Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc says to fight his way back into the Test team, he must learn from the man who has replaced him.
Starc made an impressive international return for Australia’s T20 side on Friday night and is hoping to get another run under his belt in the final match on Sunday in Sydney to further his case for inclusion in the World Twenty20 squad for March.
After suffering a back injury on last year’s Ashes tour of the UK, Starc was forced to watch from the sidelines as another left-arm paceman named Mitch produced the summer of a lifetime to crush England.
However, Starc sees Mitchell Johnson not as an obstacle to his chances of returning to five-day cricket, but the inspiration.
Starc has played 12 Tests and shown promise, but has so far failed to cement himself at the highest level.
The 24-year-old said he’s eager to replicate Johnson’s aggression and mental strength in 2014.
Starc intends to finish the work Johnson started back in November, by whitewashing England in the three-match Twenty20 series at ANZ Stadium.
“We’re going to make sure we’re going to send them home with their tails between their legs,” taunted Starc on Saturday.
“I’ve learnt a lot from Mitch over the years. Bowling with a very high amount of aggression towards batsman – it was great to watch him go and there’s a lot to learn from his temperament and how he’s come back from tough times.
“(Test selection) hasn’t come into my mind. There’s no Tests after South Africa (until October) so, for me, it’s focusing on that white ball and white-ball skills.
“I’ve still got a chance to go over with the T20 (for the World T20 in Bangladesh). If I get a run tomorrow night, it’s a chance to push for Twenty20s over there.”
After getting through his overs nicely in Australia’s crushing win on Friday, on the immediate horizon for Starc is a chance to spearhead the Sydney Sixers to a second Big Bash League crown.
But first of all, the NSW seamer is desperate to ensure England go home with only one win from five Tests, five ODIs and three Twenty20s this summer.
Australia are ranked sixth in the world in T20 cricket and are desperate to take momentum into Bangladesh so they can turn the tables.
“It’s another chance to clean sweep England in another series,” he said.
“We won’t be letting up. One more game until they get on that plane and I’m sure they’re looking forward to getting on that plane … Hopefully, we can rub it in.”