Starc content with rotation ... but Shield batsmen beware
IT was the one-two punch that floored Australia's hopes of putting the icing on the cake of their history-making Ashes tour.
Two decisions - both made inside a fateful period on the morning of the final Test - that arguably cost them a shot at a rare series win in England that was there for the taking.
There was the regrettable call at the toss to bowl first, but before that even, the agonising decision to leave Mitchell Starc out of the attack, having wrestled over whether to play him or Peter Siddle right up to the 11th hour.
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However, it would seem Starc's controversial omission from the last Test has irked Australian followers more than the man himself, after the left-arm destroyer let questions about his Ashes snubbing go like a wide delivery allowed calmly through to the keeper.
Starc admitted that Australia's newly enacted rotation policy comes with its risks, but that they only come clear with the benefit of hindsight.
Despite playing only one out of five Tests on the Ashes as one of the premier international bowlers in the world, Starc denies he has a point to prove to selectors when he returns to action for NSW on Thursday against Queensland at the Gabba.
"No. It's just another week," Starc said.
"Right from the start we knew it was a squad mentality and they were going to look at conditions for each Test match.
"The way they saw the make-up of the team, it was just for Manchester (that I was selected).
"It was an exciting Test series and exciting we had six fast bowlers at one time ready to go.
"Hopefully we're all fit for the summer and fighting for positions again."
It was later revealed that Siddle injured himself on day one of the fifth Test. But even before details of his setback emerged, many were stunned Starc was left out of the attack - particularly given the presence of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh in the XI.
Australia's ability to keep bowlers fresh and hungry through a tight and demanding campaign was no doubt a key element of their massive achievement in retaining the Ashes urn in England for the first time in almost two decades.
But the last Test showed that rest and rotation can go wrong.
Starc, however, defended selectors over their policy.
"Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I'm sure if you go back to many Test matches over the past few years you would change many decisions you make - whether it be shots played or balls bowled," said Starc.
"That's part of the selectors' job, trying to pick the right set up for conditions and the way guys are feeling. You can't be perfect every Test match.
"As much as players try to be perfect we make mistakes. Back in home conditions, we will see how we go for the summer."
Starc bowled strongly in the SCG nets on Tuesday, and was faced by David Warner.
The fast bowler believes Warner will relish being back in home conditions where he has long dominated, after his struggles on English wickets against Stuart Broad.
Starc wants to play as many of the four Shield matches as possible leading into the first Test at the Gabba against Pakistan later next month.
"I've had plenty of time in the nets in the past five months, so I am trying to get out in the middle as much as I can," he said.
"This week (against Queensland) is a great opportunity to get out in the middle and hopefully take some wickets. The World Cup seems a long time ago."