The Ashes 2013-14 September 9, 2013

Starc set to miss Ashes with back injury

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Mitchell Starc is unlikely to play in Australia's home Ashes campaign after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back. Starc flew home from the ongoing limited-overs series in England due to back soreness and scans have shown that his injury will rule him out for "a prolonged period", almost certainly meaning that he will be unavailable for at least the start of the Ashes, if not the whole series.

Australia have already suffered similar injury blows in their fast-bowling ranks with James Pattinson sent home from the Ashes tour of England and Pat Cummins ruled out of the coming home summer, both with stress fractures of the lower back. Starc, 23, was Australia's third leading wicket taker during the unsuccessful Ashes campaign in England with 11 wickets at 32.45, and he would have been a likely starter for the first Test at the Gabba.

"Mitch Starc had scans following his arrival back to Australia and they have shown an early stage low back stress fracture," Justin Paolini, Cricket Australia's chief medical officer, said. "His management plan will be determined in the coming days but he is expected to be unavailable for a prolonged period."

Pat Howard, CA's general manager of team performance, said it was disappointing that Starc had succumbed to a stress fracture but that young fast bowlers were particularly susceptible to such injuries. In releasing the details of Starc's injury, CA stressed that few fast bowlers in Australia's history had bowled as many deliveries in Test cricket as Starc and Pattinson by the age of 23.

"Historically, we've rarely seen three such promising young fast bowlers come through at the same time and all of a similar age so when they get injured of course that will be disappointing," Howard said. "We're doing our best to minimise longer term injuries, but we are also realistic that such injuries are possible.

"Looking at a comparison of some of Australia's best quicks at the age of 23, Pattinson and Starc are second and third on the list behind Craig McDermott in terms of performance. What that tells us is we have a greater reliance on younger fast bowlers at international level than ever before and we're getting the most we can out of these talented young players, who are all coming through into international cricket together."

However, there was some good news for Australia, with Jackson Bird cleared of any major injury concerns after he flew home from the Ashes tour early due to back soreness. Bird, who played only the fourth Test in Durham and collected two wickets, is expected to be available for the start of the home Ashes if required.

"Jackson returned home from the tour of England with some lower back soreness," Paolini said. "We have ruled out a major injury but will review scans in two weeks to confirm this. We expect that he will be available during the Ashes."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mondotv on September 9, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    A big blow - Mitchell Starc from what I've seen is the most promising young quick on the world stage. Yes he lacks accuracy but that will come and when it does that left arm in swing @ close to 90mph with the odd ball above is going to make life hard for batsmen on any surface.

    Have a closer look at his performance against Sri Lanka last year in Tassie - there's a lot to like.

  • ScottStevo on September 16, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, those were in the second innings when it was an ODI! And to be fair, he may have picked up 2 good wickets, but he still didn't bowl all that well, as other than Harris, none of our bowlers looked very good and we were getting hit for around 5rpo. Lookign at Starc's shield stats from the half season he played - looks like he averaged 22 - so nowhere near the 30+ you keep rambling on about. Use stats all you like from his ONE test match (hopefully the last we'll see him in over the summer) and FC cricket. None of it means anything. You don't have to be a genius to look at Faulkner and realise his strengths are suited to limited overs cricket. Even the Eng commentators have recognised this? It's the reason we keep selecting the wrong sides, picking flash in the pan 'had a great season - look at his stats' blokes that don't cut it. Part of me wants him to play just so I can prove you wrong, another prays he doesn't as we cant afford to lose the ashes again.

  • Wefinishthis on September 13, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    ScottStevo - The point is I've used "great stats" to back up my claims. I'd be interested to see any stats that support your claim that Starc has done anything in either test or first class to prove he deserves another chance. His ODI performances do not count. A few tail-ender Sri Lankan wickets at home don't count either. Furthermore, you also conveniently omitted Faulkner's wickets of Cook and Trott. I suppose they were going for a slog as well?

  • landl47 on September 11, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Bad news about Starc. Of all the young pacemen he has been the only one to trouble England; Pattinson's a good bowler, but doesn't do much with the ball, whereas Starc can bowl some lethal swing and was quicker than Patto in England.

    The big question is whether Aus goes back to MJ. He's a strike bowler, but if he's given too much work to do he loses effectiveness. Faulkner's willing and looks as though he could bowl all day, but Clarke showed his opinion of him as a wicket-taker when he only gave him 12 overs in England's first 116 at the Oval. He picks up wickets when the opposition is chasing quick runs, but he doesn't move the ball much and isn't very fast- 82-84mph- so test batsmen in normal situations will just milk him steadily.

    Bird being fit again, judging from what we saw in England, won't make a whole lot of difference to the test side. Aus already has Siddle, who does everything Bird does and does it better. Why would Aus want Bird as well?

