x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Starc gets in line with Australian policy to rotate

Paceman will now try to make the third Test special for his retiring teammate Hussey.

Australia fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle chat during training.
Australia fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle chat during training.

Mitchell Starc, the Australia paceman, says the decision to rest him for the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka was right for the team.

Starc was said to be "shattered" after being told he would not play in the Melbourne Test, which the hosts won by an innings and 201 runs to clinch the series.

He had taken five wickets in the second innings of the first Test in Hobart to help Australia to victory, but said yesterday that he now supported the decision .

"Any player who misses a Test is going to be disappointed, but like I said it was all about the team, and it was the right decision for my well-being and for the team as well," Starc said.

"We've known for a while that this rotation policy would come into effect at some stage and it was my turn during the Melbourne Test."

The 22 year old was replaced for that Test match by Jackson Bird, who impressed well on debut.

"It was no real surprise that he's [Bird] taken wickets at Test level. He's done it at domestic level for two years now," the left-arm fast bowler said.

Starc looks set to return for the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which gets under way on Thursday, after telling journalists that the Australia captain Michael Clarke has indicated he will play.

It will be an extra special occasion for Starc because, not only will he be playing at his home ground, but it will also be Michael Hussey's final Test match for Australia.

Starc was taken aback by Hussey's decision to make the Sydney Test his last.

"It was quite a shock when I got the phone call yesterday from Mike," Starc said.

"With Ricky [Ponting] retiring and now Mike, it makes the Sydney Test a lot more special."

Hussey called up each player personally to let them know of his decision to retire and Starc hopes Australia can give "Mr Cricket" the send-off he deserves.

"He's lived cricket for a long time and he's still in great form with the bat, as we've seen so far this summer," Starc said.

"He's going to leave a big hole. It's hard to replace Ricky Ponting - now we've got to replace him and Mike Hussey.

"I got to play in Ricky's Ponting's last Test and I've always grown up watching Ricky Ponting and also Mike Hussey.

"I was quite nervous bowling in Ricky's last Test so I'm sure it will be the same in this one for Mike."

Hussey, himself, is confident that Australia have the batting strength in depth to cope without him for the coming tours of India and England next year, and backed his younger sibling David, 35, who has yet to play Test cricket, but has appeared in one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches for Australia, to come through.

"I'm not worried about the team whatsoever," the 37 year old said. "We've got some fantastic candidates to come in - probably too many to name.

"Maybe [brother] David Hussey could get a run - one Hussey out, one Hussey in.

"History has shown players have come and gone.

"But the game continues to move forward, and it'll be no different with me."

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