Not long ago, Mitchell Starc was Australia’s first choice with the new ball. But in a ‘conditions-based call’ in this edition of the T20 World Cup, the team management has brought in Starc as the first change.
While it’s a new thing for the pace ace, he has made sure to make an impact.
At the Gabba earlier this week, he surprised Ireland batters Curtis Camper and George Dockrell, rattling their stumps twice with inswingers. As the Irishmen struggled against the towering Starc, he turned things Australia’s way ensuring that the team stays in the hunt for a spot in the semifinals.
In the 58 T20Is that he has featured in, it was the fifth time that the left-armer was not given the opening over, and Josh Hazlewood started the proceedings.
And, ahead of the last group fixture, captain Aaron Finch, too, admitted that this is a World Cup-specific plan, keeping the PowerPlay in mind.
“We feel as though he’s got a really important role through the middle part of the innings, and particularly with Adam Zampa around, who’s been really good for a long time now,” Finch said.
“In T20s, same as one-day cricket, if you don’t get wickets through that middle phase of the game, you are incredibly vulnerable at the back end, regardless of who’s bowling. You could have the best two overs, and if you’ve got two set batters, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to contain them…”
“It’s been a little change in Mitch’s role to be pushing harder through the middle overs and almost going towards the back end of the PowerPlay so that we can try and get a wicket there to expose a middle order right on the back of that. That’s the only reason for it…” the captain explained.
Talking about the pace battery comprising Starc, Pat Cummins and Hazlewood, Finch said, “We feel as though all three of them have got great capabilities with the new ball, and Mitch has been as good as anyone of all time with the new ball over his career.
“The fact that his role has slightly changed isn’t a reflection on anything else apart from just restructuring sort of the PowerPlay and then probably the first 10 overs actually trying to continue to press for wickets. That just comes down to trying to navigate that 20 overs as best we can with an eye of taking middle-order wickets…”
After the Ireland game, even Starc had stated that if the team management believes that it’s going to swing, he could still open the attack. And even, Finch kept that option open, keeping in mind the fact that the team could still make it to the semifinal.
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