DUBAI (Reuters) - Mitchell Starc is ready step up and do the heavy lifting as Australia’s sole specialist pace bowler should the tourists opt for a three-pronged spin attack in next month’s two-test series against Pakistan.
Using a trio of slow bowlers in the United Arab Emirates remains a strong possibility for the Australians as they explore means to capture 20 wickets in the absence of injured pace duo Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
Cummins played the lone paceman role in Bangladesh last year when Australia selected three specialist spinners for the first time in 40 years and the 28-year-old Starc is poised to emulate his fellow quick against Pakistan.
“I haven’t had to do that before,” Starc told cricket.com.au on Tuesday.
“If I need to bowl long spells and be the only out-and-out quick, then I can definitely fill that role. We’ve got guys like (all-rounder) Mitch Marsh who’s back bowling now, I’m sure he’ll be a big part of the team with bat and ball.
“We’ve got other part-timers to call on if need be. If conditions suit spin and they go down the road of the extra spinners, I can change my role slightly again.”
Starc, who tested a new run-up to prevent further injuries but retained his old one as he was losing pace, went wicketless in his first test in the region but has been Australia’s most successful bowler in South Asia since that 2013 match in India.
The left-arm paceman took 24 wickets on the 2016 tour of Sri Lanka, the biggest haul by an Australian in a three-test series, and will look to replicate that form in Dubai, which hosts the first test from Oct. 7, and Abu Dhabi 11 days later.
“It’s something I’ll probably look at and try to take little things out of to take into this series on the subcontinent with where and how I bowled — the lengths and some reverse swing,” Starc added.
“In the UAE we’ll use the Kookaburra ball like we did in Sri Lanka — hopefully we can get it moving around and I can get a few wickets and help the team out.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien