Australia go into the Boxing Day Test hoping to claim the Test series against India, who have never won a Test series Down Under, with the help of their world-leading bowling attack. Mitchell Starc explains that the reason behind their formidable attack is their closeness to each other off the field.
Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Starc enter the third Test between the two sides with world rankings of sixth, seventh, eighth and 15th in Test bowlers respectively. Starc was quoted by cricket.com.au as saying, “All attacks are very different, but one thing unique about this group is we’ve all grown up together. We’ve played a lot of cricket together. We’ve grown up through the ranks together, spent so much time with each other off the field.”
“We’re best mates off the field as well and I think that comes to life in our cricket, how much we enjoy playing alongside each other. I think the whole group really complements each other really well. We do different things and when you’ve got Nathan Lyon doing the job he does, it makes the job of the quicks so much easier,” he said.
“We’ve got a left-armer, two right-armers who do completely different things and Nathan speaks for himself. It’s just a great group to be part of.”
Hazlewood agreed with Starc and added that it was the experience of playing together for so long that has helped them know each other both on and off the field. “We’ve played a lot of cricket together now and we all know each other very well off the field as well as on the field. It’s just about knowing how each other’s going about it and when we might need to have a word, or (not because) they know what they’re doing,” he said.
“It’s that experience of playing together, those sorts of relationships form, and you just become a lot closer. Bowling is very much a combined effort from everyone rather than just one good spell here and there. It’s about maintaining pressure for 90 overs a day and if the four of us are on, we know we can do that for days on end,” he added.
Lyon, however, plays a special role of holding the group together. Talking about Lyon’s role, Starc said, “He plays that role where he can hold up one end and not go for runs, or generally take a wicket, and sometimes do both,” Starc says. “In a group of four bowlers, when the spinner’s doing that, it just allows the quicks to come from the other end a bit fresher and bowl fast and aggressive and attack from both ends when Nathan’s on the way he is.”
“It just rounds out the group so well. He continues to shape his game and he’s been unbelievable over the past 12-18 months. He keeps adapting week by week, which is outstanding for someone who’s taken over 300 wickets like he has,” Starc added.