Starc airs grievances over World Cup axe

Australian paceman Mitchell Starc underlined his white-ball new-ball quality with two quick wickets against England at the SCG.

Australian paceman Mitchell Starc underlined his white-ball new-ball quality with two quick wickets against England at the SCG. Photo: AP

Mitchell Starc says he has “strong opinions” over Australia’s decision to axe him for its T20 World Cup match against Afghanistan, adamant he wants to be part of the shortest-format team.

Starc sent a clear message in Australia’s series-clinching one-day win over England at the SCG on Saturday night, claiming figures of 4-47 in the 72-run win.

Handed back the new ball after losing it early in the T20 World Cup before being dropped, the left-armer swung the Kookaburra early and took two wickets in the opening over.

Australia’s decision to leave Starc out against Afghanistan remains one of the most controversial calls in recent memory, with the host’s tournament on the line and a big win needed.

Coach Andrew McDonald and selector George Bailey claimed the decision was around death bowling, preferring Kane Richardson over the world’s former No.1-ranked ODI bowler.

The likes of Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Mark Waugh, Glenn McGrath and Ian Healy have been among those to be critical of the call, pointing to Starc’s record as a noted wicket-taker.

Voiced his opinions to selector George Bailey

Speaking for the first time since the axing, Starc stopped short of slamming the decision but made clear he had voiced his opinions in a conversation with Bailey.

“George and I have spoken and that is where it will stay,” Starc said.

“I had strong opinions on it and had a conversation, and that’s where it is.”

Asked whether he wanted to return to the T20 team at the 2024 World Cup, Starc indicated he did while noting it was nine months to Australia’s next game in the format.

“Yeah, why not?” he said.

“I spoke to George at length, it was a good conversation. Many different things were floated there.

“I still have ambitions to play T20 cricket for Australia but it is a long time to the next one and a lot of water to go under the bridge.

“So we will face that when we get to that.”

Defended Australia’s T20 World Cup defence

Regardless, Starc defended Australia’s failed campaign, arguing that it had lost as many games as when it lifted the trophy one year earlier in the United Arab Emirates.

He also defended his own bowling, claiming it had been fine with the exception of the opening over against New Zealand in Australia’s first game which ultimately cost him the new ball.

But he disagreed on the suggestion that he would be better off playing in the Indian Premier League, amid suggestions it had left him underdone in T20s for Australia.

“It may have, but if I’d gone in there and having no break and playing 12 months of the year, what does that affect?” Starc said.

“Does affect my body? Do I break down? Does it affect my red-ball cricket?

“You can’t just sit there and go ‘he should go to the IPL’ because he’d be a better T20 bowler.

“What’s the downside of that? Do I give away a format of the game because I’m playing 12 months of the year?

“In my mind I don’t regret any of those decisions not to go.”


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