Australian pacer Starc sees two upcoming series as springboard for T20 World Cup in UAE - GulfToday

Australian pacer Starc sees two upcoming series as springboard for T20 World Cup in UAE


Mitchell Starc

Australian pace bowler Mitchell Starc is completely focused on the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE in October-November this year and sees the 10 T20Is lined up over the next month as a great ‘opportunity’ to play the role of the central figure for his team.

The series, starting from July 9, is a part of the build-up to the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman.

“It’s a great opportunity for the group to start preparing with a bit more focus on that World Cup,” said Starc who also wants to give himself the ‘best chance’ to play Test cricket for his country when Australia take on Afghanistan and then play the Ashes.

“Don’t think I’ve played 10 T20s in the last four years let alone in the space of a few weeks so personally it would be nice to get a bit of a rhythm of T20 cricket,” Starc said.

Starc could make his maiden appearance at a T20 World Cup since 2012, after having missed the 2016 edition in India due to injury.

Starc will begin his quest to be in peak form for the T20 World Cup in UAE with a five-match T20I series against the West Indies, beginning July 9. And, if the Bangladesh tour gets the final approval, five more T20Is are lined up in Dhaka.

“The back end of the summer I was heavily focused on the red-ball so put the white-ball to the side. To prepare for this tour (West Indies) it’s all been white-ball focused with what’s coming up in the next few months. Preparing for shorter spells, more of a focus on staying unpredictable or (using) variations. I don’t change a whole lot in my preparation across the formats but certainly they’ll be a lot more planning and focus on tactically what we’ll take on this series.”

Being Australia’s top multi-format player, Starc said moving from one format to another is ‘interesting’.

“It’s a very interesting one,” Starc said from St Lucia in West Indies. “For the few multi-format players we all want to play as much cricket as we can, Test cricket is certainly the pinnacle for a lot of us, certainly it is for me, as is a World Cup so it will be hard to pick and choose.”

‘expects new faces to do well’: Starc says that the newcomers in the squad have the opportunity to impress the selectors in the five-match T20I series against the West Indies.

He feels that the fresh faces like leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha and right-arm pacers Nathan Ellis and Wes Agar have a chance to make a case for themselves ahead of the mega event.

“It’s been quite a really closed, relaxed group the last week. Obviously, when we got to the West Indies. It wasn’t the first time that people have met each other.

“We all sort of played against each other or being around the group before. For the guys that might be in this group for the first time, it’s a fantastic opportunity to put their foot forward and take a World Cup spot,” Starc said.

Starc was of the opinion that the upcoming matches will be a great chance for the team to try out things before the World Cup. Australia is yet to win a T20 World Cup, having been runners-up to England in 2010 and West Indies in 2012.

“It’s a great preparation for a World Cup. It’s a good chance to try a few things. We obviously want to try and win this series. But it’s also a chance to put a few things in place that we maybe might want to like some combinations or what not for the World Cup. So, it’s going to be a really exciting series.”

Meanwhile, South African coach Mark Boucher feels the ICC T20 World Cup this year in the UAE will be a low-scoring tournament, given that the pitches would be worn out by the time the IPL  ends and the mega event commences.

The suspended edition of the IPL will resume in the UAE on Sept.19 with the final scheduled on Oct.15, while the ICC T20 World Cup begins two days later, on Oct.17, and concludes on Nov.14.

“They are playing the IPL there (UAE and Oman); there’s not a lot of grounds and those wickets are going to be worn so scores will probably go even further down,” Boucher said.

South Africa clinched the five-match T20I series against the West Indies 3-2 after winning the decider on July 3.

“It’s going to be tough to bat on especially at the back end, like we saw here (in West Indies). We will have an idea of what scores are going to be by watching the IPL and then taking a look and assess how the wickets are playing during the beginning part of the World Cup. I suspect spinners will play a massive role.”


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