Great Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist wondered if there were “trust issues” between test captain Tim Paine and paceman Mitchell Starc.
With the left arm spearhead being mainly used for short periods during the current series against India, Gilchrist wondered if Paine had lost some faith in Starc.
“There’s just something about Mitch – and again, we’re speculating – something doesn’t quite look right,” Gilchrist told Fox Cricket on day four of the final test in Brisbane.
“It was confirmed for me by the fact that Tim Paine gave him the new ball, but so many spells were only very short periods, like three overs.
“I know your impact bowlers are supposed to come in and have a little flurry, but there just doesn’t seem to be the confidence that Mitchell Starc is going to do the job that Tim Paine wanted.
“Whether it’s a problem with Mitchell Starc or whether it’s just captain’s uncertainty but even this test match, even [Monday evening] in one he had on, he scratched at the mark of the foot, he changed his boots.
“He couldn’t really get into that full pace and be so damaging that it gave him his reputation as a leader in this series.”
Although deadly at his best, Starc has not been an untouchable figure under Captain Paine. He only played one test in the 2019 Ashes series, following a World Cup campaign in which he was the tournament’s top bowler.
Starc has 11 wickets at 34.27 in the current series against India, against a career 255 wickets at 27.29. Former Australian captain Mark Taylor noted that it didn’t do its job – breaking through vital windows – on the last day as India somehow managed to draw the third test in Sydney.
Starc will have another chance on the last day of Test 4, with Australia set to bowling India to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy; but how much Paine will use it remains to be seen. He took 2-88 in the opening innings at the Gabba, including Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane’s wicket, and played just fewer overs overall than fellow pacemen Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
Longtime critic Shane Warne said Starc hasn’t improved his reputation in the Indian series.
“No to me. It looks like something was wrong,” Warne said on Fox Cricket.
“I don’t know what it is, if it’s his pace or if he has a little problem, but it seems like there is always something wrong. It takes its wickets at a high average.
“Tim Paine hasn’t really gone to him when they need (a wicket). It’s been Cummins, Hazelwood or Lyon and if neither of them got it, it seems like Starc – and normally he’s pretty good at it, Starc.
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