Australia in the UAE 2012 September 5, 2012

Clarke urges others to follow Starc, Maxwell


Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell have set an example that Australia's captain Michael Clarke wants to see followed by others as the home summer draws closer.

On his return from a draining overnight ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE, Clarke pointed to Starc and Maxwell as players who had responded to his call for young players to grab their chance, and hinted that Starc in particular may be further rewarded for his success.

Clarke's next assignment for Australia will be the Test series against South Africa at home in November, and Starc has done his claims to a place in the first Test XI no harm by managing to swing the ball and take wickets in conditions and on pitches that did not assist him. Maxwell also rated a prominent mention from Clarke in assessing the standout performances from the tour - his place in Australia's limited overs plans now looks highly promising.

"I thought Mitchell Starc's bowling has certainly stood out for me," Clarke said. "The way [Maxwell] played in the whole series, getting his opportunity and making the most of it. That's something I've spoken about for a while now - about guys getting a chance.

"Everybody wants to play for Australia but it's actually making the most of that chance - grabbing hold of that opportunity with both hands and making it very clear to selectors that you want to be a part of this team. I think a few guys on this tour have certainly done that."

Starc's confidence has risen considerably since the start of last season, when he debuted for Australia in Tests against New Zealand but did not look quite ready for the task. A mid-summer meeting with Wasim Akram aided Starc's cause greatly, and he would contribute ably to two Tests against India and West Indies in the new year, before showing his continued development against Pakistan.

"I think it's confidence to be honest. He's been around this group for a while now, he feels a part of the group. He's bowled well for a long time," Clarke said. "It's just about Mitch continually trying to improve, working hard in the nets to get better, using his strengths as well as he can and tinker with your weaknesses.

"He bowled with good pace. He's such a tall guy and he swung the ball beautifully in conditions where there wasn't much there for the fast bowlers as well. [But] I don't want to take anything away from the other fast bowlers. I thought they did a great job, you look through the series, it wasn't one individual player who won us the series. It was the whole team and that's probably the most pleasing thing to come out of this UAE series for me, considering how we as a team played in England."

Australia's resilience in dealing with a talented opponent utilising quality spin bowling in unfamiliar conditions, high heat and in a disorienting time-slot gave Clarke plenty of optimism for the future. It also showed the benefits of assembling the squad for an exacting pre-season camp in Darwin, where goals were set, training patterns established and rapport built up.

"It's another example of international cricket. You travel to different places around the world, you play in a lot of different conditions and this was very different," Clarke said. "This was new for everybody. I think we can take a lot being able to get a series win in conditions we certainly weren't accustomed to.

"Apart from [David] Hussey and myself nobody else had played in the UAE - wickets that are so different to back in Australia - and hours that guys aren't used to playing cricket in. That's a really positive sign for the team, to be able to win in conditions so foreign to everybody."

Having retired from international Twenty20 duty, Clarke will now spend time around the New South Wales squad and lead the Blues in the first three Sheffield Shield matches of the new season before South Africa's arrival.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • b on September 7, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    how about the aust batsman start doing some work. why is south africa & england the two top nations? they have a balanced team. both batsman and bowlers working in their specialised areas and performing. why will australia keep losing? the current batsman are simply not up to the task. and the selectors have favourites whose positions are untouchable. how is a spin bowler suppose to learn his trade? through practice. remember how crap warne was.... but they stuck with him whilst he was developing.

  • Andrew on September 7, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    @RandyOZ - I like Coulter-Nile, but the reality is, Starc has been performing well in all formats. NC-N needs to play a full season of Shield & by attrition will get a chance in the next 12mths.

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Considering the fact that the Aussies have so many talented youngsters in their roster, it's clearly a case of a problem of too many. With the number of new-comers hitting the Australian squad, I think it's time for the team management to decide which of the will feature in the squad regularly or else they'll waste the talent that they have right now, just like they've wasted bowlers like Stuart MacGill and Nathan Bracken.

  • Randolph on September 6, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    Good call by Clarke. Starc and Maxwell look very promising. Still not convinced with Starc in the longer forms. I think i'd take Coulter-Nile over him.

  • Marcio on September 6, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Great to see these youngsters doing well. Starc will be a top performer for years. Maxwell still needs to prove himself, but the indications are very good.

  • Andrew on September 5, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    @Wozza-CY - "..should get Starc to meet up with Akram again.." - 100% agree. I think they should schedule Akram for a 15 minute chat once a month (include MJ too).

  • anil on September 5, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Test series would have been an apt test for Oz. They might have followed the suit or may not also. I was expecting Pakistan would strangle them but Ajmal was effectively negated and pakistan suffered an amateur death in every match. The true test will come at home for OZ. SA will be coming over and red hot pitches would be too much for their own ones.

  • Srinivas on September 5, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    @Hammond Have to agree with you on that. Australia have tried heck lot of guys in the last 2 years or so. In this time, they selection criteria ranged from the top performing guys in domestic circuits to guys who fit the criteria of being young and with talent which may have been on display in a couple of domestic matches.

    Sorry to see the state of australian selection committee which prided itself upon accountability and well-defined selection criteria come down to a state searching for proper guys to fill in the slots.

  • Geoffrey on September 5, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    How many debutants have Australia played in the last 18 months? It must be a record in the whole 140 year history of Australian international cricket. That said Starc really is a prospect (go Baulko!) and Maxwell "backed himself" completely. With one eye of the ashes in less than a year, Australia may just have an above average team when they tour England. But more of a C+ mark than an A-.

  • Warrick on September 5, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    Ummm....Starcs confidence may have come from playing first class cricket in the off season in the UK. Funny that, who would have thought that lots of overs under the belt in FC cricket helps your bowling (Selection panel refer to one M.Johnson). Good preparation in Darwin on 'like' pitches helped. Also, they should get Starc to meet up with Akram again! Bailey & Maxwell give the middle order some stability, just need the openers to find some form. Lyon could also get a gig in ODI's to see how he goes if they're not going to pick Doherty. Still lots of work to do!

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