Known throughout his career for maintaining an accurate line and length, McGrath's consistency enabled him to be one of the most economical and dangerous fast bowlers of his time. McGrath holds the world record for the highest number of Test wickets by a fast bowler and is fourth on the all-time list, with the top three wicket takers Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, and Anil Kumble all being spin bowlers. He has also taken the seventh-highest number of one day international wickets (381), and holds the record for the most wickets in the Cricket World Cup. McGrath announced his retirement from Test cricket on 23 December 2006, with his Test career coming to an end after the fifth Ashes test in Sydney in January 2007, whilst the 2007 World Cup marked the end of his one-day career, in which he won the man of the tournament award for his outstanding bowling which was instrumental in Australia winning the tournament.
McGrath later played for the Indian Premier League team of the Delhi DareDevils, and was one of the tournaments' most economical bowlers during its first season, but he saw no action in the second season, ultimately having his contract bought out.
McGrath is the director of MRF Pace Foundation, Chennai, replacing Dennis Lillee, who served for 25 years. He currently serves as the Co-Founder and President of the McGrath Foundation, a breast cancer support and education charity he founded with his deceased first wife, Jane.
McGrath, was honoured during the seventh annual Bradman Awards function in Sydney on November 1, 2012. He was inducted into ICC Hall of fame in January 2013.
He attracted international criticism for killing a number of animals during a safari in South Africa in 2015.