Saturday, June 15, 2024

Starc hints at leaving ODIs to ‘open doors for more franchise cricket’

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“I don’t know the schedule exactly – but I’ve enjoyed it, I look forward to being back next year,” he says of the IPL

Will Starc quit ODIs to play more franchise cricket?

The KKR fast bowler shares his thoughts

Mitchell Starc stayed away from the IPL for the best part of his peak years, but after winning the title with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), will consider dropping one format from his life, and that might be ODI cricket.

“The last nine years, I’ve prioritised Australian cricket. I have given myself 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’s been for the last nine years,” Starc said at a press conference after the IPL 2024 final in Chennai, where KKR steamrolled Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to win their third title, with Starc playing a starring role.

“Moving forward… look, I am certainly closer to the end of my career than the start. One format may drop off. There is long time before the next one-day World Cup and whether that format continues for me or not… it may open doors for more franchise cricket.”

And franchise cricket could mean two months of the IPL, a tournament he had played just twice in the past, for Royal Challengers Bengaluru in 2014 and 2015, but usually skipped to be fit and fresh for international cricket.

In fact, in all these years of playing top-level cricket – he made his international debut in 2009 – Starc has only played 137 T20s.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season,” he said. “It’s been great, it leads into the World Cup, that’s the other side of the benefit of being here against some amazing players in an amazing tournament. It’s a great lead-up to a World Cup.

“Next year – I don’t know the schedule exactly – but I’ve enjoyed it, I look forward to being back next year and hopefully be seen in purple and gold [KKR’s colours] again.”

Starc, the most expensive IPL auction buy ever when KKR splurged INR 24.75 crore (US$2,982,000 approx.) had a terrible time of it to start with, going wicketless in his eight overs in the first two games while conceding 100 runs. He took time to get it right, picking up a three-for against Lucknow Super Giants and a four-for against Mumbai Indians, but really came into his own in the playoffs, with 3 for 34 and 2 for 14 against SRH in Qualifier 1 and the final.

“I’ve played a lot of cricket, so I know how to manage myself,” Starc said. “I haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket in the last few years, so for me, it was trying to find that rhythm of [the] T20 format, and trying to stay ahead of batters.”

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