More than five years after making his Test debut, Mitchell Starc is set to finally take part in one of Australian sport's greatest annual traditions - the Boxing Day Test.
Despite having played 32 matches since his debut in November 2011, Starc has never played a Test on the MCG and has been forced to watch five Boxing Day Tests from either the dressing room or his couch.
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He missed the 2013 and 2015 Tests due to injury, and was overlooked in 2011 (for Ben Hilfenhaus) and in 2014 (for Ryan Harris) despite having played the previous Test on each occasion.
But his most infamous absence from a Boxing Day clash came in 2012 when he was controversially rested after shouldering a heavy workload against Sri Lanka in Hobart a week earlier, his frustration on that occasion heightened when he found out about his omission only after the news had broken publicly.
The parallels coming into this Boxing Day Test against Pakistan are obvious; Starc, like four years ago, is coming off a heavy workload in the previous Test, having sent down 56 overs at The Gabba a week ago.
And Australia's coach who played a role in the decision to rest him in 2012, South African Mickey Arthur, is now in charge of Pakistan.
"It's happened before," Starc said today with a grin when it was suggested that he didn't want to be rested for another Boxing Day clash.
And, in a not-so-subtle reference to Arthur, he then added with an even bigger smile: "He's in the other camp now I think."
Jokes aside, the left-armer says he's recovered well from the heavy workload in Brisbane having had a few days off before arriving in Melbourne for the annual festive clash.
And he's confident that there'll be no repeat of 2012 when the second Commonwealth Bank Test against Pakistan gets underway on Monday.
"We were all probably a little bit tired over the last few days, but we've had some time off," he said after Australia's tense 39-run win at the Gabba.
"I think the last ball I bowled in that Test match, which was in my 56th over, was 149 clicks (kilometres per hour). So there's no issue on my end.
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"A Boxing Day Test just gets everyone up and ready to go. And what I've seen from the guys in the last day-and-a-half is we're feeling really good and recovered really well.
"So there'd be no reason for anyone to miss out due to injury or rest, as far as I know.
"Personally, as a kid growing up watching the Boxing Day Test, it's always been a dream of mine to play in front of a full house on Boxing Day.
"If I get the chance this week, we'll tick that one off and it'll be a fantastic experience to walk out and sing that anthem and play a Boxing Day Test. It'll be pretty special."
While Starc appears certain to break his Boxing Day drought, his NSW teammate Nic Maddinson is less assured of a spot in the XI after he registered three low scores to start his Test career.
The selection of uncapped allrounder Hilton Cartwright in a 13-man squad that was put through its paces at the MCG today has put Maddinson's participation in this Test in doubt, with the Australians seeking an extra bowling option after they sent down a total of 200 overs in Brisbane.
Starc wasn't drawn on whether or not the Australians needed an extra bowler in their side, but said he was living proof that having an extended run in the Test side - like Maddinson is hoping for - can eventually pay dividends.
After playing back-to-back Tests to start his career in 2011, Starc had to wait another three-and-a-half years before he played two Tests in a row in the same series, with injury and selection seeing him drop in and out of the side.
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And the 26-year-old is hopeful that the same fate won't befall his Blues teammate, who has managed just five runs from three innings in his first two Tests.
"In a way, I've been in a similar position where I've been in and out (of the side) quite often through the start of my career," Starc said.
"And it was the times where I was backed more and given more of a chance and a longer run that my performances started to pick up and I got that consistency in my game.
"So I definitely think 'Maddo' should get another chance.
"In the end, it's up to the selectors but I think continued cricket, definitely at this level, can only help him, and it'd be a great opportunity for him at Boxing Day after we've had a couple of good wins."
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