  • ScottStevo on September 11, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, Wow, what great stats from half a test match! Faulkner looked useless until the final day! His first wicket was a rubbish ball (To Bell) who glanced it down the legside - only for Haddin (whom you disregard also) to clean up his mess with a great take (akin to one which Wade was unable to make in the ODIs albeit a far easier chance). Then Prior, who tried to slog him out of the ground got a top edge (which Starc made up the ground and caught) - another nothing wicket. Then Anderson going for a hoik and Swann going the same route as the final wicket of the innings - neither of which were terribly good. In the second innings when it was an ODI he bowled far better, using his cutters and slower ball. Nathan Bracken MkII this bloke is. Limited overs at best - possibly only T20. If he gets an extended run, we will lose and damage more bowlers as Clarke will not want to keep going back to him. As for his batting - he has a slog, he's okay, but no better than any from 8 down...

  • KPWij on September 11, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    Growing bodies and the rigours of international cricket are not holding up for a lot of young fast bowlers around the world (Australia are particularly unlucky with three of their best seamers 23 or under). It is becoming more and more of a trend to try and develop cricketers to have the physique and strength of AFL footballers or sprinters with great power and speed. This is fantastic if you only play for 2 to 3hrs a day once or twice a week, you can bowl quicker, hit harder and be very effective. Cricket's shortest format is stretched across 2.5hrs of playing time and test cricket involves 6hrs per day for 5 days in a row and with the current all year schedule there is no pre-season to build stamina and strength. CA need to re-think conditioning strategies because it does not seem to be working at the moment.

  • Markus971 on September 11, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    Seriously!! The only way your flat out pace bowler is going to have less injuries is to train the bodies better "&" to bowl less!!! there I said it! All pace bowlers in history, thats 90+mph(144+kph) were/are injury prone, at least until, with age & experience their pace drops & their smarts catch up. Is there a bowling solution in Test Cricket to this continuing problem? Mmm I wonder. Lets say we bring tests to 4 Days.. Asking the bowling team to bowl 110 overs per day (thereby guaranteeing 100 overs) may bring more batsman who can spin them a Little to the bowing crease! Although what I really hope to see is a medium pace bowler who can bowl "Cutters"..U know like I saw with D.Lillee in his last couple of years, like a W.Johnston that Lefty who bowled many an over coming in after R.Lindwall & K.Miller..(I'm sure there are a few med-pace swingers out there.. but I never seem to see any Cutters.) A bowler like that would be invaluable, solving a myraid of problems for Test Cricket

  • Chris_P on September 11, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    @Wefinishthis. We can all argue with facts if they are not compared fairly. Starc bowls at the SCG which is NOT pace bowler friendly where as Faulkner bowls on seam friendly Hobart, where I recall Starc bowled Australia to victory last season. Starc bowls great swing bowling. reverse & normal & does much more with the ball. I have a lot of time for Faulkner, but he is not in the same league as Starc the bowler, although he is approaching, as a batsman to a point where he can command a middle order place in first class teams. Starc has, within him, skills to win test matches by himself when on song, where as JF is more of the support role, just my take from having watched them for 4 years on the shield circuit.

  • Wefinishthis on September 10, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    ScottStevo - That's hilarious. Faulkner picked up 6 for 98 at an average of 16.33! How is that looking rubbish? His shield average is also outstanding to back that up. Strange that we didn't lose when Faulkner was in like you said and in fact quite the contrary, we likely would have won if it wasn't for rain. Starc averages 33.6 and is just as bad at shield level. Who cares if he picks up the occasional big wicket if it means that he's getting pasted at 33.6 runs per wicket? In the one game Faulkner got, he both completely outbowled Starc with the ball AND outscored him with the bat. Faulkner's wickets were hardly all bunnies - Cook, Trott, Bell, Prior, Swann and Anderson and only Swann was going for the slog. Starc got Trott, Pietersen and Broad. The difference was Faulkner got 4/51 whereas Starc got 3/92 and then Faulkner got 2/47 where Starc got belted as usual for 0/48. It's the same in tests or at shield level. Can't argue with the facts. Faulkner beats Starc every. single. time.

  • ScottStevo on September 10, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, Actually, it's a huge loss as Starc took some massive wickets in this series. Sure, he wasn't all that consistent - neither was his selection! You criticise the bloke, yet I'm not even sure he's played 2 tests in a row? What did Faulkner do? I'll tell you - nothing. He looked as rubbish as he is and only when we turned the last test effectively into an ODI and they were trying to slog him did he pick up wickets - and they were all cheap. If he's anywhere near our bolwing squad, we will lose. Of all our bowlers I think Faulkner is at the bottom of the pile, purely based on his medium paced, straight up and down, nothing deliveries that won't threaten any quality test batsmen.

