“Playing all three formats is now impossible”

Australia’s fast bowler Mitchell Starc has warned that it has become “impossible” to be a three-format international cricketer who plays every game, saying Test cricket is his priority.

The 32-year-old Starc has earned 236 caps for Australia in all three international formats. He is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest international one day bowlers in history and has also taken 287 wickets at 27.62 apiece in his 71 Test matches.

“I think it’s certainly impossible at this point to play every game as a three-format player, the way the schedule is,” Starc said, attacking the saturated schedule.

“I think we’ve seen in recent years that sometimes there are two Australian teams playing at the same time on different continents and in different formats. I think it is now impossible for someone to play every cricket match in a 12 month period, the way they are scheduling things. They see a break and put a series. Having those periods of time to rest could help me keep bowling at decent speeds for a period of time, I don’t think playing three formats is something I can do for a long period of time, moving on.

Starc admitted that he is sympathetic to the fans, who know that international match tickets no longer offer a guarantee of seeing the best players in action. In Australia’s win over England in the second ODI of the series on Saturday, which clinched the series with a game to spare before Tuesday’s final match in Melbourne, both captains Jos Buttler and Pat Cummins decided to rest.

“There’s a game every day, 100 percent, you can watch it on TV, too,” Starc said. “It’s not up to me to decide a schedule, but it is what it is. You come from a T20 World Cup to a one-day three-match series in five test matches.”

“There is a cricket game every day of the week. I can see both sides of it. How do you ask people to spend four or five hundred dollars in one day on cricket three days a week? I guess it’s a busy schedule for the players and the fans.”

But Starc insisted he is prioritizing Test cricket, in the run-up to next year’s Ashes series in England. During the 2021/22 Ashes series, Starc took 19 wickets at an average of 25.36 as Australia cruised to a. 4-0 win. He is set to be part of Australia’s attack on England next summer.

“The evidence is way above the cue ball,” he said. “I’ll decide on the rest as I go and where my body is and how I feel about it. Selection and form pending, I would very much like to continue playing Test Cricket for as long as I can.”

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