But ever so often the odd quotable McGrath quote would kick off from a length and leave you puzzled like English batsmen facing him. As a general rule these teasingly boastful statements, an integral part of Steve Waugh's 'mental disintegration' package, come as declaration of his 'targets' ahead of an important series or tournament. You do not quite know what to make of those.
One moment you take the outrageously cocky words to be tongue-in-cheek exercises in promoting self-confidence. The very next you wonder if there is a serious observation concealed in it. That confusion would not have popped up if the words had come from anyone else but McGrath; such observations would then easily pass off as good jokes. Not so when this man speaks out.
In the depths of your heart and from the pages of memory you know that McGrath knows a thing or two about measuring up to wildest of dreams. His 'Lara' declaration ahead of the 2000 Test series Down Under comes to mind. This 2005 interview catches that cocky side of his.
Are you thinking of his famous '5-nil' forecast ahead of 2005 Ashes? That was one rare occasion when his prediction seemed to go awry but NOW we know he was planning long term, don't we?
And now we also know why Mick Jagger, a die-hard English cricket buff, said this about The Pigeon last season:
"That Glenn McGrath ... what a bastard."
Sample this latest one from McGrath:
McGrath, who has 342 one-day wickets, has achieved almost everything during his 13-year career but he still wants to complete a perfect game. "Basically it means I bowl every ball where I want to bowl, and everything I try comes off," he told the paper. "The closest I came was the first game in New Zealand in 2005.
"I reckon there was one ball I would've changed. The rest I was happy with." McGrath had figures of 4 for 16 from 9.4 overs as Australia won by 10 runs.
"It's still always the ultimate goal to play the perfect game. I haven't achieved that yet and that's what I'm always striving for. It would be great to bowl it in the World Cup final, but if not, at least I'm always trying to improve."
Knowing of his impending retirement, this must be one of the very last pearls to emerge from the larynx that sledged countless rival batsmen. And knowing him, I would be least surprised to find his team playing the 2007 World Cup final and him bowling 8.5 overs in it for 10 runs and six final scalps. The perrrrfect game.
We end this lookback on Glenn Donald McGrath's verbal volleys with a genuine gem he unleashed around the same time last season as that '5-nil' bait:
"To me body language is the biggest key, and that is one thing Australia does so well. .......It's easy to get yourself going and be aggressive when things are going well. To date they [England] haven't shown any of that when they've been under the pump, and I think that's the time for a true team to really lift and turn things around."
That last line is so true, Glenn.
[Read the earlier 'Metronome' post here]