Starc targeting Champions Trophy

Paceman says foot injury not as bad as previous ailment; targets June comeback for Australia

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc is confident of returning for the Champions Trophy in June, saying his foot injury isn't as bad as a similar problem he suffered 18 months ago.

And the left-armer has had a cheeky jibe at Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin after their on-field battle during the recent second Test in Bengaluru.

Starc was forced out of the Border-Gavaskar series after the second Test at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, sent home due to a fracture in his right foot.

The 27-year-old was out of action for almost eight months between November 2015 and June the following year after suffering a fracture in the same foot during the Adelaide Test against New Zealand.

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But he's allayed fears of a similarly lengthy lay-off and is targeting the ICC's one-day international tournament in the United Kingdom for his return.

Starc sent home due to foot fracture

"It's OK, it's not snapped in half like the one 18 months ago," he told The Back Page on Fox Sports.

"I did the third metatarsal last time, this one is the fourth. It's a nice fracture, but it's not displaced so I don't need (to wear) a boot fortunately.

"So I'm still in the gym and getting ready for when I do come back. When that might be, I see the specialist on Thursday and hopefully I'll get a clearer picture then.

"But the Champions Trophy is definitely not out of the picture at this time."

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Starc believes the heated nature of the Test series in India was sparked by Australia's stunning victory in the first Test, which kick-started the Indian team into action.

Having been expected to be too strong for the inexperienced Australian side, India were shocked by their first-Test thrashing and Starc believes it led to them bringing a more fiery attitude into the second Test.

Starc was given a send-off by Ashwin during that second Test, with the Indian spinner tapping his forehead after he bowled Starc in the second innings.

Ashwin's action was a response to Starc performing a similar gesture when Ashwin's domestic teammates Abhinav Mukund top-edged a six during India's innings, with Starc seemingly indicating that the opener could expect more short-pitched deliveries.

Ashwin mimics Starc's head-tapping gesture // Fox Sports
Ashwin mimics Starc's head-tapping gesture // Fox Sports

Starc laughed off the run-in with Ashwin, adding he was looking forward to India's next Test tour down under.

"I look forward to bowling to Ashwin in Australia," he said with a laugh. "(I might) take his advice and hit him on the badge.

"(The on-field banter has) probably come a lot more from their side than ours.

"There was a lot made of it before the series and there was so much hype before the series. I think we've just gone about the cricket that we have done for a long period of time now.

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"(Australia's fighting draw in the third Test) shows how we are as a group and the Indians have come hard, it's almost a defence mechanism for them.

"We won the first Test match, we (were there) for the challenge, they were scared of us beating them in India the way they've been playing

"So it was almost like a defence mechanism for them and they obviously came out in the second Test match and performed really, really well and got back in (the series)."