Mitchell Starc struggled against India. Picture: Brett Costello
Mitchell Starc struggled against India. Picture: Brett Costello

Former mentor’s advice for struggling Starc

Former Australia bowling coach Craig McDermott has urged Mitchell Starc to get back to basics in a bid to recapture his best form.

The star quick has long made up one-third of Australia's feared pace attack, but has drawn a number of critics - such as Shane Warne - following a lean 2018 (31 wickets at 33.35). The year was capped off with a humbling defeat against India, whose quicks Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami comfortably upstaged Starc on his own turf.

Speaking on Fox Cricket podcast The Follow-On, McDermott said Starc now finds himself in a "battle zone" where the game is no longer coming easy to him.

"He looks a little bit down on confidence, and that has been spoken about," the 71-Test legend said.

"It's like anything. When you're a professional and you're going well the basics seem to happen for you, but if it's not just right, you can go into a little bit of a battle zone where I think he is at the moment."

McDermott said his former mentee Starc doesn't need to look further than India's pace attack, who presented better seam position and swung the ball with more regularity than the Australians throughout the series.

He added that a back-to-basics approach would serve the 28-year-old best, as he rests through the ODI series against India to prepare for two Tests against Sri Lanka.

"If you look at the Indian bowlers, their seam position 90 per cent of the time was exemplary. We've got some work to do from that point of view," he told the program.

"Whether that's the bowlers themselves, we've got a bowling coach all over that stuff as well, you've got to make sure that you're looking at that every day at training, to make sure that doesn't drift away from the guys.

"It's very basic stuff and you can do it with a 14-year-old or you can do it with a 25-year-old Test superstar.

"You've just got to make sure you're doing the basics, it's no different from playing golf, tennis or whatever else."

With both a World Cup and an Ashes tour on the horizon, time is against Starc to return to his best. He will likely have the two Tests against Sri Lanka in January and February to prepare, although Warne said he wouldn't pick him for the first Ashes Test.

"I've dropped Mitchell Starc," he said on Fox Cricket. "I think he is still the best bowler if he is fit and bowling well, but I don't think he has bowled well for a long period of time.

"The stats back that up against the top six batsmen he is averaging around 50."

But the last time a World Cup was on the horizon, McDermott said Starc worked overtime on his game, and the results spoke for themselves.

"I think going into that World Cup in 2015 and the 12 months that followed after that where he really hit his straps, he got his seam position correct and so forth," he said.

"He worked very hard on that during the period coming up to the World Cup.

"Just getting things right, getting his rhythm his right. His pace seems okay but he just doesn't seem to be able to swing the ball like he was before."

Starc took 22 wickets at 10.18 in the 2015 World Cup, before claiming 41 Test wickets at 24.65 in the 12 months that followed.

News Corp Australia

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