11:16am Tuesday 8th May 2012
By Graham Hardcastle
A visa problem is threatening Mitchell Starc’s Yorkshire debut against Gloucestershire at Bristol in the County Championship tomorrow.
White Rose director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon is hopeful the issue, which is thought to surround an incorrectly filled out application from Cricket Australia, will be cleared up today.
But if not Starc could be forced to make the return journey to and from Australia before debuting for his new county.
The Australian was questioned by the authorities for up to five hours upon arrival at Heathrow on Saturday.
Yorkshire, however, will definitely have Tim Bresnan available for his third Championship match of the summer after being cleared to play by the England management.
Bresnan is in need of more competitive cricket ahead of next week’s first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s.
“Mitchell’s had problems with his visa,” confirmed Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale. “Fingers crossed he will be available.
“He got detained on Saturday, but he’s here. We have until today to sort it out otherwise he’s going back. I don’t think Australia filled out a form correctly when he was out in the West Indies, and he spent four or five hours being questioned in the airport.
“If we can’t sort it out, we’ll have to drop him at Heathrow on the way down to Bristol.”
The Gloucestershire clash is due to be one of four Championship matches Starc plays in his initial five-week deal, although Gale, Moxon and first-team coach Jason Gillespie are confident his stay will be extended.
The left-arm quick, 22 and from New South Wales, could get called up by Australia for their one-day tour of the UK between June 21 and July 10, while Australia ‘A’ also tour these shores between July 27 and August 17.
Gillespie said: “If he gets called up for Australia, that takes priority. But we’re hopeful he’ll be here for the majority of the summer.”
Starc has taken 59 wickets in 22 first-class matches, including ten in four Test matches.
“He is an aggressive wicket-taking bowler,” assessed Gillespie. “He pitches it up and swings it. All those sorts of bowlers are pretty exciting.
“I was fortunate enough to travel to Zimbabwe last year as the bowling coach for the Aussie ‘A’ side, and Mitch was on that trip. He’s a young guy early in his career. Anyone who can swing the ball at 90-plus mph is a dangerous proposition.”
Starc has been named in a 12-man squad for tomorrow, which also includes Adam Lyth and wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root miss the trip to play for England Lions’ against West Indies at Northampton.
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