Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie believes that Mitchell Starc needs to step up in the upcoming Ashes series and that his performances could be critical to his place in the Australia Test XI. Starc hasn’t enjoyed consistent outings in Australian colours across formats this year, and Gillespie hopes for the Aussie left-arm quick to find form against England.
Mitchell Starc took 9 wickets in four Tests in Australia’s last Test series against India and his inconsistent performances continued at the T20 World Cup.
Earlier today, Australia’s newly-appointed Test captain Pat Cummins confirmed that Starc would be playing the first Test in Brisbane.
“I think it is fair to say (that Starc would be playing for his place),” Gillespie told Hindustan Times in a media interaction. “Mitch (Starc) has got to bowl well, you’re judged on your performances.”
Gillespie, however, insisted that a tough time in personal life, coupled with bio-bubble environment might have taken a toll on Starc’s on-field performances. “Last summer in Australia, Mitch was going through a tough time, his father had passed away. It’s a tough time for anyone – add to it, living in bubble environments and representing your country, playing the sport you love.
“However, all players are judged on their performances with the bat and ball. And this series, he has to bowl well. There’s no doubt about that, as will all players. Mitch is a fine bowler, yes, he has got a little bit of criticism in recent times but he is a quality bowler.”
Gillespie also believed that Australia may opt to rotate their fast bowlers and Mitchell Starc in particular.
“There was a bit of criticism (about rotation) when India were in Australia. We didn’t rotate our fast bowlers. They looked a little worn out. There’s a bit of talk that they will be rotating the fast bowlers now. I would like to rotate Mitchell Starc. He would be vying to play in the pink ball Test, so they can eye rotating Starc for an odd game,” Gillespie said.
Pat would need support
Being a fast-bowler captain is not easy and Jason Gillespie insisted that Cummins would need support from other senior figures in the Australian XI when the side takes the field in the first Test at the Gabba. Cummins was named the Australia Test captain after Tim Paine had stepped down last month, following allegations of indecent behavior off-the-field
“With Pat becoming the captain of Australia, he said he wants a more collaborative approach. He’ll need to have that, being a fast-bowling captain is difficult. At times, he will be in a middle of a spell and he would need a break (from captaincy duties). At that time, he would need support from his deputy. He would need to take a backseat when it comes to leadership,” Gillespie said.
“Make no mistake, Pat will still be in charge out there. He just needs some support every now and then, which is absolutely fine.”
Gillespie also pinned his hopes on Alex Carey to put out solid performances in the Ashes and efficiently replace Tim Paine.
“I see this as his great opportunity. There are a number of senior players around. Certainly, Tim Paine is a fine leader but he’s not here now, so there’s no point worrying about it. I think the focus is on what Cummins could bring,” Gillespie said.
“Alex Carey, very excited about him. He’s the 50th South Australian to represent the country. He will do a fine job behind the stumps.”