Australian speedster Mitchell Starc has become the first national player to confirm that he will skip the upcoming edition of the Big Bash League (BBL). The left-arm paceman stated that he enjoys the BBL, but will always put international cricket ahead of franchise cricket.
With January's ODI series against South Africa at home likely to be discarded, Cricket Australia (CA) hopes to have all the top-line players available for the BBL. The upcoming summer looms crucial for the T20 league as CA aims to revive the tournament.
Speaking to AAP from Galle, Starc declared that his stance regarding franchise cricket hasn't changed in the last seven years and that he wants to focus more on international fixtures. Hence, T20 leagues aren't a priority at the moment.
"I have always enjoyed the BBL when I have played it, but my approach with all franchise cricket hasn't changed over the last seven years. My approach to the IPL, BBL, I have looked at the Australian schedule and wanting to be as fit and well-performed for that as I can. And franchise cricket has taken a back seat."
The left-arm pacer last played in the BBL back in the 2014-15 season and having become one of Australia's first-choice players across formats, he has stayed away from franchise cricket. The paceman also hasn't played in the IPL since the 2015 edition.
"The schedule in the next 18 months is ridiculous" - Mitchell Starc
Starc reflected on the 'ridiculous' international schedule for the next 18 months. However, the New South Wales quick stressed that he wants to prioritize international cricket and family.
"The schedule in the next 18 months is ridiculous. I will always keep Australian cricket front of mind, and then franchise cricket. I also like spending time at home and seeing my wife," the veteran bowler continued.
Following the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, Australia have limited overs series lined up against Zimbabwe, New Zealand, India, England, and the West Indies, followed by a home T20 World Cup.
After that, Australia have home Tests against the West Indies and South Africa before the BBL, while next year's India tour and the 50-over World Cup also looms large.
While Mitchell Starc has opted out of this year's BBL, the likes of Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson, and Steve Smith will probably play in the same.