Mitchell Starc: 11 interesting things to know about the Australian speedster

 

Mitchell Starc, born January 30, 1990, is yet another promising Australian pace bowler from New South Wales who has captured over 100 international wickets so far in his short international career. Shiamak Unwalla looks at 11 interesting things to know about the left-arm speedster.

 

1. Bowler? More like all-rounder!

Starc is designated as a bowler and comes in to bat at No. 8 and below, but his batting numbers could well warrant a relook into that strategy. In 15 Tests, he averages an appreciable 30.31 at a strike rate of 70.28 with four half-centuries and a highest score of 99! In ODIs his record is actually better: he averages 32.20 with a strike rate of 87.02; numbers that are good enough for most No. 7s!

 

2. Batting records galore

Comedian Andy Zaltzman pointed out a few interesting records achieved by Starc during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2013. Starc became the first batsman to be dismissed for 99 after coming in at No. 9 in a Test match. This was in the third Test at Mohali. Over the course of the match, Starc became the first tailender (No. 9-11) to play at least 100 balls in both innings of a Test. He also achieved the rare distinction of bowling as well as facing 200 balls in a Test.

 

3. Not-so-Gentle Giant

Starc stands at an imposing six foot five inches, comfortably one of the tallest members in the Australian side. He utilises his size to his advantage, both to extract bounce and to stare down (quite literally!) batsmen. Starc is known for his fiery temper on the field.

 

4. Confrontation with Kieron Pollard

One of the most controversial moments of IPL 2014 involved an ugly altercation between Starc, playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), and Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder Kieron Pollard. While Pollard was batting, he and Starc had a few words with each other which culminated in Starc throwing the ball back at Pollard on his follow-through. The enraged Pollard proceeded to throw his bat in the direction of Starc before the umpires and other players stepped in to calm things down.

Starc clearly held the grudge long past the match. When enquired about the incident a few months later, Starc didn’t miss the opportunity to taunt Pollard. Asked about whether he was looking forward to an encounter with the West Indies, Starc quipped that if the match was a Test, Pollard wasn’t likely to play.

 

Mitchell-Starc-02

 

5. Receiving the Baggy Green from a legend

Starc was given his Baggy Green cap by legendary Australian all-rounder Richie Benaud. Starc would later call the experience of getting his cap “overwhelming.”

 

6. Massive sweet tooth

Starc has a huge sweet tooth. The bowler enjoys ice cream and chocolate so much, he even identifies himself as a sweet-lover in his Twitter description alongside being a cricketer for NSW, RCB, Yorkshire, and Australia.

 

7. Proud Yorkshireman

Though Starc was born and raised in Sydney, New South Wales, he plays county cricket for Yorkshire, a side that is particularly difficult to break in to. Consider this: the first non-Yorkshireman to ever play for the county was no less a player than Sachin Tendulkar!

 

8. Fielder par excellence

In addition to his tremendous bowling and impressive batting, Starc is also a fantastic fielder. In IPL 2014, he took a couple of wonderful catches that swung the game (however briefly) in RCB’s favour. More recently, he took a caught and bowled chance to dismiss Lokesh Rahul mere centimetres from the latter’s face after the young batsman had scored his maiden Test century.

 

9. Sporting family

Mitchell’s younger brother Brandon Starc is also a sportsperson: he has represented Australia in the men’s high jump at the Commonwealth Games and other international competitions.

 

10. Childhood dream…being a wicketkeeper?

As if being a first-rate bowler and more-than-handy batsman wasn’t enough, Starc actually started out as a wicketkeeper who idolised Adam Gilchrist! When Starc had initially started playing cricket as a child, he played as a wicketkeeper-batsman (which explains his batting average!). As a result of his childhood goal, one of his early role models was Gilchrist.

 

11. Love of wicketkeepers persists

Starc is currently dating Australian Women’s team wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy. Talk about having a thing for ‘keepers!

(Shiamak Unwalla is a proud Whovian and all-round geek who also dabbles in cricket writing as a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)