On being benched in the T20 World Cup, Starc “had strong opinions.”

Nov 23, 2022

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SYDNEY, Australia – Mitchell Starc has made it clear that he was disappointed to not be included in what ended up being Australia’s final T20 World Cup match against Afghanistan, but he still aspires to be a member of the team traveling to the USA and the West Indies in 2024.

Starc, who had previously been demoted from his usual new-ball role in what had been described as a change of tactics, was benched for the crucial game in Adelaide earlier this month in favor of Kane Richardson.

Australia only defeated England by four runs, hence to go to the semi-finals, Sri Lanka had to defeat England, which did not happen. The choice about Starc became the center of attention for the post-tournament controversy.

Starc acknowledged he had honest conversations with chair of selectors George Bailey after his four-wicket haul in the second ODI against England, which included a devastating swinging delivery to remove Dawid Malan. However, he did not go into detail about what was discussed.

He said, “George and I spoke, and that is where it will stay. I spoke with George extensively; it was a wonderful conversation, and a lot of different things were floated there. I had strong thoughts on it, and that’s where it is.

Starc said the upcoming World Cup in the format was down the list of his immediate thoughts, but it remained on the radar because Australia wasn’t scheduled to play another T20 match until August in South Africa.

Although there would be a long wait before the next one and a lot of time has passed, he stated, “I still have hopes to play T20 cricket for Australia.” So, when we go there, we will address that.

Having the fresh ball in his hands during the one-day series against England was brought up by Starc in a pointed manner. His biggest contribution to the T20 World Cup came against Ireland in the fifth over when the ball unexpectedly shaped at the Gabba, when he took two wickets. He then went on to give up 43 runs in the following three overs.

After a few overs, the white ball doesn’t swing as much, he claimed. “If I do open the bowling, I bowl quickly and swing it and try to hit the stumps. It’s wonderful to take a new one and swing it, and obviously it is a job I have performed for a very long time, so nice to have that part again tonight.

It swung at the Gabba in the fifth over, which is unusual for a white ball now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t swing in a different role. I was given a different role for the World Cup, and apart from the first over of the first game and a few balls here and there, I think I handled it well.

However, Starc’s T20 statistics have declined recently. Because of the difficult scheduling for the BBL and his choice to forego playing in the IPL, all his outings in the format since 2015 have been at the international level. He acknowledges that by choosing not to play in India, he may have slowed the improvement of his game, but he is content with the decision he made.

“You can’t just sit there and say “he should go to the IPL” because he’d be a better T20 bowler. What are the drawbacks? Do I give away the format of the game because I’m playing 12 months a year? In my mind, I don’t regret any of those decisions not to go. I wouldn’t change it.

“I feel like especially last year, if I take my Test cricket from the last 12 to 18 months, and how that’s benefited from the break that I’ve had through IPL periods, that’s paid for itself I guess. It’s always been my decision, and that is part of the reason that I do it, to give myself that break physically and mentally. And on the other side of it, it’s to see and spend time with my wife [Alysaa Healy] away from cricket.

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