  • mondotv on September 9, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    A big blow - Mitchell Starc from what I've seen is the most promising young quick on the world stage. Yes he lacks accuracy but that will come and when it does that left arm in swing @ close to 90mph with the odd ball above is going to make life hard for batsmen on any surface.

    Have a closer look at his performance against Sri Lanka last year in Tassie - there's a lot to like.

  • ScottStevo on September 16, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, those were in the second innings when it was an ODI! And to be fair, he may have picked up 2 good wickets, but he still didn't bowl all that well, as other than Harris, none of our bowlers looked very good and we were getting hit for around 5rpo. Lookign at Starc's shield stats from the half season he played - looks like he averaged 22 - so nowhere near the 30+ you keep rambling on about. Use stats all you like from his ONE test match (hopefully the last we'll see him in over the summer) and FC cricket. None of it means anything. You don't have to be a genius to look at Faulkner and realise his strengths are suited to limited overs cricket. Even the Eng commentators have recognised this? It's the reason we keep selecting the wrong sides, picking flash in the pan 'had a great season - look at his stats' blokes that don't cut it. Part of me wants him to play just so I can prove you wrong, another prays he doesn't as we cant afford to lose the ashes again.

  • Wefinishthis on September 13, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    ScottStevo - The point is I've used "great stats" to back up my claims. I'd be interested to see any stats that support your claim that Starc has done anything in either test or first class to prove he deserves another chance. His ODI performances do not count. A few tail-ender Sri Lankan wickets at home don't count either. Furthermore, you also conveniently omitted Faulkner's wickets of Cook and Trott. I suppose they were going for a slog as well?

  • landl47 on September 11, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Bad news about Starc. Of all the young pacemen he has been the only one to trouble England; Pattinson's a good bowler, but doesn't do much with the ball, whereas Starc can bowl some lethal swing and was quicker than Patto in England.

    The big question is whether Aus goes back to MJ. He's a strike bowler, but if he's given too much work to do he loses effectiveness. Faulkner's willing and looks as though he could bowl all day, but Clarke showed his opinion of him as a wicket-taker when he only gave him 12 overs in England's first 116 at the Oval. He picks up wickets when the opposition is chasing quick runs, but he doesn't move the ball much and isn't very fast- 82-84mph- so test batsmen in normal situations will just milk him steadily.

    Bird being fit again, judging from what we saw in England, won't make a whole lot of difference to the test side. Aus already has Siddle, who does everything Bird does and does it better. Why would Aus want Bird as well?

  • ScottStevo on September 11, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, Wow, what great stats from half a test match! Faulkner looked useless until the final day! His first wicket was a rubbish ball (To Bell) who glanced it down the legside - only for Haddin (whom you disregard also) to clean up his mess with a great take (akin to one which Wade was unable to make in the ODIs albeit a far easier chance). Then Prior, who tried to slog him out of the ground got a top edge (which Starc made up the ground and caught) - another nothing wicket. Then Anderson going for a hoik and Swann going the same route as the final wicket of the innings - neither of which were terribly good. In the second innings when it was an ODI he bowled far better, using his cutters and slower ball. Nathan Bracken MkII this bloke is. Limited overs at best - possibly only T20. If he gets an extended run, we will lose and damage more bowlers as Clarke will not want to keep going back to him. As for his batting - he has a slog, he's okay, but no better than any from 8 down...

  • KPWij on September 11, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    Growing bodies and the rigours of international cricket are not holding up for a lot of young fast bowlers around the world (Australia are particularly unlucky with three of their best seamers 23 or under). It is becoming more and more of a trend to try and develop cricketers to have the physique and strength of AFL footballers or sprinters with great power and speed. This is fantastic if you only play for 2 to 3hrs a day once or twice a week, you can bowl quicker, hit harder and be very effective. Cricket's shortest format is stretched across 2.5hrs of playing time and test cricket involves 6hrs per day for 5 days in a row and with the current all year schedule there is no pre-season to build stamina and strength. CA need to re-think conditioning strategies because it does not seem to be working at the moment.

  • Markus971 on September 11, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    Seriously!! The only way your flat out pace bowler is going to have less injuries is to train the bodies better "&" to bowl less!!! there I said it! All pace bowlers in history, thats 90+mph(144+kph) were/are injury prone, at least until, with age & experience their pace drops & their smarts catch up. Is there a bowling solution in Test Cricket to this continuing problem? Mmm I wonder. Lets say we bring tests to 4 Days.. Asking the bowling team to bowl 110 overs per day (thereby guaranteeing 100 overs) may bring more batsman who can spin them a Little to the bowing crease! Although what I really hope to see is a medium pace bowler who can bowl "Cutters"..U know like I saw with D.Lillee in his last couple of years, like a W.Johnston that Lefty who bowled many an over coming in after R.Lindwall & K.Miller..(I'm sure there are a few med-pace swingers out there.. but I never seem to see any Cutters.) A bowler like that would be invaluable, solving a myraid of problems for Test Cricket

