SYDNEY: A recovering Mitchell Starc is a strong chance to return to Australia’s team for the fifth Ashes Test at the SCG, though he would be doing so over the objections of the former spearhead Glenn McGrath, who believes the left-arm quick should only resume bowling when he is “100% fit”.
Having failed to recover from a bruised heel in time to take part in the Boxing Day Test, Starc bowled off his full run for about 30 minutes in the SCG nets on Tuesday, and is clearly eager to front up on his home ground alongside fellow New South Welshmen Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon. The captain Steven Smith, meanwhile, took a rare day off the nets due to some back soreness but is expected to be fine to play.
With nearly two months between this match and the first of Australia’s tour of South Africa, Starc has the opportunity for a break in between, even if he is named in the squad for the ODI series against England. The announced is due on Wednesday. McGrath, who was famously averse to any sort of resting or management during his long and durable career, said he would prefer to see Australia be cautious with Starc, given the niggardly nature of heel injuries and the looming South African assignment.
“You want him playing but you want him at 100% and you want to make sure next series he’s ready to go at 100%, so if Starcy’s not 100% I’d be tempted to rest him, unfortunately for the Sydney public,” McGrath said. “They want to see him performing on his home ground and he wants to be out there as well, but you’ve got to think ‘ok, South Africa’s important’, so we’ll wait and see.