Any possible chances of Australia exerting some pressure on their South African counterparts suffered a damning blow on Day 1 Johannesburg Test as their premier pace bowler Mitchell Starc was ruled out from the remainder of the Test. But truth be told, in some ways, the boil-down surrounding Mitchell Starc read like a stationary bit of news. Even though fresh in its occurrence, it felt like a stale, somewhat cursory consumption; something you weren’t exactly astounded at hearing.
Something you’ve perhaps grown used to hearing.
Starc picks up another injury, Australia suffers another blow.
So with Starc’s departure from the Test- owing to a tibial bone stress in his right leg- also thinned Australia’s chances of attempting any possible comeback, even if perceptibly unlikely in the imminent future of this deciding Test. But that said, it’s rather interesting how injury to a single individual affects outcomes in more ways than one. Right after the completion of the Johannesburg Test, 30-year-old Starc was to have joined the famous IPL franchise team of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Impact on Australia?
Perhaps in a big way. But only owing to the experience he possesses tied to his nagging pace, if not accuracy. On the present strength, it’s Pat Cummins who happens to be Australia’s stock bowler ahead of Starc- maintaining a beautiful rhythm on relatively batting-friendly plush green surfaces such as the one at Johannesburg. That said, on Day 1 of Johannesburg Test, it was Cummins who has on a hat-trick, even if it didn’t materialize eventually.
Starc didn’t take the ground.
Australia’s best pace exponent
When Mitchell Starc arrived in the four-test series beginning at Durban, it was expected that he would offer tough competition to his opponents, a side powered by the ingenious talents of stars like Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and the rising phenomenon, Kagiso Rabada. And the left-armer, it ought to be said, began brilliantly.
By claiming a 9-for at Durban, including a 5-for in South Africa’s first innings, Starc immediately announced his arrival in Protea land, where it wasn’t always going to be easy for an injury prone tearaway. This is particularly because his opponents were established world-class batsmen of the class of De Villiers, Amla, Faf and an in-form Elgar.
Australia would’ve certainly wanted Starc to come mightily well at Johannesburg, after the bitter disappointment of the Port Elizabeth Test, where he picked up a solitary wicket and gave away 125 runs. He wasn’t too great a revelation at Cape Town either, going one better than his Port Elizabeth effort; picking 2 for 179.
But Jo’burg was to be Australia’s finest chance to rise back
This is particularly in the immediate aftermath of a sorry state of affairs that have plunged Australia into despair. In the absence of Smith, Warner, and newbie Bancroft, arguably, their most experienced player alongside Shaun Marsh was to be Starc. Lest it be forgotten that injuries have had a thing for the left-arm pacer; they find him more often than he finds the one that angles away from the right-handers.
What Starc’s injury effectively means?
Besides rendering Australia a jolt, Starc injury on Day 1 Johannesburg Test means he won’t be able to relish the battles he’s often enjoyed at the IPL turf. It’s also bitterly disappointing that having picked up another injury in 2016 season that hindered his participation, Mitchell Starc has sadly followed the same route. His absence leaves the Kolkata Knight Riders to look for relatively new names to shoulder big responsibility. Thankfully, they have the likes of Vinay Kumar, who’s an old hand in T20s, the Aussie ace Brad Hogg and, the mystery spinner, Sunil Narine.