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When Mitchell Starc came to this Caribbean tri-series he was not so sure how much of an impact he would bring to the Australian side on his return from surgery. But that didn’t stop him from finding his way into the ODI record-books.
And as Australia booked the tri-series final berth, more history waits for the left-arm fast bowler.
Starc’s 3 wickets in Australia’s dramatic six-wicket win over West Indies on Tuesday night came in his 50th ODI match and the latest 3 wicket haul took his career tally to 98. It eventually earned him the accolade as ODI cricket’s highest wicket-taker in first 50 matches.
Starc’s haul saw him leapfrog former New Zealand quickee Shane Bond, who used to terrorise Australian batting line-ups in the early 21st century before losing his career to back injuries and later becoming a successful a bowling coach.
The Australian left-armer’s stunning bowling figure also puts him ahead of Brett Lee (91 wickets), Pakistan swing bowling legend Waqar Younis (89 wickets) and West Indian fast bowler Curtly Ambrose (86 wickets).
However, Mohammad Shami, currently sitting equal seventh, has so far picked up his 87 wickets in just 47 matches and probably could surpass Starc’s milestone when India and Australia play a five-match ODI series against New Zealand later this year.
Starc also requires just two more wickets in the tri-series final to overtake Saqlain Mushtaq’s 19-year-old record of the fastest bowler to the 100-wicket milestone from 53 matches.
Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who was famously bowled in the first over of the 2015 World Cup final by Mitchell Starc, thinks the Aussie pacer will certainly claim a place in the pantheon of fast bowling greats.
“Mitchell Starc in the World Cup final, he was too good for me,” McCullum told cricket.com.au. “You can’t be too proud to admit when someone’s better than you: that’s the beauty of the game.
“There have been guys who have had an impact for a short period of time and that’s why I can’t wait to see Mitchell Starc’s development over the next few years,” McCullum said.
“Because if he keeps doing what he’s done for a period of time, then that puts him in that category (amongst the best bowlers in the world).”
“A guy like Mitchell Johnson did it for 13 years, (as did) Brett Lee in his pomp, Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath.
“Mitchell Starc’s got huge skills, and I’m not being disrespectful when I say it, but I think those others guys have had a bigger impact for longer.”
“When he’s bowling as well as what he can, he’s a complete world-beater,” McCullum further revealed. “The challenge for Mitch, which we’ve seen over the last year or so, is that consistency.
“But I think he’s gotten bigger, he’s gotten faster and I think he’s understood his skills a little more over the last little while.
“So the next couple of years will be really interesting, especially to see how he comes back from this injury.
“It’s good for the game when he’s playing and at his best, because there aren’t too many commodities like him.”
Now regarded as the most potent fast bowler in the world, Starc had to take a conservative approach in this series, his first outing after a six-month absence because of an ankle and foot surgery.
The left-arm has so far appeared in four matches on tour – including the washout against South Africa where the rain started after Starc’s first over. He will certainly play in Sunday’s where Australia will face the winner of Friday night’s match between South Africa and the Windies.
Starc has taken all total 8-139 in three Australian victories, but the two matches in which he was rested, both ended in defeat for the Aussies.