Starc pulls out of MCG Test with verbal bouncer for England


‘England have bigger things to worry about than our depth’ – StarcMitchell Starc responded to England bowler James Anderson’s criticism of Australia’s pace attack ahead of the fourth Ashes Test.
Mitchell Starc has withdrawn from the Boxing Day Test with a stinging message for England: why question our depth when you haven’t taken 20 Australian wickets all Ashes series?
Having confirmed that a bruised heel had not healed enough to be 100% in time for the MCG match, meaning he has played only one such fixture over the past seven summers, Starc rounded on the provocative comments of England’s James Anderson, who had claimed that beyond him, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins “there’s not much other than these three”.
Jackson Bird, the tall Tasmanian seamer who will come into the team for his first match in a year, will be eager to challenge that assumption, but it was Starc who offered a verbal riposte as hostile as any of the bouncers he has delivered over the first three Tests, all of which Australia won to secure the Ashes in the minimum number of matches required.
“It’s quite humorous actually, they haven’t taken 20 wickets in the series and we have, and they’re having a crack at our depth,” Starc said in Melbourne. “I don’t like facing Jacko in the nets so I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do to the English batters throughout this Test match. He’s been awesome through Shield cricket this year, been doing it for a number of years so he definitely deserves his chance this week and I’m looking forward to it.
“I think they’ve got bigger things to worry about than the depth of Australian fast bowlers. Hopefully Jacko takes five-for and really shows them the depth in Australian cricket, especially in bowlers, is pretty strong, even though there’s a few guys missing through injury. It’s never nice missing cricket but it’d be pretty selfish for me to go into a game not 100%, especially when Jacko’s waiting there and he’s bowling really well. So really happy for him to get a go and hopefully he takes five-for and sticks it up those depth comments from the Poms.
“At the moment we’re ahead in the series and playing some really good cricket, so if they want to keep changing their tactics whether verbally or trying to get in the media as well, for us we’ll keep playing good cricket on the field, hopefully it’ll be 4-0 by the end of the week and they won’t have too much else to say.”
There was also a further rejoinder from Starc about England’s suggestions, made first to the umpires in Brisbane and this week raised again in a column by the former captain Mike Atherton, that the umpires needed to consider the number of short-pitched deliveries they were allowing the Australian pacemen to bowl at the touring tail, relative to the game’s laws about dangerous bowling.
Would have been selfish to go in underdone – StarcAustralia bowler Mitchell Starc discusses his decision to withdraw from the Boxing Day Test due to a bruised heel
“It’s Test match cricket,” Starc said. “I’m pretty sure our guys have copped enough bouncers and we haven’t whinged about it yet, so as far as I know our bowlers will keep bouncing their batters. From the start of the series we set out with some really good plans and they’ve worked through the series so far.