Starc geared up for return in Indore Test despite some ‘discomfort’
Australia pacer Mitchell Starc, who is set to replace Pat Cummins in the Indore Test, has admitted that he still has discomfort in his injured finger that’s kept him out of action since last year’s Boxing Day Test. Starc, however, reckoned the third Test wouldn’t be the first time he’s played a game with ‘some sort of discomfort’.
“If I only played when I was at 100% I would have only played five or 10 Tests,” Starc said two days before the fixture. “I’m happy with where it’s at and I’ve built up enough of a pain threshold to deal with that stuff over the last 10 or 12 years.”
He also revealed that while he’s still working on full mobility of the finger, it is not set to affect his performance in the match.
“Nothing physically in terms of what the finger does, there’s not the same amount of movement in it. It’s more the discomfort of the joint being restricted having been in a splint for six weeks and still having to be in a splint for another couple of weeks yet. That’s probably the only part – dealing with the discomfort of it, getting the mobility back into it. That’ll come over the next couple of weeks and it’s progressed again, it’s progression each day I bowl. It’s not a concern for me, the comfort levels – it’s doing what I need it to do to be available to play.
“I had 10 days off when I first did the injury and then I’ve been bowling since. workload wise, body-wise no concern at all, I’m comfortable and happy with where my numbers are, where my body is at preparing for this series and then obviously not having the first two Tests to continue that as well. In that regard very happy with where it’s all at, now it’s just an execution of skills having had a break from game time.”
With the unavailability of Cummins, Australia will have a new stand-in captain in Steve Smith but Starc does not believe that it will affect the team too much.
“I think it’s pretty seamless. He’s [Smith] obviously done it for a long time. Certainly, I’ve played a lot of cricket with Steve as captain as well. Personally, it’s been a pretty easy transition. Not much changes. It’s still the same group of players, obviously with Pat out, but not much changes. He’s obviously going to have certain ways that he likes to captain as well or different ideas, which is no different when he is vice-captain to Pat. It’s going to be slightly different, but I think we’ve seen over the last sort of 12-18 months when he’s stepped in, he’s done a fantastic job again,” he said.
Starc also expects his role to be that of subtly aiding the other bowlers in the group as well. With the left-arm angle that he brings in, it could prove to be an added advantage for the spinners on dry pitches.
“There’s always an element of that in the subcontinent and particularly in this series with spin playing a huge part. Thinkm as quicksm you have to be prepared to bowl at any point and whether that be looking like shorter spells or working with the guy at the other end. For me, being a left-armer is slightly different and obviously with the footmarks I can produce as well. Certainly produce more than the Indian guys, being a bit heavier at the crease. For me, if it is short sharp spells, using both sides of wicket, using a bit of airspeed as well, hopefully there might be a bit of reverse out there as well. We’ll see how it pans out. We’ll make our plans in the next day and a half and go from there,” he said.