What’s the story?
Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Starc wants skipper Steven Smith to back a pace-heavy bowling attack for the upcoming Champions Trophy event in England as well as the Ashes series later this year as he believes that Australia have the fast bowlers capable of winning matches for the side on their own.
Starc believes that he along with James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood has the necessary variations to negate the effects of what could be deemed as a one-dimensional bowling attack.
"We have grown up and come through the ranks together but never had the chance to feature in a squad together because of injuries. But we still have plenty of time to wreak havoc on batsmen around the world and, hopefully, that starts at the Champions Trophy and then onwards to the Ashes,” Starc said.
"I think it is an exciting time for us and for Australian cricket to have four quicks together and build a strong cartel for the next five or so years."
Starc is fit and raring to go for Australia at the Champions Trophy event next month in England and giving the IPL a miss has ensured that he remains in top shape for the ICC event. The same goes for Josh Hazelwood who has given his fitness prime importance ahead of playing cricket regularly.
While Pat Cummins has kept himself busy with the IPL turning out for the Delhi Daredevils, Pattinson has made a bright start to his stint with Nottinghamshire. The duo will join up with the national side soon and Starc is hoping that all four of them will a get to feature in the same bowling attack at least for a few matches – something that coach Darren Lehmann has hinted at previously.
The heart of the matter
With the batting standards of most teams getting better by the day, many international sides, most notably the Indian side led by Virat Kohli are bravely going for the five-bowler theory. Starc is of the opinion that with the four pacers in the side more than handy with the bat, it is quite possible that the ploy can be tried at the Test level where the presence of off-spinner Nathan Lyon is almost guaranteed.
Cummins and Pattinson have been in good form as well lately and with Starc’s big-hitting prowess, the tail certainly can more than just wag should Australia go in with the suggestion.
England have been one side that has certainly benefitted by having someone like Ben Stokes in their side allowing them to play the extra bowler and Starc is confident that the Australian pacers can also make contributions with the bat.
Australia are grouped along with familiar foes in England, New Zealand and Bangladesh in the group stages of the tournament and will face off against Asian opposition in Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the warm-up matches prior to the tournament.
We have to wait and watch whether Australia pay heed to Starc’s suggestion but the warm-up catches can certainly be tried out one feels.
There’s no doubt that Australia now possesses a bunch of talented young pacers who have unfortunately been down with a number of niggling injuries at different points of time. The four leading bowlers though are now fit and raring to go in what is certainly a very important year for Australia as they aim to reclaim the Ashes.
With the pitches becoming more batsman friendly by the day, it is essential that the bowling attack contains the necessary arsenal to survive and bowl out the opposition. Starc’s suggestion is certainly one that can be tried out but only time will tell whether that’s the case.