Former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody has described Mitchell Starc’s omission from Australia’s must-win game against Afghanistan as “alarming”.
Starc was left out of Australia’s must-win Super 12s game against Afghanistan as one of three changes for the host side with captain Aaron Finch and Tim David also missing out through injury.
Starc’s exclusion, however, caught the headlines as there was no suggestion of injury, with the left-armer, who has long been the spearhead of Australia’s attack, left out for tactical reasons and Kane Richardson taking his place in the side.
“That really surprises me,” said Tom Moody on ESPNcricinfo‘s T20 Timeout, “because he is one bowler, who against Afghanistan could pick up three wickets this his ball speed and swing.
“There must be more to it than a tactical selection. I’ve been calling for Richardson as a potential member of the playing XI, but that’s for Pat Cummins and not for Mitchell Starc. That is alarming and it’s going to be very interesting to find out if he’s dropped.”
There has been no suggestion from the Australia that Starc has been left out for anything other than tactical reasons. And Starc was seen at the ground assisting with the warm-ups.
Starc has had a modest tournament so far, averaging 34.00 with the ball with an economy of 8.50. In his last match against Ireland, Starc took two wickets with excellent in-swinging deliveries, but went at above ten runs an over.
“I just would be alarmed if that would be the tactical way to go about trying to bowl Afghanistan out for under a 100,” said Moody.
“To me there isn’t any logic to it. You’re talking about a left-arm bowler who has as good a strike-rate any bowler in history in white-ball cricket. Both fifty and twenty over cricket.”
Starc’s overall record and strike-rate is excellent although it has suffered in recent years. In the first half of his T20I career he averaged 18.52 with a strike-rate and economy of 16.6 and 6.76. However, in the second half of his career and since the start of 2020, he has averaged 28.24 with a strike-rate and economy of 19.9 and 8.51. According to CricViz, since the start of 2021, Starc has taken just four powerplay wickets and has bowled just 35% of his overs in the Powerplay this year.
“What you need to do,” continued Moody, “is take early wickets against your opponents so you give the ball to the left-armer who can bowl up to 150kph and can swing it. He’s done it recently against Ireland where he had them right on the backfoot.”
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