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Indian Premier League: Purple and gold on Mitchell Starc wishlist for next year

Starc’s dismissal of Abhishek Sharma set it up for KKR in the final, a delivery which will be replayed in the mind

Indranil Majumdar Chennai Published 28.05.24, 10:24 AM
Mitchell Starc after the final on Sunday.

Mitchell Starc after the final on Sunday. KKR

Mitchell Starc had been the butt of all jokes since being confirmed by Kolkata Knight Riders for a record Rs 24.75 crore at the IPL auction.

But the left-arm fast bowler “turned it on” at the right time, according to his Test captain Pat Cummins, to put to rest talks that he didn’t have the tools to succeed in this format. Once his rhythm returned, the 34-year-old made it a habit of picking wickets with the new ball.

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Starc’s dismissal of Abhishek Sharma set it up for KKR in the final, a delivery which will be replayed in the mind. The ball had pitched in the middle and leg and jagged back a wee bit to knock Sharma’s off stump.

Travis Head could consider himself lucky for not having to endure such ‘trauma’ after deciding against taking first strike on Sunday.

Starc is not the one who has mastered the art of slower deliveries in this format or depends on it; he rather delivers it sparsely, like an off-cutter at the death. It could be a dipping beauty as Head discovered in the Qualifier 1 in Ahmedabad.

Starc finished the IPL with 17 wickets from his 14 games, five of those coming in the playoffs, having taken 3/34 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 1.

“There have been plenty of jokes. A lot has been made of the money,” said Starc about his price tag and coping with early setbacks in the tournament.

“I am older and more experienced now, so that has helped with managing the expectations and leading the attack. We have got an exciting bowling attack ... it’s been a lot of fun, it’s been great to learn and see how these guys go about it, but full credit to the players and support staff, it’s made my life pretty easy.

“I’ve played a lot of cricket so I know how to manage myself there. I haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket in the last few years, so for me it was trying to find that rhythm of the T20 format and I was trying to stay ahead of batters.”

It was important to stay level-headed when record totals were scripted every second day. “You look at some of the (bowling) figures... it’s easy for someone like myself who’s been around for a long time and been through the ups and downs to say it’s a mindset thing,” he said.

“Not every day is a good day. You’re never as good as people say you are and you’re never as bad as people say you are. I think staying level is a good part of it. T20 is a great leveller. You can have some good days and two days later you can have a shocking day.

“So it’s certainly been a tougher tournament for bowlers... Jasprit’s (Bumrah) been one of the best in the world for a long time and he’s certainly showed that he found a way to not go for runs and take wickets as well.”

Will the IPL see him again in 12 months? "Next year, I don’t know the schedule exactly but as I said, I’ve enjoyed it and look forward to being back next year. Hopefully, it’s in purple and gold again.”

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