Mitchell Starc, who pulled out from the IPL auction for the third year running, revealed that he snubbed the T20 extravaganza in order to both play an abundance of red-ball cricket and take care of his body. Starc added that playing in the Shield has helped him express himself more with the ball.
Widely regarded as one of the best white-ball bowlers of all time, Mitchell Starc, surprisingly in a WT20 year, pulled out from the IPL auction for the third year running. Starc last played in the IPL in 2015 and has since either missed the competition due to injury or workload management and once again, this time around, took the decision to not partake in the T20 tournament, despite there being a ludicrous demand for fast bowlers.
Explaining his decision to give the IPL a miss, Starc revealed that he passed on the T20 extravaganza in order to play as much Shield cricket as he possibly could. The 31-year-old, this season, has appeared in 5 of New South Wales’ 7 Shield games to date.
"I wanted to play as much Shield cricket as I could," Starc told cricket.com.au, explaining his decision to skip the IPL.
"Managing a few little things with the body and wanting to play as much red ball cricket as I could with certain guys heading off to the IPL, it was my intention to be the constant in the Shield team and hopefully play the role there as a senior head in the team.
"It has been a gruelling summer for most people, whether you've been in different hubs and bubbles or started back in August, everyone's doing the best they can."
It has been a tough summer for Starc, who, after starting off strongly in the pink-ball Test versus India, has struggled for rhythm. The left-armer came under immense criticism for a drab showing in both Sydney and Brisbane and has also found it difficult in Shield, where he’s picked just 15 wickets in 10 innings at an average of 41.53. But despite not getting the expected returns, the 31-year-old explained that playing in the Shield has helped him ‘take the handbrake off’ and express himself.
"It was nice to find a bit of rhythm there and take the handbrake off a little bit and just try and get into a rhythm of bowling fast and try and be aggressive.
"Having that little bit of extra air speed is something I like to use to my advantage, today I got a bit of that in a few spells,” he said, post his three-wicket haul in the first innings against Tasmania.
Despite slumping to an embarrassing 298-run defeat at the hands of Tasmania, a game in which they got bowled out for 32, New South Wales are still front-runners to make the final, sitting mighty in second spot with 29 points next to their name. Starc, who has never appeared in a Shield Final to date, claimed that winning a Shield Trophy has always been at the top of his bucket list.
"I haven't played in a Shield final yet, I'd love to help the boys get there and take part and hopefully be a part of the group to win the Shield.
"That was my first intention. I've played three formats for a long time, and I find my game plan doesn't change too much across the formats but still, Shield and Test match cricket is the pinnacle for me.”