Mitchell Starc, Australia’s pace spearhead, was included in the third and final Twenty20 International against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. Starc replaced fellow left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff in the side as Aaron Finch’s side, currently leading 1-0 in the three-match series, looked to seal a rare series win against Virat Kohli’s India side which are unbeaten in the last seven Twenty20 bilateral series. Australia chose to bat against India but the return of Starc completes a remarkable journey for the left-arm pacer in the shortest format of the game.
The Sydney Twenty20 game is the first time Starc is playing a Twenty20 international since 2016. The last time the left-arm pacer played in this format was against Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa stadium in 2016 and he picked up 1/32 from four overs. Since then, Starc has suffered a series of injuries that has restricted his involvement primarily for Test matches. Starc's inclusion in Sydney will be the first time the left-armer plays a match in Australia since 2014, when he took 1/19 against England at the same venue.
Following the series against Sri Lanka, Starc suffered a fractured foot in the Test series against India in Bangalore 2017 and that ruled him out of competitive cricket for a couple of months. This resulted in him missing the entire 2017 Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore as Cricket Australia advised him to undertake a rehabilitation program in order to be fit for the Champions Trophy in England.
Starc came back in style for the 2017/18 Ashes and played a starring role for the team, picking up 22 wickets and helping Australia reclaim the Urn with a 4-0 series win. The Australian speedster did not play in the Trans-Tasman Twenty20 series and in 2018, he was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs. 9.4 crore but he had to miss the tournament due to a right foot injury.
The left-arm pacer will be happy to come back to the Sydney Cricket Ground, a venue where he has enjoyed success in the Big Bash League for the Sydney Sixers.