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The Roar


Starc faces urgent decision on lucrative deal, gives view on fifth Test rotation

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12th January, 2022

Mitchell Starc has declared he is fit and available for the fifth Ashes Test as he also indicated he is considering returning to the IPL for the first time since 2015.

Starc on Wednesday said he had pulled up fine after bowling both innings of a fourth straight Test in a gruelling schedule and would only be missing from the series finale in Hobart on Friday if selectors step in.

The 32-year-old left-armer was arguably Australia’s best player in the first three matches but only added one wicket to his tally at the SCG as England escaped with a draw by the barest of margins in the rain-shortened encounter.

He is still in strong contention to win the Compton-Miller Medal for player of the series with 15 wickets at 26.90 coupled with 151 runs at 75.50.

“It’s purely up to the selectors. I’m not looking for a break. It’s the last Test match of an Ashes series at home, it’s a pink ball too so I’d very much like to play,” he said.

“I guess it’s in the hands of the selectors but I won’t be asking for a rest.”

Starc is the undisputed king of day-night Test cricket when it comes to wicket-taking, aided by Australia playing more matches than any other nation. He became the first bowler to bag 50 wickets with the pink ball during the second Test in Adelaide.

“I think we saw in Adelaide the pink ball didn’t swing much if anything, anywhere near as much as what we’ve seen in the past so it’s likely going to be very different here in Hobart,” he said.


“We will have to have a look at the wicket and see what that’s like. I guess I’ve always maintained that I’ve always found the pink ball to be more like a white ball than a red ball.

“We’ll be trying to carry on that plan of attack that we had in Adelaide with the pink ball and hopefully that is a positive result for us here this week.”

Starc has sacrificed millions of dollars over the past six years in bypassing the Indian Premier League to ensure he has been able to suit up in as many games as possible for Australia in all three formats.

The IPL is expanding to 10 teams with Lucknow and Ahmedabad joining the two-month competition which is set to be held in India from April after Australia’s tour of Pakistan.

Starc’s proven wicket-taking ability with the white ball and explosive lower-order batting would earn him a lucrative pay cheque if he opts to make himself available.

“I’ve got two days to get my paperwork in. It might be something I do today before training. I’ve not put my name down just yet but I’ve got a couple more days to decide,” he said.

“It’s certainly on the table regardless of what the schedule’s got coming up. I haven’t been for six years or so. With a heavy weighing towards T20s over the last period of time and a World Cup coming up later this year, it’s one to take into consideration as well.”


The Australian players have been briefed about the Pakistan tour, which would be the first trip the team has made to the war-torn nation since Mark Taylor’s team won 1-0 in 1998 when the skipper famously made 334 not out in Peshawar.

After three Tests in Pakistan as well as three ODIs and a T20, Australia are then due to play two more Tests plus five ODIs, in Sri Lanka in June-July, another Test against Afghanistan in the Indian city of Dehradun in September before returning to India next February for another subcontinent tour which will feature four Tests.

“There’s a bit going on with scheduling to get our heads around, certainly with us multi-format players, the schedules are quite jam-packed when you throw in all the tours,” Starc said.

“We’ve got a couple of white-ball series post the Ashes before that Pakistan tour then you take into consideration the IPL and the Sri Lankan tour after that so it’s a massive six months of cricket for everyone

“We had a bit of a briefing the other day about the upcoming tour, it will take some time for all players to process that information and then obviously we’ve got a Test match this week to play and perform in and then we’ll move onto what comes next.”

When asked if he was keen to play in Pakistan, he did not respond either way. “We will take in all information, any questions that need to be asked or want to be asked from the group. Our focus is on this Test match.”


When it comes to finishing off the series to win 4-0 after the near-miss at the SCG, Scott Boland is yet to be cleared due to his rib injury with Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser at the ready if needed.

Whether Marcus Harris or Usman Khawaja misses out for the return of Travis Head is still up in the air with captain Pat Cummins set to name his XI on Thursday.

Starc is not sure who England will bring into their team for injured keeper Jos Buttler and did not think their improved showing with the bat to force a frustrating draw for the home side in Sydney would necessarily translate to the different conditions of the day-nighter at Blundstone arena.

“Rain played a part, we lost a fair bit of time throughout the fixture, we probably didn’t see the wicket deteriorate as much as we thought for a day-five wicket,” he said.

“It would have been nice to take that [last] wicket but ultimately it was a fantastic game of cricket and we still sit here 3-0 up so hopefully this week we can make it four.”

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