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Tips from the top as Wasim Akram mentors Mitchell Starc
When you seek advice, you may as well go to the very top.
So that is exactly what Yorkshire’s overseas star Mitchell Starc did earlier this year when he wanted someone to help him progress as a left-arm fast bowler.
Legendary Pakistani Wasim Akram is widely regarded as the best exponent of left-arm swing bowling the game has seen.
And when the opportunity arose for the now 22-year-old to chat to Wasim in Australia in early January, he took it with both hands.
Since then, left-arm quick Starc’s career has progressed at a rapid rate.
He has played Test match and one-day international cricket for his country as well as impressing for Yorkshire in all forms of the game, not least in the Friends Life t20 competition where he is the leading wicket-taker in the country with 18 from nine matches.
Earlier this week, the New South Welshman was picked in Australia’s squads for their one-day and Twenty20 series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in late August and early September.
The likelihood of him being on the plane to Sri Lanka for September’s World Twenty20 is now extremely high.
Starc will miss today’s LV= County Championship division two match against Derbyshire at Chesterfield, but will be back in Yorkshire colours for Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 clash with the same opponents at the same venue.
He will also play in next Wednesday’s t20 quarter-final against Worcestershire at Headingley and possibly the Championship match against Leicestershire at Grace Road, which starts a week on Friday.
And, according to Wasim, Starc’s spell with Yorkshire will have done wonders for his development.
“I had a word with him a few months ago in Australia,” said Wasim, who spent nine years playing for Lancashire.
“He is very promising. I think this county stint will do him good and he will be a much better bowler for it.
“My spell at Lancashire was very instrumental in my development as a bowler.
“I joined them in 1988 and was the best bowler in the world a year later. So it shows how much of a difference just playing one year in county cricket can make.”
Starc decided to play county cricket this summer instead of taking up a lucrative contract in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 event, a call which Wasim believes was the correct one.
“A lot of overseas players, especially when they are young, don’t realise how important county cricket is to their development,” he added.
“I understand them all wanting to go to the IPL, but players are remembered for what they do in Test cricket. To become a good Test cricketer you have to learn the game in four-day cricket.
“The Australian team are struggling at the moment, so Mitchell has a very good chance of breaking into it.”
Yorkshire will choose from a 12-man squad for today’s Championship match against division two leaders Derbyshire.
Yorkshire: Jaques (c), Root, Lyth, Ballance, Bairstow, McGrath, Pyrah, Rashid, Rafiq, Patterson, Harmison, Ashraf.