Teammates bear brunt of Starc’s frustration
JOE Burn used the bat handle to fend one that was about to smash his face and Nathan Lyon launched into a fierce defence of the one who sent that delivery down during what was a competitive net session ahead of Friday's first Test in Canberra.
Mitchell Starc was generating real heat and Burns, like a few others on the receiving end, was lucky to survive unscathed.
Starc has, however, been struggling to make an impact this summer. There was some hint he would have been dropped at the Gabba and replace by Peter Siddle if Josh Hazlewood was fit and while his two wickets in the first innings were his only scalps for the match, coach Justin Langer defended his performance.
On Wednesday it was Lyon's turn to stand by the left-arm quick.
"I don't understand all the criticism, to be honest," Lyon said.
"Mitch is one of my best mates and I back to the hilt and back and as I have said in press conferences before, if you want to take my gear and go face him in the nets, go for it.
"He is bowling fast, he is moving it, he had the ball reversing in the nets. Mitch is a good fella and an X-factor.
"He has 200 Test wickets so if anyone can get 200 Test wickets you must know what you are doing and you must be confident.
"So, I back Mitchell to come out and have a massive role for us in every game he comes out to play for Australia so I am looking forward to watching him this week and hopefully bowling really well with him in partnerships because that's the biggest key, if we can bowl well in partnerships it doesn't matter who it is, hopefully we will take 20 wickets and each and every player will enjoy each and everyone's success as well.
"Mitch has got all of my support and everyone's support in that change room so it is pretty unfair criticism in my eyes."
With only all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and Peter Siddle available to come into the side it is unlikely Starc will be replaced.
Siddle arrived with his travel bags at the nets on wednesday after dashing off for a BBL match for the Strikers the previous evening where he admitted some frustrations at being the supernumerary bowler for the last five Tests.
"It has been good to be around the Australian set-up but I think I played my seventh game in white ball in two months so there is not a lot of cricket being played," Siddle said.
"It is hard to fly in and play games. It is not the greatest preparation over the last few weeks.
"There are three games to go and a lot of pressure on us to get some good results, see where we can end up."
Siddle was told on the eve of the Brisbane Test he would not play and was seen having coffee with selector Trevor Hohns the next morning.
There is, however, a good chance he will be part of the Ashes squad.
"It was disappointing to miss out last week, but I'm doing all I can," he said.
"It's not too bad, there's still four Shield games to go then I go over and play county cricket for two or three months before the Ashes anyway. Think my record over there speaks for itself, I'm not too worried about preparation for that.
"It's just tough at the moment trying to get some game time, flying in and out, specifically for the Strikers the games haven't lined up well with the Tests so that's been the hardest part so it has been tough.
"It is always nice to come back and play these games, get a little bit of cricket under my belt."
Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes Starc should not be an automatic selection during the Ashes and should not play the first Test of that series.
"I'll say this now, I don't see Starc's style of bowling suiting Edgbaston," Vaughan, who is in Australia as a commentator for Fox Cricket, said yesterday.
"Hit the pitch, pace bowling at Edgbaston, it's a pudding. It just sinks in (to the pitch).
"You want pitch-it-up, skilful, consistent bowling at Edgbaston. You go back all the years they're the kind of bowlers that have had success.
"I might be proven wrong in a few months' time but I'd be pencilling in Mitchell Starc for Lord's, Old Trafford, The Oval … but potentially at Edgbaston and Headingly which are more traditional seam bowlers pitches, you go for the likes of Richardson, Siddle, maybe Worrall or Pattinson.
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