Australia seam bowling legend Glenn McGrath believes the Australian selectors and team officials should only bring Mitchell Starc into the fifth Ashes Test if he has fully recovered from the bruised heel. McGrath has emphasised that the team should keep a forward looking approach with South Africa tour later in the year. Starc sat out the fourth Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the fifth Test, at SCG, begins on Thursday with Australia having already taken an unassailable 3-0 series win.
It is the sixth time in seven seasons that Starc has missed an iconic Boxing Day fixture after injuring his heel in Perth where Australia clinched the Ashes series. However, he did bowl his full run at training at SCG on Tuesday and showed no signs of pain.
“You’d love Mitchell Starc to be playing, there’s no doubt about it,” McGrath was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Tuesday. “Someone who bowls at that pace, attacking lengths that he bowls and swings the ball. You want him playing every game possible, especially at his home ground here. But with a big tour of South Africa coming up … if he’s 100 per cent fit I’d play him. If he’s not quite there, unfortunately (they) might have to let him have a rest and have him ready for South Africa,” said McGrath.
Fellow seamer Pat Cummins said Starc was firing on all cylinders and wasn’t limping during the nets session on Tuesday. “I haven’t spoken to him but it looked like he was bowling quick, running around and wasn’t limping,” Cummins said. “I know he’s really keen to play and he’s pretty confident he’s going to play. Now it’s seeing how it recovers. He said it’s got better the last week or two since Perth. So hopefully he gets through today and he’s alright,” he further added.
Australia travel to South Africa for a four Test series starting March 1 at Kingsmead, Durban. Prior to that, Austrlaia will play five ODIs against England followed by a triangular T20 series also involving New Zealand.