  • Chris_P on September 11, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    @Wefinishthis. We can all argue with facts if they are not compared fairly. Starc bowls at the SCG which is NOT pace bowler friendly where as Faulkner bowls on seam friendly Hobart, where I recall Starc bowled Australia to victory last season. Starc bowls great swing bowling. reverse & normal & does much more with the ball. I have a lot of time for Faulkner, but he is not in the same league as Starc the bowler, although he is approaching, as a batsman to a point where he can command a middle order place in first class teams. Starc has, within him, skills to win test matches by himself when on song, where as JF is more of the support role, just my take from having watched them for 4 years on the shield circuit.

  • Wefinishthis on September 10, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    ScottStevo - That's hilarious. Faulkner picked up 6 for 98 at an average of 16.33! How is that looking rubbish? His shield average is also outstanding to back that up. Strange that we didn't lose when Faulkner was in like you said and in fact quite the contrary, we likely would have won if it wasn't for rain. Starc averages 33.6 and is just as bad at shield level. Who cares if he picks up the occasional big wicket if it means that he's getting pasted at 33.6 runs per wicket? In the one game Faulkner got, he both completely outbowled Starc with the ball AND outscored him with the bat. Faulkner's wickets were hardly all bunnies - Cook, Trott, Bell, Prior, Swann and Anderson and only Swann was going for the slog. Starc got Trott, Pietersen and Broad. The difference was Faulkner got 4/51 whereas Starc got 3/92 and then Faulkner got 2/47 where Starc got belted as usual for 0/48. It's the same in tests or at shield level. Can't argue with the facts. Faulkner beats Starc every. single. time.

  • ScottStevo on September 10, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, Actually, it's a huge loss as Starc took some massive wickets in this series. Sure, he wasn't all that consistent - neither was his selection! You criticise the bloke, yet I'm not even sure he's played 2 tests in a row? What did Faulkner do? I'll tell you - nothing. He looked as rubbish as he is and only when we turned the last test effectively into an ODI and they were trying to slog him did he pick up wickets - and they were all cheap. If he's anywhere near our bolwing squad, we will lose. Of all our bowlers I think Faulkner is at the bottom of the pile, purely based on his medium paced, straight up and down, nothing deliveries that won't threaten any quality test batsmen.

  • disorientated on September 10, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Sad, sad news :-( Saw this guy playing for Yorkshire, looked like he'd be a good-un! Hope he recovers and comes back to haunt us poms!

  • xtrafalgarx on September 10, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    @azzaman333, He probably is the best reverse swing bowler we have in the test side though, yes he is still raw but he has qualities no one else has in the side, when he gets wickets, he gets the in clumps, he was on a hatrick twice in this ashes series, his pace goes up and he is very accurate when he does get wickets. I more than 3 different occassions he has got wickets in his first over with the second new ball (twice first ball), so he has the ability, no question.

  • azzaman333 on September 10, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Our ODI and T20 team will be significantly weakened by Starc's absence. The Test team will rejoice in his absence, as it'll allow bowlers who are superior in every metric in first class cricket to come in and replace him.

  • on September 10, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    He would be desperately missed. Although is not more consistent in test cricket as compare to ODI but recently I have observed English. middle order batting was not good against him. He is the only bowler who inswings to the right hander very brilliantly <3.

  • handyandy on September 10, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Johnson for Starc ... Australia doesn't lose anything really.

  • Cyril_Knight on September 10, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    The way CA is managing it's young bowlers is a big worry. They seemed determined to create machines. Too much gym work, followed by lots of bowling, then more fitness work. Fast bowlers have always worked best by being bowlers. These young men will be cripples when their careers are over.

    In English cricket there is a little recognised problem, I don't know if it's the same in Australia, but would assume it is. Fast bowlers in County cricket take a lot of pills on the field. Bowling under painkillers creates serious injury in the long-term. Bowlers seem to force their way through a season, with the help of pills and injections, this can't be healthy.

    Toby Roland-Jones (a brilliant young fast bowler) pops pills for fun, he is now seriously injured and has hardly played this season. His injury is a typical result, his body is worn out. Pain is an indicator of something that is not right, masking the pain will obviously accentuate the problem.

  • on September 10, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Even if Starc was fit.. they would had played him in 1 or at max 2 tests out of the 5. Unlike Siddle, he wasn't given consistent run in tests.

