Mitchell Starc no longer a certainty for Ashes: Mark Taylor
"I no longer have him as a certainty for the Ashes, but as a probable."
Published - Feb 1, 2019 11:40 am | Updated - Feb 1, 2019 11:40 am
Former Australia skipper Mark Taylor feels struggling pacer Mitchell Starc is no more a certainty in the playing eleven for this year’s Ashes. Taylor’s comments have come in the wake of Starc’s poor displays with the ball in Tests. Despite being Australia’s pace spearhead, Starc has looked like a pale shadow of his former self. Whether in unsympathetic UAE conditions or more friendly conditions at home, Starc has not managed to rediscover his wicket-taking abilities.
With conditions in UAE unfavourable for pacers, he managed to pick up just four wickets. But any hopes of seeing him at his best in Australia met a disappointing end too. The left-arm pacer was one of Australia’s worst performers during the four-match series against India. He managed to take just 13 wickets in seven innings as Australia suffered their first-ever Test series loss at home against India.
He failed to find his form against Sri Lanka too. While his bowling partner Pat Cummins was at his devastating best against the Islanders in the series-opener, Starc struggled. Cummins ended the game with 10 wickets while Starc only had two wickets to show. The two-wicket game saw his average falling down to 46.68 since the tour of Pakistan in October last year.
And with Starc’s struggles showing no signs of coming to an end, Taylor believes the pacer would struggle to break into the playing eleven during the upcoming Ashes in England. “Australia’s Big Three fast bowlers is on the verge of becoming a Big Two. Mitchell Starc’s membership is in danger of being revoked. This has not been a great summer for the big quick which is why it’s so important he gets something out of the final Test of the season,” Taylor wrote in a column for Fairfax.
Taylor further recalled Starc’s performance in the last tour of England and doubted that the pacer would be an automatic selection in the playing eleven.
“I no longer have him as a certainty for the Ashes, but as a probable. My issue with him in England is his inability to maintain pressure. He took a bag of six and five in 2015 but he leaked four to five runs an over in those innings and Australia lost comfortably. His higher run rate places extra pressure on the other two quicks to keep it tight,” he wrote.
Paine backs Starc
Starc, meanwhile, have received some much-needed support from his skipper Tim Paine. With Cummins’ stunning form coinciding with Starc’s poor run, the call to hand over the new-ball duties to the former has increased. However, Paine, on Thursday (January 31), said that Starc would continue to be Australia’s new-ball bowler.
“We’ve used Starcy (Starc) for a long time with the new ball and we think he is still our best new-ball bowler when he gets it right, so we’ll always give him the first few,” Paine told the reporters. “Hopefully he can swing a few and if he does we know he is more than likely to get an early breakthrough. What we have done is brought Pat on a lot earlier than what we have done in the past.”
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