Ian Healy has put the waning form of his nephew-in-law Mitchell Starc under the microscope ahead of Australia’s Cricket World Cup semi-final clash with South Africa.
With Australia’s finals berth assured and their semi-final opponents mathematically certain to be the Proteas heading into their last group-stage match, Starc, one of the world’s best white-ball bowlers, was rested for the clash with Bangladesh, as was Glenn Maxwell.
“The way we started meant we couldn’t rest anyone earlier in the campaign being 0-2,” Starc said of the decision.
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“(We) had the chance (to rest players) with securing the semi-final spot the other night. Glenn (Maxwell) after his knock and his cramping needed a bit of a rest and I didn’t have much of a say in my decision. I’ve carried a few things from the Ashes and it was a chance before the semi-finals.”
The left-arm seamer, who is married to fellow Aussie cricket champion Alyssa Healy, is certain to slot straight back into the team for Thursday night’s game, but his wife’s uncle — another great of Australian cricket — says Starc’s tournament has been substandard, particularly when the ball has been new, which is when he is typically at his most damaging.
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“If we haven’t got South Africa one or two wickets down in that powerplay, then it’ll be a big total to chase,” Healy said on SEN.
“Is (Starc) still a potent force? He’s not been potent at all in this tournament.
“Ten wickets off eight games is not bad, but where is he taking these wickets? He won’t be potent at all until he gets it right and zeros in on the stumps much better than he has. Fire into those stumps and feet.”
Mitchell Starc will come straight back into the team for Australia’s semi-final with South Africa. Credit: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Speaking ahead of the cut-throat semi with the Proteas, Starc admitted he hadn’t been at his best.
“I certainly haven’t been at the level I would have liked — or not the same level as the last two World Cups anyway, but now (I have) a chance at the pointy end to impact again,” he said.
“Certainly, bowling first on particular wickets, the new ball with two fielders out I think has been almost the hardest time to bowl. You get a bit of an understanding of the wicket as the game goes on. That’s not a sob story, that’s the nature of one-day cricket.
“You’ve got two brand new balls on flat wickets, that’s the nature of the World Cup if you look at the runs scored, or certainly centuries scored, as opposed to five wicket (hauls) taken, the ratios are heavily skewed. Bowlers just have to find a way.”
His performances during the powerplay have been modest for his lofty standards. Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Healy added: “He needs to be much, much better.
“That’s why they rested him. Just to try and fire him up.
“He is a long way off his previous (best).”
Australia have taken just eight wickets during the powerplay this tournament, the third fewest among the competition.
“That’s got to be a worry for them,” Ricky Ponting said of the alarming statistic.
“It’s one thing I’ve been a little bit disappointed with. You look at the release of the Australian quicks, compared to the releases of the Indian quicks. (Mohammed) Siraj, (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Mohammed) Shami hit the seam, bowl upright, down the wicket, getting some shape and seam.
“The Australians haven’t been able to swing the new ball hardly at all right the way through this series, and for mine it’s all down to that release point.”
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