<
>

Being fit and on the sidelines can be a little frustrating - Starc

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc has admitted to feeling a little frustrated at having to sit out of matches in the ongoing tri-series in the West Indies, but said he understood that his workload management was important with a busy season ahead.

Starc, who made his international return in this series after a long injury lay-off, played only two of Australia's four matches so far, taking five wickets. He is expected to play against South Africa on Sunday.

"It's part of the plan unfortunately," Starc told cricket.com.au. "Being fit this time around and watching from the side can be a little bit frustrating. But I've got to look at the bigger picture and there's a lot to come in the next six months, so I'll stick by the plan and stick by what the medicos tell me to do. I don't have too much say in it. I want to play every game.

"The bigger picture (is) we have three Tests against Sri Lanka, a one-day series that follows that, a one-day series in South Africa and then we've got the home summer. It's feeling really good, but I've just got to manage that at this point in time. That's for the medicos to do and me to sit back, unfortunately."

Starc said he was accustomed to having the team's medical staff determine his playing schedule to keep him fit over the course of a season, particularly after his previous struggles with fitness. Starc battled long-term ankle problems and the injury flared up again during the Ashes Test in Cardiff last year. He then underwent surgery on the ankle in December while recovering from a fractured foot he suffered during the Adelaide Test against New Zealand.

Australia also have a packed calendar in 2016-17. After the tri-series, they will tour Sri Lanka and then play an ODI series in South Africa. They will host four teams over the home summer - South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka - before ending their season with a tour of India in February-March 2017.

"I'm getting used to being told what to do," Starc said with a smile. "It'd be really nice to play every single game, but the sheer amount of cricket we play these days, if you play every game, you're going to break down at some point, so you have to be a little bit smarter about it.

"At the moment, I'm feeling really good. I'm feeling strong and ready to go at every point. It's about me getting right for the next game, and if that involves playing, that's lovely. But if it means I have to rest or sit out here and there, I'll have to cop that on the chin as well.

"It's about finding that happy medium, where you're not bowling yourself into the ground and you're injured every 12 months. But at the same time, you want to keep that rhythm and be fresh enough to play as much as you can."

Starc, who has played 48 ODIs and taken 95 wickets, is within sight of a record. He needs five wickets to become the fastest bowler to 100 ODI wickets, a record currently held by former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who got to the landmark in 53 matches.

Incidentally, Australia have lost both matches in which Starc was rested. With two wins in four matches, they are placed second on the points table, behind South Africa, who lead with 10 points after their two bonus-point victories.