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Great to see Mitchell Starc back in action for the ODI Tri-Series in the Carribean and he looked in good touch too. He had good shape and pace, and best of all there were no reports of niggles in the ankle.
I read an article around the time of the World Cup last year about his early days at the Western Suburbs Cricket Club. Apparently, he turned up on a trail as a 15-year-old, 190cm wicket keeper…. You heard right, a wicket keeper. Head coach and mentor to Michael Clarke, Neil D’Costa asked Starc to roll the arm over a few times. Starc replied with something to the effect of ‘I don’t bowl, I’m a keeper.’
D’Costa said ‘Mate, you are the tallest keeper I’ve ever seen, I’m the head coach here, so grab a ball and let’s see what you have got.’
As they say, the rest is history. It must have been a proud day for everyone involved with his transformation when he cleaned up McCallum in the first over the World Cup Final.
I had felt for Starc getting ‘rested’ early on in his career for both a Boxing Day and Lords Test even when his form was all right. Since Lehman took over as head coach the rotating door has slowed, and in reality, it has more been a natural procession depending on who is fit. This has been ideal for Starc.
He has said previously that he is the kind of guy who needs to play game after game to get his bearings. We have seen the results with his ODI form. Once he knows his exact role in the team, he flourishes. His on again / off again test career hadn’t helped him figure that out.
I’m pumped to see him back on the team, and I’m sure Sri Lanka don’t share my excitement. We have a big summer coming up with Pakistan and South Africa bringing serious bowling attacks out. I think if we have played well and have the series sorted 2-0 with one to go, Starc will get rested. It would be great if he can do the six home tests straight through with Hazlewood.
Prediction: At least one five-wicket haul, getting better each innings.
Statistics Source: ESPNCricinfo
Check out our full ‘Under the Microscope’ series profiles covering other Aussie players such as Usman Khawaja, Jackson Bird, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Josh Hazlewood. And Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal, Shaminda Eranga and Ragana Herath.