Mitchell Starc has a warning for England as Australia begin their international summer with a mouth-watering three-match Test series against the world’s number one side at the Gabba in Brisbane overnight.
Yorkshire’s overseas star of 2012 is hoping to claim a place in Michael Clarke’s 11 as the Aussies look to climb to the top of the rankings and put themselves in fine fettle ahead of next summer’s Ashes battle.
“If we can knock South Africa over, it will put us in a good place ahead of the Ashes over in England next year,” said the left-arm quick. “Our Test side has been our most stable recently when comparing it to the other formats.
“We’ve worked really hard on getting our plans right and our execution of those too. You saw that last summer (English winter) when we knocked India over 4-0. Things seem to be falling into place really nicely.”
Australia will climb from third to first with any kind of series win over the Proteas.
That will signal a remarkable turnaround in their fortunes after they slipped down to fifth when England won the Ashes Down Under in 2010/11.
And Starc, 22, is one of the reasons why they are heading in the right direction again.
The Sydney-born player is one of a number of exciting young fast bowlers rising through the ranks and turning heads.
Yorkshire were given a taste of it at last month’s Champions League t20 in South Africa when they were hammered by a Sydney Sixers team including Starc, 19-year-old Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, 21.
Starc is battling it out for one of three pace bowling places in the line-up for the Gabba Test, starting at midnight UK time tonight, with Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson, and he cannot wait to get stuck in.
“It’s going to be a great contest,” he said, having warmed up by taking three wickets for New South Wales against Queensland last weekend in his first four-day match since playing for Yorkshire against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay in June.
“They’re obviously the number one team at the moment, and we always seem to have great contests against them.
“We’ll be able to get a gauge on where we sit against the best there is at this moment in time.”
There has been a lot of talk in recent months about Australia’s determination to not work their fast bowlers too hard, something which will no doubt have been reinforced when Cummins was ruled out for four months with a stress fracture of his back upon returning from the CLt20.
It would be no surprise to see coach Mickey Arthur rest Starc at some point during this series and the following one against Sri Lanka over the festive period.
“They’re quite big on rotation and monitoring of their fast bowlers, especially the young guys,” added Starc. “But Mickey’s always been very open and honest with all the players. So I’m sure we’ll know well in advance exactly where we sit in the plans.”