Former Australia fast-bowler Jason Gillespie has advocated for left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc to be brought back into the playing eleven for the second Ashes Test against England at Lord's, starting from June 28, citing the need to keep bowlers fresh in the hectic series.
Starc was in the playing eleven for Australia in winning the World Test Championship final over India at The Oval earlier this month. But the pacer was dropped in favour of Scott Boland for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, which Australia won by two wickets in a thrilling fashion.
"Traditionally, you wouldn't look to change a winning team but, because this is the most condensed Ashes series in history, of five Tests in under seven weeks, it's important to keep your bowlers as fresh as possible.
Yes, Starc can go for a few runs but if Australia were to employ similar fields to those they used on the opening day of this series, with three guys out on the fence, Starc will get protection and because he is a really attacking bowler -- he tends to pitch the ball a lot further up than Test rivals, to get it swinging and bring yorkers into play -- his team could benefit," wrote Gillespie in his column for Daily Mail on Sunday.
Gillespie felt Boland is likely to be the player who will make way for Starc in the playing eleven, pointing out that England went after the right-arm seamer at Edgbaston.
"And England’s approach to Scott Boland at Edgbaston might influence Australia’s thinking on second Test selection. It was a legitimate tactic that England looked to put Scott off his game, which is being disciplined, bowling line and length, bashing that same area on the pitch all day in a bid to hit the top of off-stump. They succeeded in hitting him off that by being ultra aggressive, scoring at more than six an over in the first innings and five in the second," he said.
"I know their philosophy is to play this aggressive Bazball-type cricket generally, but it seemed England went up another gear whenever Boland came on to bowl and the introduction of Starc in his place would give Australia the chance to fight fire with fire," he added.
Gillespie opined Starc and Josh Hazlewood, who is coming off a troubled injury run, can prove to be lethal in operating against England at Lord's.
"England are going to attack come what may, and when I assess bowlers, the first thing I want to know about them is their strike rates. Starc takes fewer than 50 deliveries to take a wicket; Hazlewood’s mark is higher at 57.
Hazlewood has a much better economy than Starc and so the effectiveness of the two balances out. Equally, the reason Australia captain Pat Cummins is so elite is because his strike rate is a tad lower than Starc’s and his economy matches that of Hazlewood," concluded Gillespie.