Domain Tests v India
Aussie Test great's plan to help Starc
Mitchell Johnson reaches out to star paceman after he attracted criticism during the first Test in Adelaide
12 December 2018, 03:18 PM AEST
Australia great Mitchell Johnson has reached out to Mitchell Starc in a bid to help the pace ace rediscover his best form.
Starc was put under the spotlight in the first Domain Test against India at Adelaide Oval, during which he grabbed five wickets as Australia fell to a 31-run defeat.
While the return was more than acceptable, champion fast bowler Glenn McGrath identified a potential technical issue with Starc’s run up, while Johnson was critical of his body language and lamented that “he hasn't given a bit of a glare or puffed his chest out with a good follow through”.
But Johnson, the fifth-highest wicket-taker for Australia in Test history, is hoping to catch up with his former teammate and fellow left-armer before the start of the second Test in Perth on Friday.
“Everyone operates in a different way and I’ve already sent him a couple of text messages to see if he wants to catch up and have a chat about things because I have worked with him in the past and you get to know people really well,” Johnson said on BBC’s Stumps podcast.
“It just looked like there was something on his mind, something’s not quite clicking (in the first Test).
“We’ll sit down hopefully before the Perth Test match starts.”
Perth Stadium will host a Test match for the first time, while only one JLT Sheffield Shield fixture has been played at the venue.
Australia will be hoping the wicket mirrors the WACA, which was renowned for its pace and bounce, as they look to even the ledger in the Border-Gavaskar series.
“It’s probably going to be a pretty quick and bouncy wicket as well,” Johnson added. “That could really get (Starc) alive and going.
“All I would say to him is he’s just got to have that belief in himself and get involved in the game and I guess have that presence.”
While Australia’s bowling unit performed strongly in Adelaide – restricting India’s top-class batting line-up to 250 and 307 – their spearhead appeared short of his best.
Starc told Fox Cricket during the Test his previous ankle injuries had him concerned about the footholes.
In the past 12 months, Starc has 29 Test wickets from eight matches at 32.62 apiece, with Nathan Lyon (46 from 10 games), Pat Cummins (40 from eight) and Josh Hazlewood (30 from eight) all claiming more wickets during the same period.
Johnson gave Starc’s first-innings display against India a tick but was left concerned by his showing in the second dig.
“I know what he’s capable of – we all know what he’s capable of,” he said.
“He’s just not swinging the ball at the moment. I feel like he might be slightly underdone.
“He has been out with injuries and he’s sort of come back. I don’t feel like he’s got that rhythm at the moment.
“The Mitchell Starc I know, he runs in, he’s got that real good rhythm in his run up, he’s running in fast, he’s got that presence about him, he has a good follow through where he’s in the batsman’s face, he’s involved in the game.
“He is swinging it, he’s bowling bouncers, he’s aggressive – or that controlled aggression anyway.
“We’re just not seeing that.”
Former national selector Mark Waugh said Starc needed to more consistent with the new ball.
"He hasn't bowled at his best probably the last 12 months," Waugh said on Sky Sports Radio today.
"He's just been a little bit off with his consistency and line and length.”
But Waugh added the pitch at Perth Stadium should suit Johnson, given it is tipped to offer bounce.
Australia skipper Tim Paine conceded Starc was not at his best but backed him to rebound in Perth.
“When Starcy’s on song, there is no better bowler in the world, particularly with the new ball,” Paine said.
“In Perth, the conditions will suit him down to the ground ... from what I am hearing, the wicket is going to be really fast so he’ll be a handful.”
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 14-18: Second Test, Perth Stadium
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar