Weary Mitchell Starc is playing like a man in need of a break, as the world’s No.
1 one-day bowler delivered career-worst figures in Australia’s heavy defeat to England.
The fast-bowling spearhead has played in all 26 international matches Australia has played this calendar year – that’s eight Tests, 17 ODIs and one Twenty20 clash.
The 25-year-old laboured towards figures of 1-79 in Australia’s 93-run loss to England on Tuesday.
It trumped his 1-75 against England in Birmingham two years ago as his worst-ever ODI return, and it is evident some of the spark which lit up the World Cup earlier this year is missing.
The fourth over of his first spell went for 17 runs and England’s batsmen didn’t seem to fear him as much as they have in the past – or as much as they currently fear fellow young quick Pat Cummins.
“He would be tired, no doubt … He’s played a lot of cricket,” teammate Aaron Finch said of Starc.
However, Finch defended Starc’s showing as a one-off and said bowlers at the top of the order can tend to go for more runs as they bowl during the opening 10 overs, when there are fielding restrictions – while Starc rejoins the attack late when teams are trying to push the tempo.
“It’s just one of those days for Mitch,” Finch added.
“He’s performed so well for two years in this format for Australia you can forgive one game.
“He was player of the World Cup, he was winning games single-handedly, and I think he had an off day.”
Cummins, on the other hands, has never looked more comfortable in the Australian team and is regularly hitting speeds near or above 150km/h.
He has consistently been Australia’s biggest threat during the limited-overs component of the Ashes tour and is firming for a Test recall during October’s two-Test tour of Bangladesh, where he will form a strike force with Starc.
The 22-year-old took two more wickets on Tuesday, knocking over Alex Hales and Moeen Ali.
“He’s a bowler who, when he gets it right, is as good as anyone,” Finch enthused.
“He’s just running in and trying to bowl quick at the moment, and not so worried about where they’re going – that’s the ignorance of youth.
“He’s just running in and trying to bowl quick – and he’s bowling beautifully at the moment.”