Australia has been forced to deal with double blow just at a time when the ongoing Border–Gavaskar Trophy reached its intriguing stage. Their bid to make a comeback in the series just got tougher when it was revealed that their bowling spearhead – Mitchell Starc – has been ruled out of the series due to a stress fracture in his right foot. Mitchell Marsh is already out with a shoulder issue.
This is not the first time that the left-arm pacer has suffered a stress fracture in his right foot. He had endured the same injury in 2015 and also underwent a surgery which forced him live with crutches for support.
This is an ominous news for the visitors who are thriving to gain the series lead again in the 3rd Test which is scheduled to begin at Ranchi from March 16. With his departure, Australia has lost its fast bowling leader. Hazlewood will be without his main support, and Indian will be breathing easy knowing that the don’t have to negotiate his fiery pace any longer for the remainder of the series.
Starc is never just merely present in the field. The flat tracks in the sub-continent make things bit bearish for the visiting fast bowlers but Starc proved that such factors are just trivial for him. He knew to disturb the opposition with pace and India has got the exact taste it already. The most recent example can be drawn from the second Test in Bengaluru where he derailed India’s run flow significantly by removing both Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair off successive deliveries.
Although his spell eventually in the third innings read 2/74 which is pretty ordinary at first look. However, the impact he created resulted in India losing their pursuit of taking a big lead and set a huge target for Australia.
Josh Hazlewood fared much better with 6/67, but that would certainly not have happened had Starc being unavailable at from the other end (not taking away any credit from Hazlewood for his potentially match-winning spell).
His replacement hasn’t been named yet, but seems Jackson Bird will most likely take his place. Or, in another case, Pat Cummins or James Pattinson might be flown in. Jackson Bird cannot compensate the 150 plus pace Starc possessed while Cummins and Pattinson command such ability but lack the impact the tall left-arm fast bowler had over the opposition.
There’s another area where Australia have been hurt due to his injury – the batting department. It is obviously not easy to forget the batting contributions he provides as a lower middle order ‘cameo’ specialist capable of clubbing boundaries and sixes with ease.
His half century at no.7, a stoic 61 off just 63 balls, was one of the big reasons behind their stunning win over India in the opening Test at Pune.