‘It&’s a bit hard when you play one game and then you’re dropped’
Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has shown his frustration over Cricket Australia’s selection policy saying it’s difficult to deliver consistency ”when you play one game and you’re dropped”.
The left-arm quick has been in and out of the Australian side over the past nine months, and during the current Ashes series in England the pattern has continued.
After starting in the first Test he was left out of the second at Lord’s before returning for the third at Old Trafford, only to be sidelined yet again at Durham.
The treatment has clearly upset the 23-year-old fast bowler, who is the second-highest-paid player on Cricket Australia’s books but has been unable to nail down a permanent place in the Test line-up, Fairfax Media reported on Monday.
"Yeah, I guess it would be nice to get a few games back to back and get that rhythm," Starc said, adding: "But to have a chance at that consistency that everyone talks about — ‘You’ve got to be more consistent’ — well, it’s a bit hard when you play one game and you’re dropped."
Prominent ex-players and the media have regularly criticised Australia’s contentious use of the player rotation policy, particularly for fast bowlers, designed to guard against them breaking down from too much cricket.
Test leg-spin great Shane Warne once said: "When we were number one there weren’t mission statements flying around, but we got the selection process right and the best 11 were selected for every game."
Starc, who has taken eight wickets in two matches at 27.12 in the Ashes series, said he had to show at training he was ready to return to the team.
”So in the end it comes back to getting better off the field and making sure I’m nailing everything and making sure I’m knocking down that door to be in the team," he said.
”I’m pretty happy with where my reverse swing bowling is and how much I am getting the ball to swing but I guess it’s doing more damage with the new ball and being more consistent when the ball isn’t doing anything at all… so I know where I need to get better and it’s just a matter of doing it.”
Starc hopes to return for the final Test at the Oval on Wednesday having bowled in Australia’s practice match against the England Lions in Northampton while Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle were given a break.
‘I think the first two (Tests) I played in a row (in 2011) and I played the last game of the South African series and the first game of the Sri Lankan series… other than that never back to back,” he said.
In another development, batsman Usman Khawaja, who faces a battle to keep his place in the team for the final Ashes Test, has had his central playing contract upgraded, Cricket Australia said on Monday.
CA said Khawaja had been upgraded for the 2013-4 season list after having played three or more Tests since 1 July this year, meaning he was eligible for more money than his state contract offered.
The Pakistan-born left-hander has struggled since he was promoted to the Australia batting order at number three in the current Ashes series.
Khawaja, 26, has managed just 114 runs in six innings at an average of a mere 19 against England in this Ashes series. In nine Tests since his debut over 18 months ago, he has scored 377 runs at 25.13 with two fifties.
Khawaja joins recently upgraded players Chris Rogers and Steve Smith on the CA contracts list.
CA also revealed today that young Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins was expected to miss most of the 2013-4 domestic season owing to the recurrence of a back injury.
Cummins, 20, returned home early from Australia A’s tour of South Africa last week with a back complaint in yet another injury setback.
"Pat has some side/back soreness and scans have shown a partial recurrence of his lower back bone stress injury suffered in October last year when he returned home from Champions League," CA chief medical officer Justin Paoloni said in a statement.
"He will be closely monitored to determine his return to the playing field, but we expect that he will miss most of the 2013-4 domestic cricket season."
It is yet another setback for the rising young paceman, who has missed the last two Australian domestic summers with back and foot injuries following a remarkable Test debut in 2011.
Cummins claimed Man-of-the-Match honours against South Africa in Johannesburg, which included taking 6-79 in the second innings and hitting the winning runs in a narrow Australian victory.
He was also sent home from Australia’s one-day tour of England in the middle of last year with a side strain.