Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Mitchell Starc hints at quitting one format to open doors for more franchise cricket

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After resisting the lure of lucrative private leagues for almost a decade because of his commitment towards the ‘Baggy Green’, Australian pacer Mitchell Starc has hinted that he might quit one format to make room for more franchise cricket in his schedule.

While the 34-year-old didn’t specify the format he intends to give up, it is likely to be ODIs considering that the next 50-over World Cup is in 2027.

Starc, who was bought for a record ₹24.75 crore by Kolkata Knight Riders, was magnificent in the business end of the tournament. He ended up with 17 wickets, including five in the two knock-out games, to engineer a dominant title triumph for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned team.

To a query from PTI as to how he would take it up from here after his best year in franchise cricket, Starc hinted that T20s could gain prominence in his roster.

“For the last nine years, I certainly prioritised Australian cricket. I have pulled out often to have a chance to give my body a break and spend some time away from cricket with my wife as well, so that’s certainly been where my head has been for last nine years,” Starc said after his match-winning 2/14 in the IPL final against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“Moving forward, I am certainly close to the end of my career than the start. One format may be dropped off as there is long time till next World Cup and whether that format drops off or not, that will open doors for a lot of franchise cricket,” the ‘King of Swing’ said.

He mentioned that this year’s IPL will help him in preparing for the T20 World Cup in West Indies starting June 1.

“…that’s the other side of benefit of being here, some amazing players in an amazing tournament and great lead up to WT20 and success has been fantastic. It is great that a lot of players are in good position heading into the World Cup,” he said.

He is hopeful of turning up for KKR even next year.

“I don’t know the schedule exactly but I have thoroughly enjoyed and hope to be back next year and hopefully, seen in purple and gold again.”

Pitches in Windies won’t resemble IPL tracks

Starc, like many others, agreed that the Impact Player rule led to tall scores in the IPL and the World T20 won’t witness insane totals like 270. He said he foresees more help for spinners from worn-out tracks.

“T20 is not as physically demanding as Test cricket and it’s been warm, humid, so that plays a part but that’s fine. It would be cooler there in the West Indies than here,” he said when asked how his body is holding up after two months of IPL.

“There’s the Impact Player Rule here and that’s not the case in the World Cup and after that you have to put a team that’s more balanced and you rely more on all-rounders. You can’t have your batting all-rounder coming in at No. 9, like they do in IPL.

“I don’t think the runs would be that much, I don’t think 270 can be scored… Wickets may play a part as we have seen high-scoring matches here and wickets won’t be same in West Indies.

“They might turn and will be a bit more tired, and towards end of tournament, they might pose more of a threat staying low and hope bowlers come into play more than they have come through in IPL,” he said.

Don’t need extra motivation for price tags

During the first phase where he was trying to find rhythm, Starc copped a lot of criticism and it wasn’t surprising that his multi-crore price tag was an issue. He doesn’t think much of that.

“You don’t need extra motivation. I am here as an overseas international. It’s not like for that last night (Qualifier 1) or this final that I have been brought over here.

“I am glad to contribute. There are jokes throughout and there is only friendly banter and price tags don’t bother me now as I have had plenty of critics throughout my career.

In the end, his one statement summed it up all.

“Tonight was a perfect night.”

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