Australia pacer Mitchell Starc said that playing Test cricket is his priority but had ‘strong opinions’ when he was benched during the T20 World Cup game against Afghanistan.
Australia still went on to win the match but the victory margin wasn’t enough, which helped England in qualifying for the semi-finals when they beat Sri Lanka later in the day. The hosts had to make an exit from the tournament and Starc’s omission became a point of debate in the aftermath of their World Cup performance.
Starc has now opened up on his omission, saying that he did discuss a lot of things with the Chair of Selectors George Bailey after the mega event.
“George and I have spoken and that is where it will stay,” Starc said after picking up four wickets during the second ODI against England.
“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.”
The left-arm pacer also went on to mention that playing in the 2024 T20 World Cup is one of his goals but there’s still a lot of time to go and a lot of work to be done.
“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,” he added.
Many are of the opinion that Starc’s decision to not play IPL has hindered his growth as a T20 bowler. But he doesn’t regret it as the break and the rest has helped him immensely to do better in Test cricket, which remains his priority.
“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.”
Starc will also be crucial to Australia’s plans for the 50-over World Cup, which is going to be played in India next year. He also has ambitions of playing in the 2024 World Cup but these two events may well bring an end to his desire of being active in the white-ball format as he has already dropped big hints that he wants to stay fresh for Test cricket.
“Tests always first…far above white-ball [cricket]. I’ll decide on the rest as I go, where my body is at and how I feel about it. I would love to, selection and form pending, continue playing Test cricket as long as I can,” the 32-year-old said.
“It’s certainly impossible at the moment to play every game as a three-format player. We’ve seen that over the last few years, sometimes there are two Australian teams playing at the same time in different continents in different formats. They see a break and put a series on. I think having those periods of time to rest may help me keep bowling at decent speeds for a period of time. I don’t think playing three formats is something I can [continue] for a long period of time moving forward now,” Starc added.