  • WalkingWicket11 on September 10, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    Back-to-back Ashes leads to hilarious news like "Jackson Bird, who sustained a back injury during the Ashes, has been cleared to play the Ashes." :D

  • on September 10, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    where is ben hilfenhaus? and i feel mitchy boy deserves a place get faulkner out harris siddle mitchell johnson pattinson lyon and watson should be the line up

  • crikkfan on September 10, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Matthew Grundy I do sympathize with the views of Alex - but there is an interesting counterpoint - have you heard Akram - arguable the greatest left arm pacer - talk about this topic? His case is onle example where with the right action and runup, playing longer actually helps rather than less cricket.

  • Wefinishthis on September 10, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    Fantastic news for Australia. Starc has been a major underperformer for a long time now. Every series he plays he averages over 30 (in India he averaged over 100). Harris is obviously the only other fast bowler in the Steyn/Philander class so he's an automatic selection when fit. Hopefully this injury will give Bird/Faulkner more of a fair go in their home conditions. Bird, Harris, Faulkner, Siddle and Pattinson must be our bowling squad. Now that we have a bit more of a settled batting order, all we need to do is drop Haddin for Wade/Nevill and select O'Keefe (save Zampa till next year) over Lyon and we'll finally have the kind of team we need to get back to no.1. I'd still like to see Watson dropped though, regardless of his recent performance.

  • RJHB on September 10, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    Gee fair dinkum so much for rotating players and workload management, they ain't worth a jot! This is just terrible news. I know Poms will wonder what the fuss is about, Starc didn't exactly light up the Ashes, but he is a big deal, a fast left armer who swings the ball back into the right hander, ask Trott how effective they can be! Good news about Bird though, thank goodness. Again, another who didn't show a lot in England but in Australia on decks that will suit, he'll be a big handful with his accuracy and movement off the deck. If Australia can make some reasonably consistent runs, a big ask, the Poms are going to be in trouble.

  • MinusZero on September 10, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    Get better soon, the last thing we want is Mitchell Johnson to be picked again for tests.

  • H_Z_O on September 10, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    @Jono Makim on (September 9, 2013, 8:51 GMT)

    That's my take on it too. Harris and Siddle give nothing away, while Lyon also keeps the pressure on, and even Watson. Of course Mitch is a risk, he always has been, but if he's on song not only is he likely to win the Test on his own but he's the kind of bowler who inflicts serious mental damage on the batsmen. They'll carry that for the next 4 Tests.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that the pitch at Old Trafford, both for the Test and the One Dayer, was pretty flat. The last time I saw the Gabba, against South Africa, it was a road. England's relative lack of pace tends to mean we struggle on flatter wickets where Australia's quicker bowlers can get more out of the surface. If nothing else, pace is the one thing you can be sure about with Mitchell's bowling.

    I'd risk it. Australia seem to be finding the elements of a solid batting line-up, and if they can wreak some havoc with the ball, England might not recover.

  • golgo_85 on September 9, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    @Roshan_P, I'm rather amused by what seems to be your undying love for Mitchell Johnson, who, at the moment is merely a shadow of his first 2-3 years in Test cricket. As far as skills and temperment go, Aussies have Harris, Pattinson, Cummins, Siddle, Hilfenhaus. I would happily put even McKay ahead of Johnson for the contention but Johnson will have more chance given his current resurgence in form. But a younger player would do well to have that opportunity in place of a proven loose cannon like Johnson.

  • Roshan_P on September 9, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    @rafe01 - I think the same applies to Mitch Starc, only Johnson's best is better than Starc's best. If Johnson bowl like he did in the last ODI he will be a force along with Harris and Siddle.

  • Roshan_P on September 9, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    Mitchell Starc is a bit hit and miss for me. Sometimes he can be deadly and sometimes he can be poor, in both batting and bowling. Quite a lot like another Mitchell of the Johnson variety. However Johnson's extra pace and swing and his good form of late should allow him to join Siddle and Harris (and Lyon) on the tour. Pattinson would come in if any of them got injured, which is inevitable. I think Starc comes after these bowlers, so its not a great loss, and a younger bowler can replace him on the tour, like Pat Cummins.

  • rafe01 on September 9, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    We still have a lot of good options. The top three are Harris, Siddle and Pattinson. If those three can play, Starc will be not such a great loss. There will be Cummins, Bird, Hilfy waiting in the wings, all who have succeeded at test level. I'm inclined not to go with Johnson if he can't be consistent - if he lets the pressure off he undermines the other two bowlers.

  • Dadders on September 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Aussie quick bowlers are made of glass. Every quick bowler has some injuries but the Aussie ones barely can play 3 tests in a row without being out for months. Starc, Harris, Cummins, Pattinson the list goes on. SA and Eng have risen to the top in test cricket as much because of the consistency as the quality of their attacks - Anderson, Broad +1, Steyn, Morkle, Philander +1

  • Chris_P on September 9, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    We got plenty of quality bowlers suited to our wickets, as long as MJ isn't selected (maybe Perth, but that's all) we have plenty of coverage. I think a few have been a little hard on Starc, as an article I read last week stated he bowled more overs than other quick over the past 12 months so, at 23 years of age, you would expect something had to give.

