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Australian IPL concerns in focus

Daniel Brettig

January 24, 2013

Comments: 89 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Starc picked up two wickets, Mumbai Indians v Sydney Sixers, Champions League T20, Durban, October 22, 2012
"My focus is playing for Australia and IPL can wait," says Mitchell Starc © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Mitchell Starc | Matthew Wade
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Teams: Australia

David Warner is in. Michael Clarke and Matthew Wade probably are also. Not only will Shane Watson be there, he will be there bowling. Ryan Harris will be there trying to remind the world that he still can bowl. James Pattinson is headed there too. Michael Hussey will be there to remind Australian cricket of what it is missing. But Mitchell Starc will be a notable absentee.

When Australian cricketers talk of the IPL being a personal choice, they are completely correct. But the number of potential Ashes tourists likely to be spending their six-week designated rest period traipsing up and down India in the months before the Ashes in England suggests that only a few have elected to choose longer-term international goals over the up-front riches to be offered on the subcontinent.

The IPL's place in the calendar is not in dispute, nor is the tournament's desire for Australian cricketers. Nevertheless, no matter who ends up playing at the tournament and who does not, they will be a six-week period in which national selector John Inverarity, team-performance manager Pat Howard and coach Mickey Arthur will be a little more nervous about their players than usual.

The ways in which the tournament may cause harm are a matter for conjecture, but it is worth noting that not once in Australia's three mid-year visits to England following the start of IPL in 2008 - two ODI tours in 2010 and 2012 and the Ashes in 2009 - have the tourists emerged with a winning series. The only success in that time was a 6-1 win in the ODIs that followed the 2009 Tests, though in recent times post-Test series limited overs affairs have invariably run contrary to the dominant script.

Last year's matches were miserable in the extreme, and the effect of playing T20 on the subcontinent before embarking upon weightier contests in conditions that could not be more different is likely to take a toll.

Starc's call to avoid the tournament was reached only after plenty of considered thought. Given his successes for the Sydney Sixers and also Australia's T20 team, 22-year-old Starc was in line for a hefty Indian pay day if he had chosen to submit himself for the auction on February 3 in Chennai. Instead he will use that time to have the rest and pre-season training that Inverarity has recently emphasised. It looks a wise choice.

"I thought about it long and hard and had a chat with a few people and just figured that I've had a pretty big 18 months and I feel that my body just needs that time," Starc said. "The six weeks just to have a couple of weeks off, build myself back up in the gym, get some bowling under the belt and be raring to go if the chance comes to go to England.

"My focus is playing for Australia and IPL can wait. For me playing for Australia has always been the dream and I've got a chance to do that now. We've got a big 12 months coming and personally I'd rather take those six weeks to get myself ready for the winter over in England if I get the chance to go over there and for the summer back home. I made the decision to go over to England last year to work on my game [with Yorkshire], and this year it's the smart option to take the six weeks to recuperate and get my body right and strong to go."

Starc has been held up by Inverarity and Howard as an example of how a young bowler can successfully be pushed up from a first-class apprenticeship into regular national duty via his judicious use on selected tours. They will be grateful that his thinking has extended to skipping the IPL.

"It's all a personal choice, just my decision not to go," Starc said. "I spoke to a few people, my manager, my girlfriend, a few people close to me and that was my decision. I've been going for 18 months straight now, pretty happy with how my body's going, and I've learned a lot in terms of my cricket."

Wade, meanwhile, has recently returned to the Australia team following a post-Test break, and said his journey to the IPL was conditional on two things. First, he must be picked up in the auction, and second, he will have to decide how his body had stood up to the demands of keeping wickets over a rigorous Test series in India in the weeks before the event.

"If I get picked up and my body's 100% I'll play," he said. "If I'm not 100% I'll definitely pull out of the IPL to get myself up for the Australian tours coming up, which will be Champions Trophy or Ashes … if I feel good and like it's not going to harm me then I will play."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Harmony111 on (January 26, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

@dunger.bob: Its good that Eng and Aus have so many patrons for Test Cricket but when it comes to India's involvement in Tests, I'd say that if we were to take the disjointed sets of Ind fans who like ONLY Tests or ODIs or T20s each set of them would still be much large than the patrons of Tests in Eng or Aus.

