Australia skipper Finch backs Starc to rebound after torrid start

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - First One Day International - Australia v India - Sidney Cricket Ground, Sidney, Australia - November 27, 2020. Australia's Aaron Finch in action. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia captain Aaron Finch has backed under-fire paceman Mitchell Starc to rebound after the left-armer was feasted upon by India’s batsmen in the first two matches of the one-day series.

Australia sealed the series 2-0 with their 51-run victory in Sydney on Sunday but Starc’s struggles have raised concerns leading into the four-test series starting on Dec. 17 in Adelaide.

Starc finished with figures of 0-82 from nine overs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, two days after recording 1-65 in the opener at the same ground where he conceded 20 runs in his first over.

Finch said there would be discussions about how to deploy Starc ahead of Wednesday’s dead rubber in Canberra but he was unfazed by the 30-year-old’s form.

“I think he’s going OK,” the limited overs skipper told reporters on Tuesday.

“He hasn’t been at his very best and you have to understand that his standards are a lot higher than what you expect from most other people because of how dominant he’s been the last eight, nine years — especially in the white-ball formats.

“There will be some conversations had today about what we can do slightly different, whether it’s a tactical thing, when we’re using him through the innings.

“But there’s definitely no panic stations from my point of view.”

Finch said losing opening partner David Warner to a groin injury was a blow for Australia, and a replacement had yet to be determined.

Matthew Wade, unused so far, could be brought in, he said, but selectors might opt to promote wicketkeeper Alex Carey or Marnus Labuschagne, who batted at four in the second ODI, depending on the pitch.

“He’s an all-time great in one-day, T20 cricket,” Finch said of Warner. “Any team that he’s not a part of is going to be slightly weaker.

“But we’ve got guys that can step up and really contribute in that role as well.”

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