'It’s one of the hardest balls to face' - Steve Smith suggests gameplan for Mitchell Starc after initial IPL 2024 struggles

Mitchell Starc has conceded 100 runs from eight overs since his return to the IPL and failed to pick up a wicket.

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Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc
Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc. (Source -Getty Images)

Mitchell Starc's much-awaited return to the Indian Premier League (IPL) after a gap of nine years has been far from memorable. In the first couple of games, he has gone wicketless and has conceded 100 runs.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) struggled last season with their death bowling and to address the issue, they roped in Starc for a record-breaking amount of INR 24.75 crore. While there is no doubting Starc's credibility as a death-over specialist, the left-arm seamer has just not been able to hit the ground running in IPL 2024. The yorkers haven't been executed to perfection and the short balls have been handled with aplomb by the batters he has come across. Also, with the new ball, he hasn't been able to deliver.

Also Read: ‘More expensive than a beer in Iceland’ - Iceland Cricket hilariously troll Mitchell Starc after another subpar showing in IPL 2024

KKR won their second game in a row against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday, March 29. Starc, however, returned with forgettable figures of 0/47 in his four overs. His Australian teammate, Steve Smith, who is on Star Sports' expert panel for the coverage of IPL 2024, noted that the veteran speedster is trying to take the ball across the right-handed batters. However, the former Aussie captain opined that he could be much more lethal if he tries to swing the ball back into them.

“I think today (against Royal Challengers Bengaluru) he was looking to wobble the ball across the right-handed batter, which is a good option, but I feel like he’s got to swing it back down the line. He is a left-hand fast bowler who can bowl at 145+ KMPH. There’s nothing like a ball swinging back into a right-handed batsman. It’s one of the hardest balls to face. So I’d like to see that first and use that one as a variation to trying to nick off from them," Smith told Star Sports.

Also Read: Shot of the Day - Virat Kohli launches Mitchell Starc over deep mid wicket with wristy flick

Once he starts getting that inswing, he will be a bowler to watch out for throughout the IPL: Irfan Pathan

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan also shared the same opinion as Smith regarding Starc's recipe to success. The 39-year-old reckoned that there could be several reasons behind the pacer's indifferent start to IPL 2024. However, Irfan stated that if Starc starts bringing the ball back into the right-handed batters, he would be the bowler to watch out for.

“Starc is at his best when he is swinging the ball in. When that looping swing starts to the right-hand batter, it can be lethal. And I haven’t seen that in the last two games. The head could just be staying on the ball a bit more, or it could just be the pitches, or it could just be getting used to Indian conditions. Once he starts getting that inswing, he will be a bowler to watch out for throughout the IPL," Irfan said.

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