The reason of poor attendance in India for Tests is not lack of interest but practical issues. Often the 1st 2-3 days are poorly attended but as the match moves towards the result or when something special is about to happen then you would find a good no of ppl watching it in the stadium.

And in any case, it is an old yardstick to measure Test's (or any format's) popularity by the ppl coming to the stadium. A great great many ppl follow Tests in India via TV or Internet or via our dear cricinfo.

When Ind plays a Test, I got cricinfo open invariably in office and so do a no of my friends.

Your patronage of Tests is welcome but its not the ONLY, Ind still outnumbers you there.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 26, 2013, 6:12 GMT)

It's tough work in the IPL, especially for bowlers. Having to bowl 24 balls a game is really stressful on the body. Good idea for him to stay home and have mum look after him. Leave that career wrecking stress to old guys who can handle it - like Kallis, Harris, Lee, Azhar Mahmood etc

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 26, 2013, 5:06 GMT)

well everyone has to follow starc. im shocked that clarke himself is playing IPL aswell as watson and pattinson. all the talk about resting and preparing themselves for the next 12 months and they go and play this? money has never talked louder and this is as clear a illustration as possible that they prefer money than success for australia.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2013, 3:51 GMT)

I love test cricket....There's no doubt that this contest spanning over five days,brings out elements and factors that test a player's skills,his ability to adapt,his resolve.It's more gruelling, and a more complete package, with a lot of time given to people to stage recoveries and comebacks, or if they are ahead to show it to the world,that they can also sustain it.It is life itself with its' share of challenges,good/bad luck,man vs nature that is put out there for display when the men in flannel whites step out to decide a winner o'er the next five days. However, in this age of instant everything, there has been a lot of pecuniary pressure, and audience and players alike have fallen to the rise of the variety of cricket that answers to that force.Test cricket has lost a lot of ground,especially in India,where in the major cities there's hardly the same enthusiasm left for any long game of cricket.It's the smaller,less known venues that show more support.A revival is sorely needed.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 26, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

@ gsingh7 on (January 25 2013, 11:16 AM GMT) :"no one can sit 5 days and watch some boring match where players play at 2 rpo, audience in india want 8 or 9 per over in t20 as it excites the crowd, so icc should be upto date and take necessary measures" .. actually Tests are still well attended in Australia and England. Melbourne tests routinely attract 250,000 + over 4 or 5 days. Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth are all social events that draw excellent crowds with millions more watching it on TV, on the radio in the truck or tractor or even sneaking a few peaks on the mobile phone when you're at work. Not that I would ever do that :) .. The point is, different strokes for different folks. If what you say is true and India has completely lost interest in Test cricket then the onus is on India to withdraw from the Test scene, not for Test cricket to be abandoned by the ICC simply because India doesn't want to play any more. .. at least that would be the decent thing to do.

Posted by AhmedEsat on (January 25, 2013, 21:51 GMT)

Shouldn't you Aussies all be resting in line with your rotation policy? Perhaps Cricket Australia should explain why they are resting players only to see them exert themselves in IPL for personal gain?????

Posted by caruisctkreatlia on (January 25, 2013, 21:06 GMT)

@ every person that said it was a bad decision from Starc or said test cricket was going down

You are wrong. Test cricket is actually on its way up as people realise how ipl is just dancing ,fireworks and a couple of people with bad technique smacking it for six. T20 is boring.

Posted by WeeBee on (January 25, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

I am not an IPL biggest Hater! .. But there are few things that is happening to cricket because of such events! like you are losing fast bowlers early because they play too much cricket and lose their cricket life, you don't find technical batsman and do find only hitters. You can only find T20 players from events like IPL.

Posted by gosh01 on (January 25, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

I wish we had players such as this in Sri Lanka !! Best of luck M Starc

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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