As it stands, Starc is rated only 21st on the International Cricket Council’s one-day international bowler rankings, but that is largely because he has missed so much cricket in this format in recent times. Indian quick Jasprit Bumrah, Afghani spinner Rashid Khan, South African leggie Imran Tahir, South African quick Kagiso Rabada and Australian teammate Pat Cummins make up the top five.
However, it should not be forgotten Starc was the player of the tournament in Australia’s 2015 World Cup success.
He became the fastest man to 150 wickets in one-day internationals on his way to a match-winning haul against the West Indies at Trent Bridge, prompting Lyon to bestow a new nickname– the “Fastest Left-Armer Of All-Time”.
“He’s pretty determined not to get it out there, so if you guys could write ‘FLOAT’ out there, that’d be great,” Lyon said.
“He broke the record for the fastest wickets and he told me he was the only one who knew at the time. I wasn’t playing and I had to run off the field and had a bit of time to think about it. So that’s when Dave Beakley [Australian team physiotherapist] and I came up with it. Hopefully, it will stick.
“As soon as he took it, I was running the drinks and he said: ‘There you go, I took it’ and then I ran off. There’s footage of it.
“Nicknames are nicknames. At the end of the day, they’re pretty special to have especially in this set-up. Mitch is one of my best mates and to see him out there and perform the way he does, it’s his third five-for in World [Cups].”
That is a remarkable record, and one that shapes as only getting better before this tournament is done, beginning in Australia’s final pool clash, against South Africa in Manchester on Saturday.
Starc and Cummins came into this tournament with tremendous responsibility for it was felt the Australians were weakened by the absence of Jhye Richardson and Josh Hazlewood.
But the emergence of Jason Behrendorff, who has excelled with the new ball inside the opening 20 overs, and Lyon, who sat out the opening six games but has done well against England and New Zealand, has given the side greater striking power.
Behrendorff has provided extra pace and an ability to attack the stumps, meaning Cummins can come on at first change and even try and unsettle batsmen, if that is what is required.
Cummins, after two wicketless games, regained his mojo in the 86-run win over New Zealand, claiming 1-14 off six overs, and had his best knock with the bat (23 not out off 19 balls) in providing valuable lower-order runs.
“I think it’s worked very well for the last two games, obviously. But I think the fantastic thing about our 15 guys is we’ve got several guys that can open the bowling,” Starc said.
“We have got several guys that make up good combinations. We’ve had all 15 part take part so far in the tournament. Guys are ready to go if called upon.
“The guys that were picked today did another fantastic job and I don’t think we’ve quite played the perfect game, if you like, especially as a bowling group. But we’re finding ways to scrap and to restrict teams, and we keep improving every game.”
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.