Been around long enough, been dropped enough and probably dropped the most in this squad: Mitchell Starc
Australia won the first Test at Edgbaston by two wickets.
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Australia got their Ashes 2023 campaign off to a great start as they beat England by two wickets in the opening game at Edgbaston. Ahead of the game, captain Pat Cummins took a tough call of dropping their star seamer Mitchell Starc to make way for Josh Hazlewood, who recovered from an injury. Hazlewood missed the World Test Championship 2023 final against India at the Oval and was replaced by Scott Boland, who was Australia’s best bowler during the game.
Hence, coming into the first Test, the team management had to make the tough call of dropping their premier seamer. Reacting to his snub in the first game, Starc said that he’s used to it now, playing in England and it’s not something new to him.
"I'm used to it now coming to England. It's a squad mentality, much the same as last time. Been around long enough, been dropped enough. Probably dropped the most in this squad. Not something new to me, won't be the last time, either. It's never fun, everyone wants to play,” Starc was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
During the 2019 Ashes played in England, Starc failed to fit into the team’s combination and could play just one game at Old Trafford during the series. However, Starc could possibly find a place in the second Test which will be played at Lord’s from Wednesday, June 28, as seamer Scott Boland did not look at his best during the first game.
But a good covering of grass on the pitch on Day 1 could tilt the balance in favour of Boland. The other way for Starc to find a place in the team is if the team management decides to rest Hazlewood, as he’s just recovered from an injury.
Starc picked nine wickets in two matches at Lord's during 2019 CWC
Notably, Starc was a part of Australia’s squad for the WTC final 2023, which was played ahead of the Ashes at the Oval. The seamer looked out of rhythm during the Test and picked four wickets, leaking runs at over five runs per over. Reflecting on the game, Starc said that he came into the game feeling pretty good but lost his rhythm during the game.
"I came into that game feeling pretty good, but my rhythm wasn't quite there. It's been a good couple of weeks of work to get back into that rhythm. We were all better for the run after that Test final at The Oval and I certainly feel less clunky than I did throughout the game,” Starc added.
With 1-0 up in the series, it will be interesting to see if Australia does change their winning combination for the second Test. The Lord’s pitch is expected to produce more pace and bounce than what was seen in Birmingham, which could tempt Australia to pick Starc, as he’s had an excellent record at the venue in ODIs. During the 2019 World Cup, the 33-year-old picked nine wickets in two matches against England and New Zealand at the venue.