Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc believes that India are engaging in verbal confrontations with Australia on an increasing scale as they are concerned about losing the ongoing four-Test series.
Starc, who flew back home after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot following the second Test in Bangalore, revealed that India began to revert to sledging a lot more in that match as their unbeaten run in 19 matches in the longest format came to an end when they were thrashed by 333 runs in the first Test in Pune.
Starc added that Australia had not gone to India looking to become involved in heated disputes. Despite this, there have already been several on-field spats.
“It’s probably come a lot more from their side than ours,” Starc told Fox Sports. “There’s been a lot made of it before the series, there was so much hype before the series, and I think we’ve gone about the cricket as we have done for a long time now. As a young group, we’re probably still finding our way. We’re still learning about each other’s games and how we’re going as a team probably since the Hobart Test match [last year].
“It’s probably showed in how the guys have been playing their cricket, especially the way they batted [in Ranchi]. A couple of young guys performed outstandingly well, [like] Peter Handscomb. It shows who we are as a group and things have come hard, and it’s almost a defensive mechanism for them that we won the first Test match, we’re here for the challenge.
“They were scared of us, beating them in India the way they’ve been playing as well. So it was almost a defensive mechanism for them and obviously they came out in the second Test match, performed really well and got back into it.”
Like opening batsman David Warner, Starc also admitted that it was hard not to be impressed by opener Matt Renshaw’s performance throughout the series.
The 20-year-old, who is playing in his first series outside Australia, has scored 223 runs, which includes two half-centuries, at an average of 37.16.
“The more time he spends out in the middle the less time we have to listen to him,” Starc said before laughing. “He’s different but he’s a lovely kid. Loves his cricket, just loves batting – so I think that’s obviously shown in how he’s gone about his cricket in India.
“His first trip there, he’s learning – he’s probably not eating the right things, being sick all the time – but he’s performing quite well. He says some strange things, he comes up with some strange theories. He talks a load about [Don] Bradman and whether he scored those runs. He keeps talking about bats these days. He talks like he’s 35.”
With the series tied at 1-1 heading into the fourth Test in Dharamsala, the 27-year-old is confident that his side are capable of pulling off an incredible heist, especially after their performance in Ranchi, where Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh batted out a majority of the final day to secure a hard-fought draw for the Baggy Greens.
“I think we can win. I think we’ve showed throughout the series that we’re definitely up for the challenge,” he said. “We’re in the fight – we have been for three Test matches. We can knuckle down when we need to but we can attack when we want to and we can.”
As for when he will return, Starc confirmed that his injury is not as serious as the one that kept him out for most of the 2015/16 season. As a result, the Sydney native is aiming to make his comeback at the Champions Trophy in England in June.
“The foot is okay. It’s not snapped in half like the one 18 months go,” he said. “It’s the same foot, so I did the third metatarsal the last time, this is the fourth. Nice fracture. It’s not displaced though.
“I don’t need a boot fortunately. I’m still in the gym getting myself ready for when I do come back whenever that might be. I see the specialist on Thursday and hopefully get a clearer picture then. But the Champions Trophy is clearly not out of the picture.”