  • on September 9, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    I really hope that Australia can find some more robust young bowlers. If Harris can keep bowling with every drama that he has then Cummins, Pattinson, Starc, Hazelwood etc all have no excuses bar a lack of bowling fitness.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on September 9, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Oh,bad time to be injured for young Mitch just before the home Ashes.And on some most bouncy and lethal wickets prepared for the best pace attack in the world in its home to wreak the struggling and out of depth dad's army bats from the tourists Eng out to try and retain the Ashes. As much as it's unlucky for Starc, don't think it does matter much to Aus as the other Mitch stands to gain from other's loss .And it will be a sight to watch the fastest in the world wind up to sling his 95 mph bolts on some of pretty conducive pitches and havin the batsmen hoping around and mostly limping back to pavillion being done in by another snorter from the quick. With his old menace back he looks to be top wicket taker in his home Ashes as well as win the Ashes urn back. And with this form it is only matter of time when Mitch J is back to the no.1 fast bowler position in the world.

  • on September 9, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Sick of hearing people giving uninformed opinions on why the bowlers are breaking down and what should be done differently. There has been research done and patterns of injury have been found and workloads are managed accordingly. There's also nothing other than anecdotal evidence that fast bowlers of the past didn't break down as much as bowlers these days. The Aussie physio team are highly experienced and are doing best job possible with the Aussie cricketers with the data on hand at this point. Read Alex Kountouris' article if you want to be better informed on this topic.

  • DragonCricketer on September 9, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Why do they always breakdown all the time? It cant be all down to too much cricket can it? Most don't play all the matches in all 3 forms of the game. Apart from Lillee, I don't remember many regular fast bowler breakdowns around the world in the 70's, 80's and 90;s. Also, the great Windies quicks never seemed to breakdown. Modern day quicks have better science and physio's etc. Better managed, preempting injuries etc. Maybe its some strange force from outer space that is casing the problem.

  • CricketChat on September 9, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    This is certainly a bad prospect for Aussies. Their only strong suit of late has been their bowling. Even that is badly impacted now. M Johnson with his form and fitness should make up for some of the bowling losses.

  • on September 9, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    who has done such insane scheduling....if u can't even heal completely after one ashes,how can u be supossed to be ready for the combat....this should have been declared a 10 test event!!

  • anton1234 on September 9, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    I really didn't like the look of Bird in the 4th test. Good at FC level but innocuous in the very helpful conditions at Durham during the Ashes test. He is a very poor man's Glenn McGrath. Needs to up his pace by close to 5MPH. But still, his figures are very good so must have something about him.

    Australia have so many good reserve fast bowlers, like nowhere else, beyond Harris and Siddle but none are world class (apart from Johnson who can be, at times). Cutting, Hazlewood, Cummins, Starc, Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Bird, Pattinson, McDermott, Coulter-Nile are all very good but need to make the step up. Hilfenhaus has proved to be reliable without very threatening and could play play this winter if injuries pile up.

  • on September 9, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    Faulkners solid performances with both bat and ball in the last test V England and Watsons great control throughout the series gives Clarke the options to play an attacking bowler like Johnson. If Johnson becomes expensive; Clarke can turn to Watson or Faulkner to dry up the runs. It is quite remarkable how the English commentators were talking up the flatness of the pitch when Australia were smashing 300+ but Johnson at times made it look a WACA monster! The ball that got Trott was an absolute beauty and there will be plenty more of those in Australia!

  • Sunil_Batra on September 9, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    Warner, rogers Watson Clarke smith Khawaja haddin mj siddle Harris bird/Lyon for me based on early shield runs. Watch out for Khawaja, Warner to fire early in the shield season.For the bowling Rhino, Bird, Cutting should be watched for. Another one to watch out is Mcdermott from the Bulls.

  • Mervo on September 9, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    Johnson has over 200 Test wickets and a similar record to Merv Hughes. His batting in Australia is also excellent. Further, you don't get Test centuries with no talent. He also happens to be fast and now accurate. I can never believe the bias against Johnson. Bird is a pie thrower by international standards.

  • on September 9, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Warner/Hughes rogers Watson Clarke smith finch/Bailey/whoever haddin mj siddle Harris bird/Lyon Batting lineup seems unknown! Lets hope someone smashes some tons in the shield and brings that to the ashes series. Mj will do as well or likely better than starc, bird will probably like more bounce. Like mj said lastnight, he's been through his stress fractures has matured and got experience surely he's first choice left hander?

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on September 9, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    pattinson and starc are overrated bowlers.

