With fitness a concern for a number of Australia’s fast bowlers, left-armer Mitchell Starc says he’s physically prepared to power through the next two years of cricket.
Starc looks set to end a 14-month drought and return to the Test attack for the upcoming tour against Pakistan in the UAE, as front-line quicks Ryan Harris and James Pattinson nurse their way back to full fitness.
However, Starc, currently with the ODI side in Zimbabwe, says he’s already thinking a long way past October.
Australia’s playing schedule is so intense over the coming year that some injury-prone stars of the attack – like Harris and Pattinson are going to need to be managed well.
Starc has suffered some minor injuries, but nothing compared to the heartache experienced by the majority of Australia’s young crop of pace bandits coming through.
Things went badly for him on last year’s Ashes tour of the UK, but his ability to stay on the park has allowed him to just keep bowling and keep improving.
“Long breaks don’t seem to do me any good,” he said.
Starc’s pace, bounce and ability to swing the ball makes him hard work for batsmen when he gets it right – and teammates are convinced he’s only getting better.
The 24-year-old’s resilient body gives him a great advantage, and he’s put in the hard yards over the past three months to ensure his battery is sufficiently charged.
“I’m feeling as fit as I’ve ever been,” Starc said.
“For me it was making sure the last few months I’ve been doing strength work four or five times a week to get my body through the next two years.
“You don’t have all that much chance to do that on tour.”
Mitchell Johnson’s summer of dominance as the left-arm thunderbolt cast Starc to the outer after he had missed a chance to assert himself in English conditions.
But in the UAE the pair will bowl as a combination and Starc’s continued work with Johnson – a man who has been through the ups and downs – can only help the New South Welshman find his range at the top level.
Things are sure to be challenging in the UAE, where the slow decks will require the quicks to be on the money.
But as the road to yet another Ashes battle next winter gets underway, Starc says he’s moved on from his UK disappointment.