Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc was ruled out from the squad for the fourth Ashes Test against England on Sunday. The left-armer, who is currently the leading wicket-taker in the series with 19 scalps under his name suffered an injury in his heel during the third Test in Perth. The 27-year old will be replaced by right-arm fast bowler Jackson Bird at MCG.
Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, fellow teammate Josh Hazlewood that Starc is disappointed to be left out of the Test. “He’s (Starc) very disappointed. You do feel that extra responsibility I guess but I’ve played quite a few Tests without Mitch now. It feels a bit normal,” the right-arm fast bowler said.
The 26-year old also expressed faith in the ability of Bird, who has taken 34 wickets in 8 Test at an average of 27. “Birdy’s played a lot of cricket, Patty (Cummins) has played a fair bit now as well,” he said.
Speaking to reporters on his absence, Starc also expressed faith in the rest of Aussies bowling unit. “It’s Test match cricket isn’t it. Pretty sure that our guys have faced enough bouncers & haven’t whinged about it. As far as I know our bowlers will keep bouncing their batsman,” he said.
Starc, who has played just a single Test at MCG, is being given rest to ensure that the injury does not aggravate further keeping the upcoming South African tour in mind. The bowler left the training session on Saturday after feeling discomfort and had a discussion with the coach and the medical staff about his options.
Australia have already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series and the upcoming two Tests are dead rubbers. But for England, who will be looking to salvage pride by winning the two remaining matches, Starc’s absence could prove to be just the opportunity they needed to get back to the winning side of things.