  • on September 9, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    I wasn't impressed with Jackson Bird to be honest, disappointing and looked a bit innocuous. I have to say if I was an Australian I would go for Starc or even Johnson.

    For Australia to have any chance of regaining the Ashes, they need Ryan Harris to stay fully fit. They depend heavily on him.

  • Micky.Panda on September 9, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Johnson has never been good enough, rather just unreliable, nor has Starc set the world on fire. Bring back Hilfy. Australia too obsessed with youthful players who break down regularly, and don't really have the track record to warrant selection.

  • Beertjie on September 9, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    I have to take issue with the statement "he would have been a likely starter for the first Test at the Gabba." For my money. Harris, Siiddle, and a third quick are the guys. If Pattinson proves his fitness in Shield before the team is selected, he'd be a certainty. If not, there are others like Bird, Faulkner, Sayers, Hazlewood who'd fill in as third seamer quite well. Starc would've been a high-risk selection given both his vulnerability to injury as well as his rpo. At the WACA he would have been needed but the other Mitch can play just as effectively there. Bird will likely play tests 3, 4 and 5 seeing how well he played in his 2 tests last year. Reverse swing is the key for the first two tests and Starc is good at that, but also costly when he gets it wrong. Hope he makes a recovery and is fit enough to go to SA in February when Harris is most likely not to be fit. The depth is there - use it NSP! Agree @Mitty2 on (September 9, 2013, 6:53 GMT), but he can play ONE test!

  • on September 9, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    As a pommie I believe Australia will miss Mitchell Starcs batting ability down the order more than his bowling as Australis have plenty of talented quickies he does not often fail with the bat can score a quick fire 60-70 to change the momentum of the innings and he averages 30 with the bat in test cricket which is fantastic for a number 9

  • on September 9, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Starc is a promising youngster. The southpaw will be, if not a wicket-taker, he will reel the batsmen of the opponent. Also against an arch-rival, youngsters are frenzied playing against a top side i.e, England and look to show their best. You give a pitch that Starc wants, he will be devastating as hurricane. Sad to hear this news.

  • CoverDrive88 on September 9, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    I know that there is a higher workload than in the past, but I really doubt Starc has done a ridiculous amount of bowling. I have to suspect the sports science team is involved in this. People who are used to training swimmers, runners and rugby league footballers do not necessarily have the right background to train cricketers. In the past, the best work for a bowler was basic fitness and bowling, and very few young bowlers like Starc, Bird, Pattinson, or Cummins had regular problems. Now we have half our best bowlers down with stress fractures at any one time. There has to be a reason beyond bowling. Just how much weight training are these guys doing, for instance?

  • pat_one_back on September 9, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    Time we left out under 25 bowlers in shield & short form to work on variation and big match pressure, their bodies simply don't sustain test cricket. It's nothing new, we saw it with Brett Lee & Jason Gillespie. The occasional test to fill an injury gap or field a fourth quick will ease them in, unlike pur batting we have the depth to look after our young bowlers.

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    Johnson, if he can bowl like he did yesterday in the early shield rounds should play as the third seamer, THIRD seamer! With Harris and Siddle to lead the way I don't think Mitch will feel near the pressure he has before, his action is far more upright now and he is getting some nice late away swing, much improved on anything i've ever seen from him before.

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    sad..... hearing that but Mitchell johnson be a gud replacement for him.And where is hilfenhaus i don't think he had done anything wrong to be dropped.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 9, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Really sad news - I don't wish this kind of thing on any player from any side. I was expecting Starc to certainly get a few games in the upcoming Ashes series, even though he was rather disappointing in the previous one.

    Mitty2: I did think Bird would have performed better in U.K. conditions, but I didn't say he should be restricted to tests in U.K. only! I think Australian selectors are nuts if they don't give him at least the first 2 or 3 games of the upcoming series. If Harris is fit he can once again reap rewards for pressure applied by Siddle/Bird. I share your doubts over Mitchell Johnson in test whites...

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Whatever happened to the likes of Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus? Have they run out of gas or not on the selector's radars.

  • Green_and_Gold on September 9, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    If you bowl fast you will put your body under stress - no matter how smooth and correct your action is.

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Another chocolate soldier down.

  • PFEL on September 9, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Good news for Mitchell Johnson. And not really a blow at all for Australia in the grand scheme, because I feel they have 8 or 9 bowlers all pretty much at the same level in terms of ability. Harris, Siddle, Johnson, Bird could be the 4 quicks for the whole series.

  • on September 9, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    It would help if actions were checked and corrected - and NOT left alone "until a bowler matures', which seems to be the current CA ethos.

    One day, but not soon, boards and coaches will start to work with bowlers to ensure they are efficient when they bowl regardless of the work loads. It is preferable to have actions that are flowing, correct, less stress-free, and help with increasing speed and control.

