Mitchell Starc is not the kind of force in Tests as he is in ODIs © Getty Images
Mitchell Starc is not the kind of force in Tests as he is in ODIs © Getty Images

At 25, Mitchell Starc still has a fair bit to learn. However, the amount of learning he requires to do in Tests far outweighs that compared to what he must in limited overs cricket. Starc has repeatedly awed the world in the One-Day International (ODI) format with breathtaking spells, but has not quite done the same in Test cricket despite showing the occasional penchant to wreck havoc. What prevents Starc from recognising his true potential? Rishad D’Souza attempts to explain his deficit in the Test format.

Starc is a good Test bowler. Good. Merely good. He is not great — the way you expect him to be when you watch him mercilessly rip the hearts out of sides when he plays limited-overs cricket. His ability to decimate oppositions led to him emerging as the leading wicket-taker in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in a performance that gave Australia their fifth World Title in the format. ALSO READ: Peter Siddle deserves a chance in fifth Ashes 2015 Test

While some bowlers like Mitchell McClenaghan have styles that ensure success solely in limited-overs cricket when batsmen are looking to attack, such is not the case with Starc. His style of bowling seems perfectly suited to making him a venomous option in the longer format as well. His success comes from swing, bounce and pace. With that combination one should ideally have no problem finding consistent success in the Test.

However, with Starc it is not the question of quality. It is the sustenance of quality that hampers Starc. The intensity that characterises Starc in coloured attire is present even when he dons the whites, but as the day progresses it somehow withers out. Shane Warne made a very valid point on air that Starc looks most threatening in the early overs of an innings. Perhaps Starc still needs to build on stamina to enable himself to be dangerous throughout the day, rather than just in the early overs. ALSO READ: Mitchell Starc carrying Australia all by himself; Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood nowhere close to their best

Another problem with Starc is that while he can generate a lot of lateral movement, something he uses a lot in ODIs. His signature wicket-taking ball — the in-swinging, toe-crusher — gets the better of batsmen on the run. Unfortunately, when batsmen are looking to settle down for longer innings, the yorker becomes a less effective delivery, forcing Starc to look for other wicket-taking options.

His accuracy gets a wee bit awry when he looks to swing the ball away from the right hander, which makes it easy for batsmen to negotiate his swing. Starc has to realise the importance of unwavering accuracy in Test cricket, where batsmen put a heavier price on their wickets compared to other formats. Even minor chinks in accuracy badly hamper wicket-taking ability. READ: England name unchanged side for 5th Test vs Australia

Having said that, it has to be admitted that Starc seems to be on the right path and is plugging his inefficiencies meticulously. After a string of docile to lukewarm performances in Ashes 2015, he took a hard-earned fifer in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge. Though the performance was inconsequential to the outcome of the match, it spoke of Starc’s wilfulness to learn from mistakes. If he continues to grow in that fashion, he’ll be a true match-winner with the ball.

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)