In the first Test of the Ashes 2023 series at Edgbaston, England won the toss and elected to bat. Australia captain Pat Cummins revealed that Mitchell Starc, the star pacer, was not included in the playing XI.
Skipper Cummins said that it was a tough call.
“Tough call, Starc was really good last game but good to have someone like Hazlewood come in. Tough to manage the workloads, but that is a good problem to have,” stated Cummins.
Josh Hazlewood 🔁 Mitchell Starc
Pat Cummins discusses the big change in the Australia squad 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/U23C4EkVyV
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) June 16, 2023
Starc’s absence came as a surprise to many, considering his reputation as a potent fast bowler and his past performances in the Ashes series.
Unlike the home side, England, who announced their starting eleven a couple of days before the opening Test, Australia waited until the last moment to disclose their team selection. One of the key dilemmas for Australia before the first match was whether to include the returning Josh Hazlewood or retain Scott Boland in the playing eleven. Hazlewood, a seasoned campaigner, was making a comeback after recovering from an injury, while Boland had performed well in the recently concluded World Test Championship (WTC) 2023 Final against India.
Ultimately, the Australian team management made the bold move of dropping Starc to accommodate both Hazlewood and Boland in the playing XI. This decision might have been based on Boland’s impressive performance in the WTC Final. At the same time, Hazlewood piped Starc to get into the remaining spot.
Cricket fans around the world who were waiting for the highly anticipated Test match between England and Australia were surprised by this decision from Australian team management.
Here are some of the reactions:
Hmm 🤔 interesting Aussie selections. Have always liked that we have had a varied attack. Plus without Starc how will Lyon go with no rough to work with? #Ashes2023
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) June 16, 2023
England has won the toss and elected to bat first at Edgbaston.
Both sides have left out their fastest bowler, with Mark Wood and Mitchell Starc sidelined for the series opener.#Ashes
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) June 16, 2023
First Ashes test and no Mitchell Starc to commence it with an in swinging ripper. 😓
— Rayhaan (@Cricket_Savant) June 16, 2023
No Starc? This will be interesting! https://t.co/8qyHi5ED4x
— Ashlee (@_itsashleeee_) June 16, 2023
Starc, the most expensive Australian bowler in the WTC Final at the Oval, averages the worst among all the other current Aussie pacers on English shores. However, the move puzzled several experts and fans as Starc, despite being expensive, is a lethal exponent of the reverse swing with the old ball and has a knack for delivering important wickets for the side.
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