Australia premier pacer Mitchell Starc will miss the third and final ODI against South Africa in Potchefstroom to watch his wife Alyssa Healy play the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup final against India on Sunday. Wicketkeeper-batter Healy will be a part of Australia’s team which will take on an in-form Indian side at the MCG. The four-time champion home team would be aiming to defend the title against the first-time finalists India.
Australia men’s team, who are currently on a tour to South Africa, is 0-2 down in the three-match ODI series. They will play for pride in the final match of the series. Head coach Justin Langer said the team is happy to release the left-arm fast bowler for ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Mitch to watch Alyssa in a home World Cup final and so we were happy to allow him to return home to support his wife and be part of a fantastic occasion,” Australia men’s team coach, Justin Langer said.
The coach feels the break would also help Starc to ‘refresh’ and regroup ahead of the upcoming limited-overs series against New Zealand at home.
“It is something we have been talking about for a while and, given Mitch has had a considerable workload in all three formats, his heading home a couple of days ahead of the rest of the squad means he’ll have a chance to refresh ahead of our home and away ODI and T20I against New Zealand that will wrap up our season,” Langer added.
Langer believes Starc’s absence will be an opportunity for the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson.
“We have plenty of fast bowling options with us here in South Africa with Josh Hazlewood, Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson all sitting out our previous match in Bloemfontein, and Mitch’s absence will offer one of them an opportunity to impress in Saturday’s match,” Langer said.
Defending champions Australia booked a place in the summit clash of women’s T20 World Cup final after a narrow five-run win over South Africa in the rain-hit semifinal.