Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc is back in contention for the opening day-night Test against India this week after on Sunday opting to rejoin the team following compassionate leave. Starc, the most prolific wicket-taker in the short history of pink-ball Test cricket with 42, missed the final two games of the Twenty20 International series after an unspecified family illness. Starc has been backed to overcome minimal preparation and play in the first Vodafone Test against India, starting on December – 17 – Thursday. Also Read - India vs England 2021: Ajinkya Rahane Speaks on Relationship With 'Captain' Virat Kohli, Says He's The Skipper And I'm His Deputy
“Starc has advised Australian team management he is ready to re-enter the hub in Adelaide and will fly from Sydney on Monday with fellow Test squad members in the Australia A team,” Cricket Australia said in a statement on Sunday. Also Read - PAK vs SA 1st Test Highlights: Kagiso Rabada Leads South Africa's Fightback, Pakistan Reeling at 33/4 on Day 1 at Stumps
The 30-year-old Starc will fly on the chartered flight that will carry fellow Test squad members Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris and Mitch Swepson, along with India’s touring party. However, Starc will only have two full days in Adelaide to prepare for the day-night Test. Also Read - IND vs ENG 2021: Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav Likely to Play Together in Team India's XI For 1st Test Versus England
“We feel for Mitch at this difficult time and we’re happy he has taken time out to spend with his family,” Australian head coach Justin Langer said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming him back into the squad on Monday.”
Starc boasts of a stellar record in day-night Tests, having taken 59 wickets in 10 day-night matches at first-class level. Despite Starc’s limited preparation, teammate Josh Hazlewood expects him to be ready to take on India this week.
“It’s obviously great news for us to have Starcy come in tomorrow,” Hazlewood said. “He’s a huge part of our team and a huge part of our attack.
“Everyone knows his numbers with the pink ball are pretty special so we welcome him with open arms.”