When England take on Australia in a bilateral ODI series starting Friday in Manchester, all eyes will be on the battle between England’s batting might against Australia’s well known pace bowlers. The likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will have to be at their best against an in form and rampaging English batting line-up.
This will also be the first time England will host Australia at home as champions of the 50-over format, a favour they would have long wanted to return to the Aussies who have won the title five times. But the Aussies are a handful on a cricket field, whether champions or not.
Aaron Finch and his team have not had a great run in the format since the ICC World Cup of 2019, where they lost to England in the semi-final. One reason for that could be the indifferent form of their pace spearhead Mitchell Starc.
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Starc has been a prolific bowler in ODIs, and his record in the ICC World Cup is outstanding to say the least. But 2020 is proving to be a tough year for the left handed paceman. In six matches so far, Starc has accounted for only 6 wickets and his average is well above 50. This is the worst performance by the paceman in ODIs in a calendar year since making his debut in 2010, when he had played only 2 matches and picked up 4 wickets. This following graph will further elucidate what we intent to talk about.
2020 has indeed been a year of struggle for the paceman as his average and economy has been the worst for a calendar year.
What is worrisome is the fact that Starc’s part record in ODIs against England in England too has been mediocre at best. He has picked up 12 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 37.75 and strike rate 36.8. His overall record in England though is fabulous but that is on account of his performances against other teams.
So, the paceman needs to reinvent this summer in England and he needs to come out firing on all cylinders to make amends to both his 2020 numbers as well as his numbers against the hosts.
His new ball partnership with Cummins will be crucial if Australia are to upset the world champion in their backyard. For the record, the last bilateral series between the two teams in England resulted in a 5-0 whitewash for the hosts, but that was Australian team in a transitional phase after the ‘Sandpapergate’ controversy.