mitchell starc bowling
Mitchell Starc (Getty Images)

Having worked hard on his fitness, Australia left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc has said he’s ready to bowl long spells in the Dubai heat against Pakistan should his captain Tim Paine need him.

Starc picked an injury during Australia’s ill-fated tour of South Africa earlier this year that forced him to sit out of the third Test and subsequently the IPL and limited-overs tours of England and Zimbabwe.

Australia and Pakistan will face each other in a two-Test series with the first match to start from Sunday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

“I’ve done some hard work the last few months to get myself fit and strong and if they have to be long spells, I’m ready for it,” Starc told reporters on Friday.

In Dubai, Starc knows that his role will be equivalent to that of someone in a support cast rather than the lead. Spinners have traditionally called the shots in the UAE and Australia will be banking on their lead spinner Nathan Lyon to deliver the goods.

“We’ve changed the roles of the fast bowlers over here, it’s a little bit more of a supportive role and the spinners come into the game a lot sooner,” he said. “I’ve had conversations with JL (Justin Langer) and a few other guys about potentially changing my role slightly to these parts of the world. It’s not like Australia where you can blast guys out on fast, bouncy wickets.”

Starc has taken vital lessons from his previous tours of Asia which have helped him fine-tune his strategy on tracks which are punishing to pacers.

“In the past, perhaps that Test match I played here last time (in Abu Dhabi), I was stuck in that Australian mindset of attack, attack, attack. I went for runs and didn’t really take too many wickets. I’ve progressed my game to play many different roles and I have to shape that role to this part of the world and watch the world’s greatest (spinner) do his thing from the other end in Nath (Lyon),” Starc said.

During Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2016, Starc took 24 wickets across a three-Test series which his team went on to lose 0-3. “In that (Sri Lanka) tour I think I sort of realised when to attack and when to have to sit back, still not go for too many runs. When the ball was reversing, that’s when I could attack. But at the same time, it’s making sure you’re building that pressure by not going for runs and earning the right to take those wickets and bowling attacking.

“Here where the wickets are probably even flatter and it’s a bit warmer as well, you have to change that role again slightly, but I’ll be definitely taking a bit of that (Sri Lanka tour) blueprint into this tour as well.”