Shane Warne has cheekily taken credit for axed Test paceman Mitchell Starc’s blistering performance for the Sydney Sixers.
Warne clearly annoyed Starc when he described his body language as “soft” while commentating on the second Test at the Gabba and the paceman claimed at the weekend that Warne had been on his back for years.
Having vowed to fight his way back into the Test squad, Starc turned up the heat in the Sixers’ BBL loss to the Perth Scorchers at the SCG on Monday night.
After conceding 11 off his first over, Starc took 2-10 off his last three, consistently clocking close to, and occasionally over, 150 km/h.
He bowled Sam Whiteman and Ashton Agar in the same over, the latter with a trademark inswinging yorker.
Warne was watching and couldn’t resist a comment.
“Be nice if Starc bowled in a test match like he does with a white ball,” Warne tweeted.
“Awesome to watch & aggressive, my pleasure for firing u up.”
Sixers captain Moises Henriques wasn’t about to weigh in when asked if he thought Starc had been fired up by Warne’s comments.
“Mitchell is a very big boy and whatever is going on there is not really any of my business,” Henriques said.
Meanwhile, Henriques insisted he won’t be spooked into tinkering with his team’s balance, despite their calamitous batting collapse against the Scorchers.
The Sixers were well placed to make it four wins from as many games when Henriques and Riki Wessels were at the crease and the Sixers were 2-59 after 10 overs on Monday night, chasing a modest target of 136.
However, the Sixers lost 8-40 to be dismissed for just 99 and send most of a 24,000-plus crowd home disappointed.
Outside of Wessels (28) and Henriques (23) no Sixer scored more than 10.
Most of their hitting power is provided by their top four in openers Nic Maddinson and Michael Lumb, Wessels and Henriques.
One option is to bring in former Test top order batsman Ed Cowan, who despite his reputation for being an accumulator has a very respectable T20 strike rate of 126.35.
Henriques would prefer to maintain a strong bowling lineup that includes five Australian representatives in pacemen Starc, Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger, with fast medium support from Sean Abbott and himself and spin from Luke Doran.
Abbott, who is batting at No.7 has a reputation for hitting a long ball, though he only averages 11 and has a strike rate of 102 in domestic T20 competition.
Asked if he would re-evaluate the balance of the side, Henriques said: “Not really, we’ve got Sean Abbott batting seven, who I think is a very capable player.
“He didn’t get many runs (five) tonight, but in the next game he’ll come out and I’m sure he’s very capable of winning us a game with the bat.
“We’ve been able to win three games with the exact same batting order, so it’s nothing to stress over.”
Wessels followed up his half century on debut with an eye-catching cameo, highlighted by two enormous reverse sweeps for six.