No rest, Starc wants to play all five Ashes Tests

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc
Image: REUTERS/Patrick Hamilton

Mitchell Starc wants to be the only Australian fast bowler to play all five Ashes Tests after declaring himself fit and raring to go for this week's day-night fifth match in Hobart.

Concerns were raised about Starc's workload after he took only one wicket in the fourth Test in Sydney, but the left-armer quickly laughed off the idea that it was his turn for a rest.

“I hope not, it's a pink ball game,” Starc, who has taken 52 in nine day-night tests, told reporters from Hobart on Wednesday.

“I'm feeling good. We've had a couple of days to get ready for the fifth Test.

“I'm not looking for a break,” he added. “It's the last Test match of the Ashes series and it's the pink ball too. I'd very much like to play. I guess it's in the hands of the selectors but I won't be asking for a rest.”

Despite a dramatic draw in Sydney, Australia will take a 3-0 lead into the final Test of the series after big wins in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Captain Pat Cummins missed the second Test because of Covid-19 protocols, while the third member of Australia's regular pace attack, Josh Hazlewood, has been sidelined since the opener with a side strain.

Paceman Scott Boland, who made a remarkable debut as a replacement for Cummins in Melbourne and backed up in similar style in Sydney, has a rib problem which could rule him out of the Hobart match.

Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson, who bowled with Starc in the first day-night match of the series in Adelaide, are available to replace Boland if he is ruled out.

“The bowlers that have come into the group have performed from the get-go, they've played their role fantastically,” said Starc.

“Scotty has been sensational.”

Of Starc's 15 wickets over the series, including the spectacular dismissal of Rory Burns with the first ball of the first Test, six came in the day-night Adelaide Test.

“I've always maintained that I've found the pink ball to be more like a white ball than a red ball,” Starc said when asked to explain the secret of his success.

“Whether that comes into play with the way I approach my white ball cricket, I'm not sure.”

• England have added batter Harry Brook to their Twenty20 squad for this month's five-match series against West Indies as cover for Sam Billings, who was called up to the Ashes squad last week, the country's cricket board (ECB) said.

Brook, who plays for Yorkshire, has spent the winter with the England Lions squad in Australia before joining up with the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League. The 22-year-old is set to return to the UK before flying to Barbados, the ECB added.

Billings, who joined the Ashes squad for the final Test in Hobart after injuries to Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, will remain a part of the 17-man squad for the West Indies tour.

Stand-in coach Paul Collingwood and assistant coach Marcus Trescothick will be joined by Anthony McGrath as batting coach, Alan Richardson as pace bowling coach and Paul Tweddle as fielding and wicketkeeper coach for the tour, the ECB said.

The T20 series begins on January 22 and will conclude on January 30. — Reuters



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