It was one of the most heated and unsavoury exchanges ever seen on a cricket field... Back in 2003, Aussie fast-bowling legend Glenn McGrath had been dispatched for 21 runs in two overs; his frustration boiled over into a homophobic "sledge" aimed at West Indian batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan.
The retort was a pretty standard cliché which mentioned McGrath's wife...
The giant Australian continued walking away for a couple of paces, then turned and squared up to the diminutive Sarwan, raging that if he ever mentioned his wife again, he would rip out the young West Indian's throat... actually it was his “f***ing throat”, but that's by the by...
On the surface, it seems unreasonable for McGrath to try his hand at verbal intimidation and then run to the umpire because he didn't care for the reply, but there was far more to the situation than met the eye...
Jane Steele was born in Devon in 1966; she first met her future husband Glenn McGrath in a Hong Kong nightclub during 1995 and the couple eventually married four years later.
Jane first learned she had breast cancer in 1997 (during Australia's Ashes tour of England), but after a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she was given the "all clear" the following year and fears that the treatment had left Jane sterile proved unfounded as she gave birth to two children, named James and Holly...
Sadly, the cancer returned... bone cancer in her hip was diagnosed in 2003; yet again Jane survived, but a brain tumour was then detected some three years later. Although the tumour was successfully surgically removed and Jane went into remission, she became gravely ill after complications following yet more surgery...
Jane McGrath passed away on this day in 2008. She was aged just 42.
In 2002, Glenn and Jane McGrath set up their own foundation to help raise money towards breast cancer research and for the training of nurses. Jane continued to work tirelessly even during the times when she was fighting battles of her own; her dedication to campaigning and raising the profile of cancer was inspirational... to the extent that both her and her husband were awarded the Australia Medal for their charitable work.
For Glenn McGrath, one of the finest bowlers the game of cricket has ever seen, life must go on; he has recently remarried, but remains heavily involved with the McGrath Foundation: the annual "Pink Test" took place at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January this year; pink stumps and bat handles were on view as the world of cricket celebrated the life and work of Jane McGrath, the very special woman to whom this blog is dedicated.
Jane McGrath (4th May 1966-22nd June 2008).
All my own work... almost.