Australian head coach Darren Lehmann is of the opinion that if fast bowler Mitchell Starc can mange to stay fit, he can claim more then 300 test wickets and join the list of nations’s elite bowlers.
Starc who leads Australia’s pace attack post Mitchell Johnson’s retirement, already has 91 wickets to his name in 25 matches but successive foot injuries have dampened his cause.
Returning to international cricket after a long break owing to an ankle injury, the 26-year old had a successful outing in the tri-series against West Indies and South Africa and will next lead the Australian attack for the three test tour against Sri Lanka.
Glenn McGrath (563) has the most wickets amongst Austalian bowlers follwed by Dennis Lillee (355), Johnson (313) and Brett Lee (310), but Lehmann believes that Starc had all the qualities to join the prestigious club.
“If he stays on the park, he could,” Lehmann said in comments published by Fairfax Media on Tuesday.
“He plays all formats — that is the hardest part for him.
“Managing him through that is going to be our challenge as a coaching staff and selection panel, and (for) high-priority test tours, one-day tours, World Cups and all that … making sure he is fit and available for those.”
The left-arm pacer had taken 8 wickets in the Caribbean with an average of 21.37 from 5 matches. Prior to this, he had missed the World Twenty20 after sustaining a string of injuries.
“Happy he got through … He said he was a little bit rusty early but felt better as the tournament went on. It’s a good sign,” said Lehmann.
“For us it was a pretty good tick-the-box exercise where he got through and we’re looking forward to the next phase of test cricket.”
Australia star their schedule in Sri Lanka with a match at Pallekele from July 26 and Lehmann felt that it would be Starc’s reverse swing that could prove to be the turning point.
“He obviously has air speed, which is going to be important when the ball goes reverse. It’s important that we keep him fit and playing. We know how good he can be,” Lehmann said.
“It’s all up to him. His ability to knock over good batsmen and also knock over the tail quite quickly, for us, that is a really important thing when you are trying to get 20 wickets in a space of time.”