Starc backed to come good in Tests
Mitchell Starc's team-mates are confident he can transfer his incredible white-ball form to Test cricket after a World Cup in which he was named Player of the Tournament. Starc has also rocketed up to take the No.1 ODI bowling ranking after starting the World Cup ranked seventh; in Test cricket he is well down the list at No. 31 after a summer in which he was again in and out of the side.
Starc swung the white ball prodigiously throughout the World Cup and his 22 wickets at 10.18 went a long way towards securing Australia's triumph. He has joined such past champions as Glenn McGrath, Martin Crowe, Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya as a World Cup Player of the Tournament, capping off an outstanding year of ODI cricket.
His dismissal of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum with an inswinging yorker in the first over of Sunday's final was a pivotal moment in the game. On Monday, Starc was with his team-mates celebrating the win at a public reception at Melbourne's Federation Square; on Tuesday he is likely to be named in the Test squad to tour the West Indies later this year.
Starc's next challenge is to consistently swing the red ball in Test cricket and prove himself a matchwinner in a format that so far has brought him 50 wickets at 35.44. Fellow left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson said he believed it would not be long before Starc would be dominating Test cricket in the same way as he has one-day cricket in this World Cup.
"I don't think it's far away, I just think he needs to play consistent Test match cricket, get out there and do it," Johnson said. "I know what it was like when I first started, you're trying to find your rhythm and trying to find your place. I think this has definitely given him a lot of confidence. He's really stood up. He was criticised through that Test series last year and he's really stood up. I'm really proud of him."
Starc was the subject of criticism from Shane Warne during the Brisbane Test against India in December, when Warne questioned Starc's body language. As has been the case throughout Starc's three-year Test career, he spent the summer in and out of the side; not since his debut series against New Zealand in 2011-12 has he played consecutive Tests in the one series.
"His confidence changed and he made a couple of adjustments in that Sydney Test match and he bowled beautifully in that Test match," Shane Watson said. "So absolutely, he will turn that into Test match cricket as well - like he has in one-day cricket. It's going to be very lucky for us to have him in all three formats.
"It's incredible to see how well he has bowled in this tournament against the best batsmen in the world. The pace, the swing, the control that he's got, he's got variations, he can bowl at the back end, bowl at the death as well. It's amazing his skill-set - through all different phases of the game. It's amazing to think someone so young is able to do what he has on such a big stage.
"It will be incredible to see him also do that in Test cricket, because that's very close. In Sydney, we saw him really turn it around. I'm sure it is just a continuing, building stepping stone for him for us over the next long while."
Australia's players will continue their World Cup celebrations but attention will soon turn towards the Test tour of West Indies. The squad for the two Tests could feature as many as 16 players, and others such as Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner have done their chances of selection no harm by having strong campaigns in the World Cup.
"All you can do is score runs or take wickets in whatever format you're playing," captain Michael Clarke said. "I remember when I got picked for my first Test in India, that was on the back of a lot of one-day cricket because I wasn't around to play Sheffield Shield cricket.
"I don't think it matters what format you're playing, if you're performing the selectors will be looking at you. There are a number of players in this team that have done everything in their power to get selected. Now it's up to the selectors to work out what they think the best squad is for West Indies and we go from there."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale