Mitchell Starc has been one of the most lethal fast bowlers of this era for a while now. The left-arm pacer from Australia has been instrumental in making the current Australian team’s bowling unit one of the most potent ones in modern day cricket.
Starc is a rare and refreshing breed – he bowls close to 150 km/h, gets excellent bounce and movement and can produce the most devastating yorkers. When inflow, the left-arm can be one of the best sights in cricket and almost unplayable to face for new batsmen and especially for tail-enders. In an age where batsmen are ruling the roost, Starc is one of those rare fast bowlers who brings with him that fear factor.Embed from Getty Images
Unfortunately, constant battles with injuries and dipping form had made things difficult for Starc in the past couple of years. In 2018, Starc played 7 ODIs and could only grab 11 wickets in them at an average of 37.36. Then, he didn’t play a single ODI match in 2019 before the World Cup owing to an injury. There were concerns that Starc might have lost his rhythm and firm and might not be at his best in the World Cup in England.
However, in Australia’s World Cup game against the West Indies at Nottingham, Starc produced a fiery spell that destroyed the opposition. On a good batting surface, as West Indies were chasing Australia’s 289, they were rocked and eventually demolished by Starc’s superb spell of 5-46. He bowled with fire, mixed his varieties, and was deadly with his yorkers.
With that performance, Starc has reached 151 wickets in just 77 ODIs – becoming the fastest bowler ever to reach 150 wickets in the One-Day game.Embed from Getty Images
Former Australian captain Alan Border believes that Starc is the “best around” at the moment. “The way he starts, he swings the ball early, and then, later on, he goes around the wicket and makes it hard for tail-enders to get bat on the ball with his pace and the angle he bowls,” Border was quoted as saying in an interview.
The border is spot on with his assessment. Starc is indeed challenging to face with his angle at such furious pace. Another interesting stat to note is that since the 2015 World Cup, Starc has attempted an impressive 12.5 % yorkers overall and 19.9 % yorkers at the death – the most by any fast bowler in this phase. When he gets them right, it will be difficult for the best batsmen to face them. And Australia would hope that Starc would take the confidence from his match-winning show in the game against West Indies and keep improving further as the tournament progresses.Embed from Getty Images
An in-form Starc is a very dangerous proposition and makes defending champions Australia that much more potent. Australia have come a long way from the lows of their ball-tampering saga. They now have a confident and in-form batting unit. And while their bowling was always reliable, having a roaring Mitchell Starc would make their side dangerous and a fearful force that might well go on to defend their crown.