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‘He’s not trying to spray the ball everywhere’ – Tim Paine on Mitchell Starc

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

After a tough day for Mitchell Starc, who recorded figures of 1-123 at an economy rate of 4.73 runs an over, Australia’s captain Tim Paine was honest about the problems facing his strike bowler.

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“When he’s at his best, he’s brilliant. When he’s not, not so much, but he’s not running out trying to spray the ball everywhere,” Paine said.

Since spearheading the Australian attack to Ashes victory last year with 22 wickets at an average of 23.54, Starc has taken 29 wickets at an average of 35.83 in his past three series. Paine admits that this is a problem Starc is aware of. “Has he been at his best this series? No, he hasn’t. Has he been for a little while? Probably not.

“Starcy knows that, he’s working on it, he’s being really honest about it and he’s trying to figure out exactly what it is that’s missing at the moment.”

Starc’s form has deteriorated somewhat since last year’s Ashes series

Paine added that the criticism was becoming frustrating, “I don’t know what people expect from him. His stats his whole career have been outstanding,” he said.

Indeed, peaks and troughs at Test level are simply part of the game, particularly for a bowler in the mould of Mitchell Starc. Paine added: “I know he’s playing at the highest level and they expect a lot from him but it doesn’t always work; it’s Test cricket, he’s coming up against some very, very good batters and he’s not quite at his best.”

That’s what I don’t get with the criticism he’s getting; Mitchell Starc is trying his absolute best to do the same thing he did a year ago when he was swinging the ball around corners. He’s down on confidence a little bit and I sometimes think people forget that he’s just a bloke who’s trying his best.

Australia will start day three on 24-0, trailing India by 598 runs, needing a win to level the series.

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