January 4, 2019 4:58:57 pm
Australia skipper Tim Paine defended Mitchell Starc after the hosts delivered a poor show to bowl India out in the fourth and final Test in Sydney. Australia reached 24 for no loss in reply to India’s first innings score of 622-7 declared.
Leading the series 2-1 and only needing to avoid defeat at the Sydney Cricket Ground for a breakthrough tour win in Australia, Pujara scored 193 before Pant became the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a hundred against Australia as India batted the hosts out of the contest at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Starc finished India’s first innings with figures of 1/123 from 26 overs. Defending Starc, Paine said, “I don’t know what people expect from him. His stats for his whole career have been outstanding. When he’s at his best, he’s brilliant. When he’s not, not so much, but he’s not running out trying to spray the ball everywhere.”
“That’s what I don’t get with the criticism he’s getting; Mitchell Starc is trying his absolute best to do the same thing he did a year ago when he was swinging the ball around corners. He’s down on confidence a little bit and I sometimes think people forget that he’s just a bloke who’s trying his best.”
Paine further said, “I know he’s playing at the highest level and they expect a lot from him but it doesn’t always work; it’s Test cricket, he’s coming up against some very, very good batters and he’s not quite at his best. But we’ve got full confidence with a little bit of hard work, and he’s going to have a little bit of time off during the one-dayers, so there’s some time for him to go back and look at what’s going wrong with him at the moment. And then he addresses that and we know when he’s at his best he’s as good as anyone in the world.”
Accepting that Starc has not been at his best this series, Paine added, “Has he been at his best this series? No, he hasn’t. Has he been for a little while? Probably not. Starcy knows that, he’s working on it, he’s being really honest about it and he’s trying to figure out exactly what it is that’s missing at the moment.”
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