- Sanjay Sanapoori | March 24, 2023 | 3:34 am
Swing with the new ball, a deadly yorker, scintillating pace, and the advantage of a left-arm angle leaves Mitchell Starc blessed. He has all the attributes, and skills in the 50 overs format and has used them really well with 9 five wicket hauls to his name. In the first two ODIs, Starc produced deliveries as perfect as they could be to dismiss the likes of Suryakumar Yadav.
In both games KL Rahul came out facing Mitchell Starc, after he bowled those near perfect deliveries. In the second ODI KL Rahul got a really good delivery himself while facing his first delivery. KL Rahul though was fortunate to keep it out. Mitchell Starc though continued to define unplayable. He maintained a length short enough to keep the batter guessing on its possibility of hitting the stumps and also had the ball moving sharply in the air.
His approach in the first two ODIs were similar to how they are through his career. Fast, full, at the stumps and with movement. The approach does tend to make him look easy to play at times, with batters getting drivable lengths, making Starc go for runs occasionally as he did in the third ODI. However, his ability to continuously target the stumps has given results as indicated by his strike-rate which stands is the best among bowlers with at least a hundred wickets.
With swing and seam he is a nightmare who does not rely on much or anyone for his wickets. He is one of the only four bowlers to pick up more than hundred wickets bowled or LBW which shows his knack of attacking the stumps. He also has been on a hat-trick 16 times which shows his ability to pick up wickets in clusters and run through batting line-ups with ease.
Comparing him to the likes of previous greats like Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis becomes a challenge though. Eras are different and conditions have changed over the last 20 years with white-ball Cricket becoming more batter friendly, and with skillsets changing. Mitchell Starc additionally has to battle without Reverse Swing, a key skill which was mastered by the Pakistan duo. Despite the lack of reverse swing and flat tracks, Mitchell Starc has shown his skill in wiping out batting line-ups.
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The one aspect which tends to go against him is his economy rate which is often poorer than other bowlers of his era. His economy rate is a flipside of his approach as he tends to bowl towards the bat more often in a bid to attack the bowled and LBW dismissals. Based on the other stats though, Mitchell Starc stands a class apart from other bowlers of his era, and easily competes with the greats of the previous era.
He has proven himself on the big stage too. In both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, Starc finished as the leading wicket-taker, and was also the man of the tournament in 2015. With another World Cup coming in a few months, Starc has a chance of adding to his volume. For all he has done, a World Cup similar to the last two could put him up higher, leaving very few arguments from him being called the greatest fast bowler in ODI Cricket.