Exhausted Mitchell Starc forced to sit out fourth ODI

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Mitchell Starc
Mitch Starc played the first three matches of the Royal London series, finally getting a break before the Leeds match Reuters/Philip Brown

Australia is set to face England at Headingley on Friday for another day match, without star player Mitchell Starc. Coach Darren Lehmann faced the challenging decision of losing the left-after after concerns were raised on Starc’s blindingly packed season so far.

The five match Royal London series between Australia and England is currently in the former’s favour with wins in the first two matches. Though England bounced back during the third match at Manchester, the forthcoming ODI at Leeds would prove to be a decider for both teams. In such a scenario, the absence of Mitch Starc’s pace is bound to create ripples in the Australian bowling side.

Initially it was decided to send Starc home earlier from the series but a disastrous hamstring injury of Nathan Coulter-Nile restrained them. The present decision to sit Starc out of the current match comes as a potential backlash for the Aussies, but is inevitable looking at the continuous matches the all-rounder has played this season.

Steve Smith, captain of the current team, also shares a similar burden of matches but hasn’t caught a relief yet. Out of a total 26 international matches played by the team, Smith and Starc have not missed a single match – be it the eight Tests, a single T20 or the 17 ODIs.

The team has seen two other injuries this series, with David Warner injuring his thumb and Shane Watson sporting an injured calf. Starc, though physically fit, had been under speculation of joining their list if exerted any further.

With Starc being the only player still standing from the Ashes series, it comes as no surprise that Coach Lehmann endorses a break to his schedule.

“You want to try and play the best brand of cricket you can try and win games,” Lehmann agreed. “but scheduling is always tough.”

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