Mitchell Starc feels physically ready to play all five Tests this summer, declaring it will purely be the selectors’ call if he misses the Hobart series finale. Selectors and medical staff will cast an eye over Australian’s training session on Wednesday night before forming a stronger view on what their attack should look like in the final Test.
Scott Boland is nursing sore ribs because of his tumble on the SCG pitch, putting the Victorian at risk of missing the day-night Test that begins on Friday. There is speculation Starc could sit out the match because of workload concerns, but it would be a bold call given he is the world’s all-time leading wicket-taker in day-night Tests.
“It’s purely up to the selectors,” Starc said, when asked if he was carrying any niggles or sore. “I’m not looking for a break. It’s the last Test match of an Ashes series at home. It’s a pink ball too.
“Feeling good. Obviously we’ve had a couple of days now to get ready for the fifth Test. Hopefully it’s not my turn to rest … I’d very much like to play. I guess it’s in the hands of selectors. But I won’t be asking for a rest.”
The expectation was Australia’s quicks could be rotated throughout this summer to ensure the attack is always refreshed, with selectors keen to avoid a repeat of the ineffectual scenes during last year’s Gabba loss to India.
England’s poor batting, Josh Hazlewood’s side strain and Pat Cummins’ enforced omission in Adelaide have combined to largely soothe those concerns. But if selectors opt for an unchanged attack this week it would mark three consecutive Tests in which the same fast bowlers have steamed in.
Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser, who both impressed in the day-night Test at Adelaide Oval, are on deck should Boland and/or Starc be ruled out.
Starc noted his conversations with selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide had been “really smooth and chilled” this summer. “Really hasn’t been too much to speak of as yet. No doubt there will be a little bit of chat through the next couple of days,” he said.
The pink-ball wizard backed Boland to back up. “He went to the gym yesterday. No doubt he’ll be at training and bowling,” Starc said. “He’s a quiet character but quite a resilient one. No doubt he’ll be looking forward to taking part in this Test.”
Starc has been the most prolific paceman this summer, snagging 15 scalps at 26.6, while also excelling with the bat to help Australia secure an unassailable 3-0 series lead. But the left-armer logged match figures of 1-124 in the drawn fourth Test, noting the SCG pitch did not break up on day five as much as Australia hoped.
“It would have been been really nice to take that final wicket but ultimately it was a fantastic game of cricket,” the 31-year-old said. “Different conditions here, different ball.”