Starc broke the record for an Australian cricketer when he was purchased for $4.42 million at the Indian Premier League auction on T2024 Tuesday night after the Kolkata Knight Riders won a three-way bidding war for his services in 2024 when he will return to the Twenty20 tournament for the first time in a decade.
Australian captain Pat Cummins looked to have the record for himself earlier in the night when he was bought for $3.67 million, and Starc says both fast bowlers have since found themselves at Green’s mercy in the lead-up to the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at the MCG.
Green sold for $3.15 million last year.
“It’s probably somewhat fair … the bowlers have been giving Greeny stick for the past 12 months for his IPL stuff, and he didn’t miss a chance yesterday or today,” Starc said on Sunday. “So it’s probably fair he gives his own back now.”
When asked if Green’s taunts were witty, Starc playfully said: “Not really.”
Starc’s wife, Australian women’s captain Alyssa Healy, was watching the auction from India where her side was preparing for a Test match, and was sending updates on the bidding war through to him, as was Australian assistant coach Dan Vettori – also coach of Kolkata.
“I didn’t plan on watching it, but the storms blew up in Sydney, so I couldn’t take the dogs for a walk like I had planned to,” Starc said. “I tried to ignore the phone and just watch it. It’s very interesting how the auction’s play out, and timing comes into it, and when your name comes out but, yeah, it was a pleasant surprise.”
A gap in the Test schedule between the New Zealand series finishing in March and next Australian summer, plus the impending Twenty World Cup later next year made it attractive for Starc to head back to the IPL rather than “bowl in the nets for a couple of months”.
“I’ve always prioritised Test cricket and international cricket, and it’s hard enough juggling one schedule, let alone when there are two schedules [wife Alyssa’s career] in the relationship,” Starc said. “I’ve always spent that time away from cricket with Alyssa or with family and recharging my body for being as fit and ready for Australian cricket. I don’t regret it. I think it has helped my Test cricket. As I’ve said before, the money is certainty nice, and it is this year, but I’ve always prioritised international cricket and I think it has helped my game. Red-ball cricket is still top of the tree for me, my body will probably let me know about Test cricket [being over for me] before I want it to. It’s a nice lead into the T20 World Cup next year with the IPL and quality of cricket that tournament presents.”
Starc’s focus is on the Test summer, and he welcomed a more lively MCG wicket after concerns a few years back that it had become too tame and favoured batters too much.
Victoria and Queensland played on a spicy MCG pitch a month ago, but Victorian quick Scott Boland – who is expected to miss out on selection for Boxing Day – looked over the pitch on Saturday and reported back to his fellow bowlers.
“Scott thinks there is a little less grass than their Shield games. We will see how it plays like on day one,” Starc said. “It’s much more friendly to us guys [bowlers] the last few years, we certainly went through years where it was near on impossible to get a wicket unless the batter made a mistake. You are after that even contest between bat and ball, and that should mean it is good cricket to watch.”
He added he didn’t have any view on whether he would want to bat or bowl if Australia won the toss.
Starc has his sights on winning Test matches this summer, as he and his teammates prepare for what could be a wet start to the Boxing Day Test on Tuesday. So, he says he won’t be thinking about his IPL riches until that tournament kicks off in India.
“The auction has happened, but it’s not April, so I’ve got five or six Test matches to focus on,” Starc said. “The Boxing Day Test is special, we follow, for the Sydney-based guys, with a home Test as well. For me, it’s another chance to play a Boxing Day Test, perform well and another chance to win a series.”