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What else does Mitchell Starc need to do right?

670   //    21 Nov 2012, 18:51 IST

Michael Clarke – the Australian captain – believes that Mitchell Starc is quite ready to seal his place in the Test line-up and is knocking at the doors of the team. The left-arm paceman has been very impressive over the past six months. His performances in the limited-over formats and in first-class cricket have been match-winning, to say the least.

Starc is being mentored by Wasim Akram; having met the virtuoso himself at the Champions League T20 last month, he picked up some good tips that would help him develop his game.

“He said I can’t be too rigid and mechanical in the wrist or I won’t get that whip. I’m constantly tweaking things, just little things with my action and tactically too. I never like to make massive changes but I’m always trying to improve my technique,” Starc said.

Everyone was under the impression that his left-arm variety and his lethal in-swingers to the right-handers along with the form that he has displayed over the recent past would be enough to warrant a spot in the playing XI, but apparently not.

2012 has been quite a fruitful year for the young left-armer. After Starc’s short stint for Yorkshire, he was at his best against Pakistan in the UAE. Having made the most of the opportunity, he delivered when it was required; he bagged 9 wickets at an average of 15.11 with an economy rate of 4.88 in 3 games. Following that was the World T20 and he played a vital role in Australia’s campaign at the in Sri Lanka; he finished in third place in the list of highest wicket-takers behind Ajantha Mendis and Shane Watson with 10 wickets at an average of 16.40 with an economy rate of 6.83.
Despite the above efforts, he could not find a place in the playing XI in the opening Test against the Proteas at Brisbane. After the mediocre performance by the Australian bowlers at the Gabba against the South Africans, Starc was expected to feature in the starting line-up for Adelaide. But it has not worked out that way either – Australia have gone in with an unchanged team – which means, Starc misses out again.Starc ameliorated that performance in the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa when he played for the Sydney Sixers – who went onto win the title. His role in the Sixers winning the CLT20 was of paramount importance. Starc finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets – 4 wickets more than the second-best Azhar Mahmood – at an impressive average of 12.35 in 6 games. Starc’s average of 18.42 across all formats in 2012 is better than any other bowler, followed by Saeed Ajmal (18.69) and Vernon Phialnder (18.70).

With Starc’s game under constant amendment, and given that he is in good hands, he is sure to register his name amongst the greats in the near future. He is a hard-working lad who is anticipated to share Australia’s future bowling attack with Cummins and Hazlewood, like we saw in the Champions League for the Sixers. Given his talent and his tacit intellect for the game, we can expect great things from him – if only he is given the opportunity.