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News

Starc 'had strong opinions' on being benched in T20 World Cup

"I still have ambitions to play T20 cricket for Australia but it is a lot of water to go under the bridge"

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
20-Nov-2022
Mitchell Starc celebrates taking two in the first over, Australia vs England, 2nd ODI, Sydney, November 19, 2022

Mitchell Starc took four wickets in the second ODI against England  •  Getty Images

Mitchell Starc has hinted strongly at his frustration at being omitted from what became Australia's final match of the T20 World Cup against Afghanistan but he retains ambitions to be part of the 2024 squad in West Indies and USA.
Starc was benched for the crucial game in Adelaide earlier this month in favour of Kane Richardson having previously been demoted from his traditional new-ball role in what had been described as a change of tactics.
Australia won the match by just four runs which meant they needed Sri Lanka to beat England in order to progress to the semi-finals which did not happen. The decision around Starc became a focal point for the post-tournament fallout.
After his four-wicket haul in the second ODI against England, which included a devastating swinging delivery to remove Dawid Malan, Starc confirmed he had held forthright talks with chair of selectors George Bailey although did not elaborate on what was discussed.
"George and I have spoken and that is where it will stay," he said. "I had strong opinions on it and had a conversation, and that's where it is. I spoke to George at length, it was a good conversation. Many different things were floated there."
With Australia not set to play another T20 until August in South Africa, Starc added the next World Cup in the format was down the list of his immediate thoughts but it remained on the radar.
"I still have ambitions to play T20 cricket for Australia but it is a long time to the next one and a lot of water to go under the bridge," he said. "So we will face that when we get to that."
"I feel like particularly last year, if I take my Test cricket from the last 12-18 months, and how that's benefited from the break that I've had through IPL periods, that's paid for itself I guess."
Mitchell Starc
Starc made a pointed reference about having the new ball in his hands in the one-day series against England. His biggest impact at the T20 World Cup came when he claimed two wickets in his first over against Ireland, which was the fifth of the innings, when the ball surprisingly shaped at the Gabba before he went on to concede 43 in his next three overs.
"The white ball doesn't swing much after a couple of overs," he said. "It's nice to take a new one and swing it. Obviously it is a role I have played for a very long time, so nice to have that role again tonight. If I do open the bowling, I bowl fast and swing it and try and hit the stumps.
"It swung at the Gabba in the fifth over which is pretty rare for a white ball at the moment. It doesn't mean that in a different role it won't swing. I was given a different role for the World Cup and apart from probably the first over of the first game and a couple of balls here and there I probably played it pretty well."
However, Starc's T20 numbers in recent years have slid. All his appearances in the format since 2015 have been at international level due to the schedule making in tough to play BBL and his decision to opt out of the IPL. He admits not playing in India could have hindered the development of his game but is at ease with the route he has taken.
"It may have [hampered T20 bowling] but if I'd gone there, having no break and playing 12 months of the year, what does that affect? Do I break down? Does it affect my red-ball cricket? You can't just sit there and go 'he should go to the IPL' because he'd be a better T20 bowler. What's the downside of that? Do I give away a format of the game because I'm playing 12 months of the year? In my mind I don't regret any of those decisions not to go. I wouldn't change it.
"I feel like particularly last year, if I take my Test cricket from the last 12-18 months, and how that's benefited from the break that I've had through IPL periods, that's paid for itself I guess. It's always been my decision, and that is part of the reason that I do it, to give myself that break physically and mentally. And the other side of it is to see and spend time with my wife [Alysaa Healy] away from cricket. It's hard enough juggling one cricket schedule, let alone two."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo