It is incredible to contemplate that Mitchell Starc was a wicket-keeper until the age of 15. Standing at 6ft 5, Starc was always destined to be a menacing fast bowler. He's athletic run-up, gather and a perfect release enable him to swing the ball into the right-hand batsmen at a brisk pace.
Starc was the player of the tournament in Australia in 2015, taking 22 wickets in eight matches with an astonishing strike-rate of 10.18. His spell of 6/28 against New Zealand and his ball that disturb the stumps of Brendon McCullum in the World Cup final will remain enriched in cricket lovers' mind forever. Four years on and Starc will once again be the leader of the pack.
In 75 matches he has taken 145 wickets at a strike-rate of 25.9 and an economy rate of 4.95. Starc's record in ODI cricket is phenomenal and puts him on the pedestal along with the most elite fast bowlers that have played the game.
However, on this occasion, he heads into the tournament with limited match practice. Starc has spent the last three months recovering from a side strain and has not featured in the Australian set-up in the past 13 matches.
There is no doubt Starc will take the new ball in the first match and if he can get his inswinger spot on, it could be doomsday for the batsmen. He is also an exceptional death bowler. His toe-crushing yorkers are the best in the business. He can also worry the batsmen by bowling around the wicket and has also developed a good slower ball.
Australia is likely to use him in short bursts and will rely on him heavily to provide the breakthroughs with the new ball. If Starc can replicate his 2015 World Cup then Australia will be a tough team to beat.
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India's formidable pace attack will not be as effective as New Zealand speedster Neil Wagner in bowling bouncers during their upcoming tour of Australia, feels wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
Australia had retained the Ashes in England last year with a 2-2 draw but the defeat in the last Test at The Oval still rankles Smith, who was the star of the series with 774 runs at an average of 110.57 from four Tests.
During the COVID-19 break, Starc trained with his New South Wales teammates, which, he says, allowed him to return to top physical shape ahead of the much-anticipated home Test series against the Virat Kohli-led India later this year.