Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Starc's tinker tailor-made to sail into summer
Left-arm speedster blows away Ashes clouds as technical work fires him to career-best Marsh Sheffield Shield figures
21 October 2019, 05:17 PM AEST
Mitchell Starc emerged from a brief post-Ashes funk to rediscover his fire-breathing best as he reaped the benefits of minor technical adjustments to capture career-best Marsh Sheffield Shield figures.
In the unfamiliar position of having to prove himself ahead of the international summer having been overlooked for all but one of Australia's five Tests against England, Starc admitted he relished clean bowling Australia captain Tim Paine on the way to twin five-wicket hauls against Tasmania.
Extracting trademark reverse swing on an abrasive Drummoyne Oval surface, the left-arm speedster claimed superb match figures of 10-60 from 44.2 miserly overs (17 of which were maidens) to help NSW complete a comfortable eight-wicket win on Monday.
It comes just days after a rough return to cricket on home soil in the opening Shield round, taking 1-129 from 39 overs against Queensland at the Gabba (the venue for next month's first Domain Test against Pakistan) in his first game back following the England tour.
Starc revealed former New Zealand quick Andre Adams, now the Blues bowling coach, had helped him get his red-ball mojo back between Shield games following an Ashes series in which he'd prioritised accuracy and movement over raw pace.
"I changed my approach, and a fraction in my technique as well, just to feel like I was attacking the crease and finding some of that rhythm," Starc explained.
"I feel like I was still in two minds up in Brisbane and a bit clouded in my approach there.
"It was good to clear that up and spend a couple of days with Andre back in Sydney and prepare really well for this game. It's nice to see it pay off."
An analysis of Starc's bowling action against Tasmania compared to the last Test of the 2018-19 summer, against Sri Lanka in Canberra - coincidentally both games in which he claimed 10-wicket hauls - reveals some differences. Starc now bends his left elbow more, cocking the forearm further back to get the ball closer to his ear than above his head in his load up. The delivery action appears to be the same.
Starc stressed that first Test against Pakistan beginning November 21 is the "furthest thing" from his mind, with a pair of three-game Gillette T20 series against Sri Lanka (which kicks off on Sunday) and then Pakistan instead occupying his attention.
He will have the chance to reacquaint himself with the white ball on Wednesday in his first 50-over clash since his record-breaking World Cup campaign earlier this year with a Marsh One-Day Cup match against the Tigers on Wednesday.
Starc, who is expected to form a fearsome bowling trio alongside Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood for that clash with Tasmania at North Sydney Oval, said the change in format doesn't bother him.
"The biggest thing for me is that continued cricket," he said. "I find that sometimes for myself that stop-start cricket can impact my rhythm.
"I don't really mind if it's red ball, white ball, pink ball – having that continued cricket helps that rhythm and keeps things going.
"That's probably what I've seen in the past few weeks.
"Coming from the first game of Shield cricket being a bit clouded to being pretty clear for the last seven or eight days and having a good performance this week."
Starc says he's had limited interactions with selectors Justin Langer and Trevor Hohns about his spot in the Test side. But on this performance he would be tough to overlook.
The 29-year-old has taken 88 Test scalps at 26.87 over the past four home summers and his effectiveness on flat, bouncy Australian pitches has become a major weapon.
But Starc insisted: "I can't say I've ever worried about the selection side of it.
"I have always tried to just bowl well in whichever game I am playing in at the time. Obviously it comes up in a lot of (media).
"But it's always been a thing where if you are performing well for your state or your country, selection is going to take care of itself.
"If you think about that sort of stuff it clouds your mind and your performances. It's nice just to stay level."