Mitchell Starc has unleashed a verbal barrage at England, telling the beleaguered visitors to worry about their own problems heading into the Boxing Day Test.
Angered by James Anderson’s claims that lacked depth in the fast bowling department, the left-arm pace ace backed his replacement Jackson Bird to “stick it up” the English.
Starc was ruled officially ruled out of the match on Sunday due to a bruised heel, continuing his wretched run with one of the marquee matches on ‘s cricket calendar. He remains hopeful of lining up for his home Test in Sydney.
Bird comes into the XI for his first appearance in the baggy green since playing in this fixture 12 months ago against Pakistan.
Anderson’s comments about the home side’s attack have not gone down well in the n camp. The veteran seamer said had a shortage of express-paced quicks outside its first choice trio, who have comprehensively out-performed England’s pacemen.
Anderson’s point is valid. With James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile injured, does not have anyone capable of bowling regularly above 140 km/h sitting on the bench.
But the timing of his comments has raised eyebrows with Starc goading England’s attack over their lack of pace.
“He still bowls quick enough, I’m pretty sure he still bowls quicker than the Poms’ bowlers as well,” Starc said.
???”It’s quite humorous actually. They haven’t taken 20 wickets yet in this series and we have and they’re having a crack at our depth.
“I think they’ve got bigger things to worry about than the depth of ‘s fast bowlers. Hopefully Jacko takes five-fa and shows the depth in n cricket is pretty strong even though there’s a few guys missing through injury.”
Opening batsman David Warner also responded to Anderson’s jibe by suggesting “our depth is fantastic … England aren’t used to having or producing fast bowlers” and highlighted how Anderson wasn’t nearly as chirpy during the third Ashes Test.
“He went very quiet as soon as he saw the wicket was quite flat,” Warner told reporters. “Sometimes you go into your shell like a turtle. We’ve probably shut them up a little bit.”
It’s understood Smith was sledged by Anderson throughout his game-changing ton at the Gabba, while the pair swapped heated verbals at Adelaide Oval.
“Conditions must have suited Jimmy there,” Warner quipped.
“Hopefully this gets them up and going and they fire some barbs at us.
“I love whenever we’re in a contest and I feel like they were quite flat in WA.”
Bird has stayed on the radar of selectors with 25 wickets at 16.56 in the Shield. Bird, who has played in three of the past 18 Tests despite being a perennial squad member, “thoroughly deserved his chance”, Starc said.
He was unlucky to be overlooked for Joe Mennie in Hobart last season when then selection chairman Rod Marsh queried the No.11’s performances with the bat.
Bird was part of the touring party in India and Bangladesh this year but each time an opportunity arose he was leapfrogged by a player not in the original squad.
“He’s bowling really well, he’s taken a lot of wickets in Shield cricket. He’s been bowling fantastically in the nets. He’s been awesome around the team, he thoroughly deserves his chance,” Starc said.
“Everyone in the change room is really excited for him to get a go, especially after the last 12 months. He’s someone who has been around the group for so long without much game time. He’s been awesome for the group, he’s such a good team man.”
With the urn already won and an important tour to come in South Africa, it did not take long for Cricket ‘s medical staff to sideline Starc for fear his bruised heel would morph into something more sinister.
“There’s always a risk. Going by the scan it was a good result – the bone and plantar fascia is all there. it’s more just a deep bruise of the fat pad – that’s the positive news,” Starc said.
“But if we pushed through it there’s always a chance it could have got worse. I guess something like what Pat Cummins had when he had six years ago, he was out for four or five months. Things come into it when you play through injuries – not the case this week.”