Four years ago, Mitchell Starc was called to an Australian team that had been hit by Pakistan in its first test in Dubai, in the middle of an apparent attempt to correct the error of that result by being even more aggressive than the team from Michael Clarke. Tried in the first game, Glenn Maxwell was the other inclusion.
Taking the new ball with Mitchell Johnson, Starc found his speed and rebound blunted by the combination of a docile surface of Abu Dhabi and the concentration of Pakistan's higher order, as hosts. He rolled another gigantic first innings. In the second, he was one of the many Australian bowlers who got carried away by Misbah-ul-Haq, as both he and Azhar Ali marched for centuries at each entrance. The figures of the Starc matches were a pitiful 38.4-5-142-2.
In 2018, Starc is no longer a youth reinforcement, but the undisputed spearhead of an Australian team that brings together a large number of young people with senior bosses who, in easier times, might not have found their way back to the team, including captain Tim Paine and paceman Peter Siddle. This weakened team must, as a result of the Newlands scandal, be more humble in outlook and position. But his apprenticeships in Asian climates since 2014 have also forced a more gradual tactical rethinking, something Starc said would be critical to his chances of success in the next two weeks.
"I can not remember too much about that tour, I was much younger, less experienced and played that test match in Abu Dhabi, but it's a different feeling with some new faces, new coach," Starc said in Dubai. "We've had some really, really constructive conversations, I think I learned about the game and how to play in these conditions, taking a little bit of what we did in India when I felt we were in positions to win all those tests." It coincides with the last tour there.
"I think the preparation was first class, but it's not how you prepare, it's how you play, we're looking forward to the challenge, there's been a small event in recent months and it's an opportunity for us to go out and play good cricket and we hope that some young people will also play their first test for Australia. "
The" constructive talks "that Starc talked about were on a more detailed level than they often did in the years when Darren Lehmann was coach, as befits the extensive information that his successor Justin Langer conveyed. how Starc could better complement the rest of the attack, which is expected to rely heavily on Nathan Lyon and Jon Holland bowling on a Dubai court and square for the recent Asian Cup. It has already evolved considerably, considering an excellent tour of Sri Lanka in 2016, and key contributions in India last year before I limped home with a broken foot.
"It's interesting, I've had conversations with JL and some other g I'm checking on the possibility of changing my role slightly in these parts of the world," said Starc. "It's not in a place like Australia where you can shoot the guys in fast, bouncing windows, it's almost a secondary role for the spinners who play, I think in the past, maybe in the test match that I played here the last time , He was trapped". that Australian mentality of attack, attack, attack, went running and did not take windows.
"It's not in a place like Australia where you can shoot the guys with fast, bouncing windows, it's almost a supporting role for the spinners who play, I think in the past, I was stuck in that Australian attack mentality. , attack, attack, I went to run and did not take windows. "
"So I have progressed in my game to play many different roles and I have to configure that role slightly in this part of the world and I think that seeing the best in the world do their job from the other end in Nathan On that tour [Sri Lanka] I realized when to attack and when to sit down and still not run many races.
"When the ball was reversing, it was when it could attack, but at the same time it made sure that & # 39; Rebuilding that pressure by not going out to run and win the right to take those windows and attack the bowling pins. I suppose here where the windows are even flatter and it's also a bit warmer, you have to change that role again, but I'm definitely going to have a bit of that plan on this tour too. "
Whatever the role is designed for Starc, Siddle or Michael Neser and Brendan Doggett, the left arm will be in his best position to accomplish it for a long time, a pattern of injury, hasty rehabilitation and a return to the field as soon as humanly possible. of the past three years, in stark contrast to the longest recess he enjoyed in 2018, having not thrown a ball into Australia since the aforementioned fateful tour of South Africa.Now in full form, Starc was also included in the Twenty20 side who plays after these two tests.
"I've done a great job in the last few months to get strong and fit, and if they have to be long spells, I'm ready for it. At the same time, it will depend on Tim how we use fast players on roulettes. We have also had some long periods of training, and also some shorter days. So, for everything, I'm looking forward to going out again with the loose green again.
"I'm looking forward to these two Test matches in the first place, and I do not think I've played a T20 in about two years, so that's exciting, I've had a lot of time in the past few months to let my body heal by himself instead of having to run back for any cricket, so that's something that I've really enjoyed, having the time to let everything heal and I feel really good with my body and my cricket. and ready to start, so a couple of Tests, some T20 and a long summer.
"[Injury] was a mix of things, between Uneven folds in South Africa, many skittles during the summer, you could put some things on the list. But then I had the opportunity to let it all get better without going to the IPL and a couple of winter tours, it was a good opportunity to let everything be cured by itself. I've done it, so I'm anxious to feel as fit as I've been for a while. "
As for the laconic line" there's been a small event in recent months, "Starc will receive a reminder of this when takes the new ball and does not see Steven Smith on the slide, David Warner in the ravine or Cameron Bancroft in the short leg With Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins also absent at this point of the season, Starc acknowledged that the evolution of his role is far to limit itself to the bowling tactics under the relentless sun of the UAE.
"We have a good group of experienced players in this team, we have some young people, but we have some state captains, our newly appointed vice-captain also and Tim doing a fantastic job as a captain, "he said. You have Nathan Lyon, who has played 73 tests and for me it's a little time, it's just being in a leadership role for fast bowlers or some of the youngsters. I think all the guys lead in different ways in different stages. Ultimately, we are there to support Tim and, in the end, we are trying to win a series of Tests for Australia away from home.
"The preparation has been a first class for everyone, whether they have not played Test or many, I think that as a group, we are learning very well in these parts of the world, in these last tours and even in our preparation for this has been a very good preparation, some young people who are excited "Try to push to select and contribute much of that new energy. So it's exciting for us, those of us who have been here a bit, to see them come in and really push to select and want to impress from the first day. "