'If they are 5-50, are they still coming out swinging? - Starc casts fresh doubts on Bazball's Ashes viability
Mitchell Starc has cast fresh doubts on England's ability to sustain their ultraggressive 'Bazball' ploy ahead of the forthcoming Ashes. The Australian left-arm quick says it remains to be seen if the hosts would be willing to keep their foot on the accelerator with the bat in hand when the chips are down during the upcoming tussle for the prestigious urn.
While England have managed to retain their newfound approach with distinction to win the last 10 of their 12 Tests since skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum came on board, Starc believes the Ashes is the stiffer of the challenges they've encountered so far and still have to prove themselves in the face of real adversity versus the arch-rivals.
Speaking to Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian pacer stressed he "dunno" if England can be as aggressive as they've been for the past 12 months when they stand on the brink of an irrevocable collapse.
Regardless, however, the experienced seamer said Australia will be determined throughout their marquee trip to play their brand of cricket without feeling the need to respond to the opposition onslaught. A point that skipper Pat Cummins and veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon had also made, urging them to stick to their successful ways.
Starc takes direct aim at England's 'Bazball' approach
"If they are 5-50, are they still coming out and swinging? Dunno," Mitchell Starc was quoted as saying by the Australian newspaper. "They've been able to maintain it for some time. Fair credit to them, it's not just a one-off."
"It makes for an exciting Ashes contest. We'll see if that's the way they're going to play, how it goes. From the guys I've spoken to this week, we're not really buying too much into it," he added.
Either way, England's strong comeback to winning ways at the Test level in the Stokes-McCullum regime has reignited the spice in the Ashes contest after Australian dominance, especially on England's away trips. The three lions went through a sustained dip, winning just 1 of their previous 17 Tests before Stokes took over from Joe Root early last summer.
The focus ahead of the esteemed tussle is also on the kind of surfaces England could dish out to the oppositions. Rated to be the masters in tactical manipulation of home decks for particular challenges, talks have been rife that England may consider producing fast-paced pitches to suit their aggressive batting ploy this time. Not the traditional moist seaming decks that have historically allowed them to tame the Aussie beast since the turn of the century.
Starc, however, isn't buying into that just yet.
"Have you ever seen a fast wicket in England? I don't know if they can make them fast. They can certainly make them flat. I think it's a bit of a smokescreen. There's always a bit of chat around the Ashes," he said.
"It's still cricket and there are three stumps at either end. You still need to take 20 wickets to win a Test. They might score a bit quicker than we do, but there's no reason our batting line-up can't score the amount of runs they do. It's going to be fascinating to be a part of. I think there's a lot of people interested to see how it pans out."