    Pigs might fly. But this is a recurring theme, especially for Australia and South Africa

  • Mitty2 on September 9, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    The attack on Boxing Day of bird, siddle and Johnson at Boxing Day was deadly. MJ actually fed off Bird's pressure and bowled with confidence and aggression, but, as we all know, even if MJ dominates the shield in the first three rounds before the gabba, he would succumb to mental pressure. He simply cannot operate on such a big stage, and his shocking series of '10/11 has prompted selectors to (rightly) go for the slower quicks with more control - and if weren't for rain and the batters this would've reaped rewards these past ashes. The chance of his yips are too large, although I'd prefer him to starc.

    Despite what people say, bird actually is NOT suited to English conditions, as in three series (two A tours) he has not perfomered anywhere near as well as he has in Australia. I he performs as he always does in the shield he should be selected, although I wouldn't mind giving Sayers a shot. Right now I see the attack being bird/siddle/Harris/lyon, with Sayers and Ahmed back up.

  • on September 9, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    MJ after yesterday's 91-92 MPH control swing bowling should be in contention and can be lethal with Harris, Faulkner and Bird

  • goldeneraaus on September 9, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    Disheartening for Starc, but Australian fans biggest fear will be that this, combined with Johnsons impressive but IRRELEVANT strong ODI form, will see Mitchell Johnson back in the test side. Johnson has always been potent in the short format due to his awkward angle and hostile pace but in test cricket with no onus to up the anti, he can be sat on and picked off easily, releasing any pressure others build.. Would not mind seeing Hilfy returning to provide a strong body and swinging modus operandi, hoping he shows the sort of form pre-season he did against India 2 years ago.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 9, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    Mr. Johnson, welcome back.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 9, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    Mr. Johnson, welcome back.

  • goldeneraaus on September 9, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    Disheartening for Starc, but Australian fans biggest fear will be that this, combined with Johnsons impressive but IRRELEVANT strong ODI form, will see Mitchell Johnson back in the test side. Johnson has always been potent in the short format due to his awkward angle and hostile pace but in test cricket with no onus to up the anti, he can be sat on and picked off easily, releasing any pressure others build.. Would not mind seeing Hilfy returning to provide a strong body and swinging modus operandi, hoping he shows the sort of form pre-season he did against India 2 years ago.

  • on September 9, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    MJ after yesterday's 91-92 MPH control swing bowling should be in contention and can be lethal with Harris, Faulkner and Bird

  • Mitty2 on September 9, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    The attack on Boxing Day of bird, siddle and Johnson at Boxing Day was deadly. MJ actually fed off Bird's pressure and bowled with confidence and aggression, but, as we all know, even if MJ dominates the shield in the first three rounds before the gabba, he would succumb to mental pressure. He simply cannot operate on such a big stage, and his shocking series of '10/11 has prompted selectors to (rightly) go for the slower quicks with more control - and if weren't for rain and the batters this would've reaped rewards these past ashes. The chance of his yips are too large, although I'd prefer him to starc.

    Despite what people say, bird actually is NOT suited to English conditions, as in three series (two A tours) he has not perfomered anywhere near as well as he has in Australia. I he performs as he always does in the shield he should be selected, although I wouldn't mind giving Sayers a shot. Right now I see the attack being bird/siddle/Harris/lyon, with Sayers and Ahmed back up.

  • on September 9, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    It would help if actions were checked and corrected - and NOT left alone "until a bowler matures', which seems to be the current CA ethos.

    One day, but not soon, boards and coaches will start to work with bowlers to ensure they are efficient when they bowl regardless of the work loads. It is preferable to have actions that are flowing, correct, less stress-free, and help with increasing speed and control.

    Pigs might fly. But this is a recurring theme, especially for Australia and South Africa

  • PFEL on September 9, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Good news for Mitchell Johnson. And not really a blow at all for Australia in the grand scheme, because I feel they have 8 or 9 bowlers all pretty much at the same level in terms of ability. Harris, Siddle, Johnson, Bird could be the 4 quicks for the whole series.

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Another chocolate soldier down.

  • Green_and_Gold on September 9, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    If you bowl fast you will put your body under stress - no matter how smooth and correct your action is.

  • on September 9, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Whatever happened to the likes of Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus? Have they run out of gas or not on the selector's radars.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 9, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Really sad news - I don't wish this kind of thing on any player from any side. I was expecting Starc to certainly get a few games in the upcoming Ashes series, even though he was rather disappointing in the previous one.

    Mitty2: I did think Bird would have performed better in U.K. conditions, but I didn't say he should be restricted to tests in U.K. only! I think Australian selectors are nuts if they don't give him at least the first 2 or 3 games of the upcoming series. If Harris is fit he can once again reap rewards for pressure applied by Siddle/Bird. I share your doubts over Mitchell Johnson in test whites...