Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's

Starc raises eyebrow in response to Sarfraz

Left-arm quick says he'll let the ball do the talking – again – after Pakistan captain's expectations of Aussie's sledging

Adam Burnett

20 September 2018, 06:02 PM AEST

Starc's focus on stumps and success over sledging

Mitchell Starc has responded to suggestions from Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed that the hosts will be preparing for a verbal barrage from the Aussie spearhead in the upcoming Test series.

Starc's name was raised by Sarfraz when he spoke with recently, as he outlined his expectations for the two-Test series in the UAE which begins in Dubai on October 7.

"If you play against Australia you have to play a good series," the gloveman said. "Lots of sledging as well.

"(Mitchell) Starc might do something like that, so I think this will be a good series. I don't like sledging though."

Starc played one Test in Abu Dhabi during Australia's 0-2 humbling in the corresponding series four years ago, but then took 14 wickets in the three-Test series against Pakistan in the home summer of 2016-17, including Sarfraz thrice (twice bowled).

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Speaking in Brisbane before the Australians flew out to Dubai on Wednesday night in search of a first Test series success in Asia since 2011, Starc said he was surprised by the Pakistani's comments.

"I did read that actually – raised an eyebrow to it," Starc told with a smile. "I don't think I've ever said anything to him on a cricket field. Bowled him once or twice, but haven't said anything to him.

Dec 2016: Starc thunderbolt shatters Sarfraz stumps

"It's going to be a good series. I'm sure there's going to be a bit of feeling in it – there's obviously great competition between both sides. It was a quality series last time they were out here and we haven't been to the UAE for a few years. 

"I don't think I'll be one to say too much out there – it's going to be quite warm and quite flat, so hopefully I'll let the ball do the talking."

Starc is set to be the only member of Australia's Ashes-winning pace attack involved in the series, with fellow Blues Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood both making strong progress in their respective injury recoveries, and expected to line up for their respective Premier Cricket teams in Sydney this weekend.

Touring in their stead will be recalled veteran Peter Siddle and uncapped Queensland quicks Brendan Doggett and Michael Neser, all of whom offer something different should they be selected to share the new ball with Starc.

Siddle, 33, played both Tests against Pakistan in the UAE four years ago, taking two wickets at 108.50 as Australia were soundly beaten.

In the first of those Tests, Sarfraz made an 80-ball hundred – the fastest ever by a Pakistan wicketkeeper.

Qantas Tour of the UAE

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc

Sep 29 - Oct 2: Tour match v Pak A, Dubai

Oct 7-11: First Test, Dubai

Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi

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