Teams Played For
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney Sixers, Yorkshire, Australians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sydney Thunder, Kolkata Knight Riders, Australia A
One of the finest fast bowlers of the modern generation, Mitchell Starc will go down in history as one of the best Australian pacers of all time. Among contemporary bowlers, Starc is among very few who have the ability to terrorize opposition batsmen with his pace, swing, and accuracy. As a teenager, Starc had aspirations of becoming a wicket-keeper and was spotted by a coach while he was being tested as a wicket-keeper.
The coach had asked him to come out of the net and offered to teach him bowling. Starc got accustomed to fast bowling pretty quickly and was bowling at 135 clicks as a 16-year-old. His coach at that time Neil D’Costa recalls fascinating stories about the speedster who was always a great listener. Following some impressive performances at the junior level, Starc was picked for the New South Wales U 17’s.
He had a below-par Sheffield Shield debut as a 19-year-old and leaked runs besides bagging a couple of wickets. He came back with a bang next season when he prized out 21 wickets in 8 matches. He came into the headlines with an outstanding performance in the domestic One Day Cup. He finished with 26 wickets in just 6 matches at a surreal average of 8.12.
The NSW bowler was called up in the Australian squad for the two-match Test series in India in 2010 as a back-up fast bowler but had to warm the benches and had to wait for his elusive baggy green. On the back of injuries to the fast bowlers, Starc managed to make his Test debut against New Zealand at Gabba in 2011. He had a forgettable debut leaking runs and went onto have a couple of poor Test matches. He didn’t look menacing and lacked intensity.
The Baulkham Hills-born was dropped from the first two home Tests against India in 2012-13 but came back strongly in the last two Tests which included the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar. Still, he was not hostile enough to come to the notice of the selectors and he was dropped from the squad. He went to England and played in the County Championship to sharpen his skills and learn the skills of bowling with a Duke ball. He returned as a completely different bowler.
He bagged three five-wicket hauls on his return to the ODI side but a string of injuries didn’t allow him to be a regular member of the Test squad. He had a poor time with the ball during India’s tour in 2014-15 but turned his fortunes around next year. Starc kept improving his Test match bowling and was the spearhead in the limited-overs set-up.
The left-arm pacer had a dream time in the ICC World Cup which Australia won for the 5th time. Coming to the World Cup, Starc had a great time in the Carlton Tri-series also involving India and England. The lanky speedster finished with 22 wickets in the quadrennial event and was named the Player of the Tournament.
The World Cup 2015 proved to be the turning point in Starc’s career. He emerged as Australia’s leading speedster in the longest format across all conditions. He broke the 160 kmph barrier during the WACA Test against New Zealand in 2015. Starc finished 2015 as the leading wicket-taker in international cricket with 87 scalps under his belt.
The southpaw has had a string of injuries yet again and the foot injury made him pick and choose the series. He rested himself from less important matches. He was quite exceptional in Sri Lanka in 2016 when he bagged 18 wickets in the 3 match series despite his side getting annihilated at the hands of the Islanders.
The Aussie spearhead registered himself again in the record books when he bagged two hat-tricks in a Sheffield Shield game against Western Australia. He also became the first Australian to achieve the feat. He was quite brilliant in the 2017-18 Ashes, where he formed a formidable pact with Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon to defend the trophy at home. However, it was Starc’s 22 wickets in just four matches that destroyed the Englishmen.
As far as franchise cricket is concerned, Starc has been part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad in the IPL. Time and again he has been appreciated for picking his country over franchise cricket. He has been withdrawing his name from the auction list of the Indian Premier League since then.
In 2019, when the Australians landed in the United Kingdom to defend the World Cup, Starc had all the eyeballs on him. Despite the Sandpaper gate, the defending champions were looked at as the firm favourites and the left-arm pacer was their finest bet. Although Australia was thrashed in the semifinal by the eventual winners, England, it was Starc who ended the tournament as the highest wicket-taker to achieve the feat for the second successive time.
Post the World Cup, the Australian has lost some knick. He wasn’t a regular feature during the Ashes of 2019 and was ordinary during the home series against India. The southpaw bettered his form against touring Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and New Zealand in the 2019-20 season. But was again out of colours when the Indians won their second successive Test series Down Under. However, Starc is the ambassador of the statement - “Cometh the hour, cometh the man”. That’s why the southpaw remains Australia's finest bet for the upcoming season where they would play the 2021 World T20, before challenging England in the Ashes at home.
(As of June 2021)