best form after, as has been the case with most of the Australians, a ring-rusty start to the summer.

Kabir said: "I learnt a lot off Glenn and picked up some really good advice while he was at Worcester. He spent around six months at New Road and we got on really well. He's a fiery character on the pitch and hates losing or not performing well, but away from the action he is one of the nicest guys I've ever met.

"He really helped to take my bowling forward and improve my overall game. Just watching somebody like him up close was a great learning curve for me. He is still a great bowler, the cricketer I admire most along with Wasim Akram, and for anyone to get 500 Test wickets is a fantastic achievement."

Kabir may have been temporarily overtaken in the one-day team by Jonathan Lewis and Chris Tremlett, despite being England's leading wicket-taker in the winter series with South Africa. He was apparently earmarked to play in the Twenty20 game with Australia before a poor display in the warm-up game with Hampshire and has been overlooked since. But Kabir is hoping he can play some part in the Ashes series.

Kabir said: "I have got no specific targets as regards the Ashes, but I would love to show Glenn this summer just what I have learnt.

"I've been really lucky during my time at Worcestershire in whom I have been working with. In the last few months I've been working with Chaminda Vaas, before that I had Allan Donald for a while, and now Shoaib Akhtar is around.

"What happened in South Africa gave me a lot of confidence and experience. I know I'm still a newcomer to the international set-up and I would expect them to come after me if I play.

"They would target me but I'm up for the challenge. People talk about their players but we've got star quality as well," Kabir said.