Australia vs India: Mitchell Johnson lends a helping hand to Mitchell Starc before Perth Test

"I've already sent him a couple of text messages."

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Anwesha Nag

Jr. Staff Writer

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Mitchell Johnson offers to help his former team-mate and namesake Mitchell Starc ahead of the second Test of Australia’s four-match series against India. Johnson, who happens to be the fifth-highest wicket-taker for Australia in tests, feels that Starc is missing something about his usual bowling self, and he is very much willing to help the left-armer find it back.

Starc managed only a couple of wickets in first innings and three in the second in the recently-concluded first Test in Adelaide, which India won by 31 runs. In the past one year as well, Starc has not lived up to the level of performance that is usually expected from the Aussie spearhead, and a big reason for that is his recurring injuries.

He has managed 29 test wickets from eight matches with an average of 32.62, while Nathan Lyon (46 from 10 matches), Pat Cummins (40 from 8 matches) and Josh Hazlewood (30 from 8 matches) have all claimed more during the same span of time.

“It just looked like there was something on his mind…”

Johnson thinks it is nothing that cannot be fixed, and he very much wants to be of help in that before the commencement of the second Test in Perth on Friday, December 14. “Everyone operates in a different way and I’ve already sent him a couple of text messages to see if he wants to catch up and have a chat about things because I have worked with him in the past and you get to know people really well.

It just looked like there was something on his mind, something’s not quite clicking. We’ll sit down hopefully before the Perth test match starts,” Johnson stated on BBC’ Stumps podcast.

The wicket in Perth

Talking of Perth, Johnson mentioned how the bounce in the WACA wicket should help Starc get back his usual aggressive spark. “It’s probably going to be a pretty quick and bouncy wicket as well. That could really get (Starc) alive and going,” he remarked.

“All I would say to him is he’s just got to have that belief in himself and get involved in the game and I guess, have that presence. I know what he’s capable of. He’s just not swinging the ball at the moment. I feel like he might be slightly underdone. He has been out with injuries and he’s sort of come back. I don’t feel like he’s got the rhythm at the moment,” Johnson mentioned.

Johnson went on to describe how Starc usually is on the field when he is at his best, and it is that body language which is missing the most right now. “The Mitchell Starc I know, he runs in, he’s got that real good rhythm in his run-up, he’s running in fast, he’s got that presence about him, he has a good follow through where he’s in the batsman’s face, he’s involved in the game. We’re just not seeing that,” he added.

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