Report: Aussie Bowler Contemplates ODI Exit for Franchise Play

Mitchell Starc Contemplates ODI Exit to Pursue More Franchise Cricket

Starc’s Future in ODIs in Doubt

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc has hinted at the possibility of stepping away from One Day Internationals (ODIs) to embrace more opportunities in franchise cricket. This contemplation comes after his successful stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“The last nine years, I’ve prioritised Australian cricket. I have given myself a chance to give my body a break and spend some time away from cricket with my wife as well, so that’s certainly been where my head’s been for the last nine years,” Starc remarked during a press conference following the IPL 2024 final in Chennai. KKR triumphed over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), securing their third title with Starc playing a pivotal role.

A Potential Shift in Focus

Starc, reflecting on his career, admitted that he is closer to the end than the beginning. He suggested that dropping one format might be on the horizon, potentially creating more space for franchise commitments. “Moving forward… look, I am certainly closer to the end of my career than the start. One format may drop off. There is a long time before the next one-day World Cup and whether that format continues for me or not… it may open doors for more franchise cricket.”

This shift could see Starc dedicating more time to the IPL, a tournament he has largely avoided to prioritise international duties. Despite making his international debut in 2009, Starc has played only 137 T20 matches in his career, focusing instead on Test and ODI formats.

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Success with Kolkata Knight Riders

Starc’s performance in the IPL 2024 was noteworthy. Despite a rocky start, he found his form, particularly in the playoffs, leading KKR to victory. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season,” he stated. “It’s been great, it leads into the World Cup, that’s the other side of the benefit of being here against some amazing players in an amazing tournament. It’s a great lead-up to a World Cup.”

KKR had invested heavily in Starc, making him the most expensive IPL auction buy ever at INR 24.75 crore (approximately US$2,982,000). After initial struggles, he delivered impressive performances, including a three-wicket haul against Lucknow Super Giants and a four-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians. His standout contributions in the playoffs were crucial for KKR, with figures of 3 for 34 and 2 for 14 against SRH in Qualifier 1 and the final, respectively.

Looking Ahead

As Starc looks to the future, he remains enthusiastic about the prospect of continuing in the IPL. “Next year – I don’t know the schedule exactly – but I’ve enjoyed it, I look forward to being back next year and hopefully be seen in purple and gold [KKR’s colours] again.”

Reflecting on his journey, Starc acknowledged the challenges of adapting to T20 cricket. “I’ve played a lot of cricket, so I know how to manage myself,” he explained. “I haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket in the last few years, so for me, it was trying to find that rhythm of [the] T20 format, and trying to stay ahead of batters.”

Starc’s potential exit from ODIs could mark a significant shift in his career trajectory, opening up new avenues in the world of franchise cricket. Fans and analysts alike will be keenly watching to see how this decision unfolds in the coming months.

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