Mitchell Starc will miss the Blues’ next Sheffield Shield game after Cricket NSW confirmed his father Paul had died from cancer.
The Australian fast bowler pulled out of the clash with Victoria, beginning on Thursday at Bankstown Oval, as he mourns the loss of his dad, who passed away on Tuesday.
The tragic news comes after Starc pulled out of Australia’s bio-secure bubble during the T20 series against India in December because of a family illness.
“There is nothing in the world more important than family and in this case Mitch is no exception,” Australia coach Justin Langer said at the time.
“We will give Mitch all the time he needs and welcome him back into the squad with open arms whenever he feels the time is right for him and his family.”
Starc’s form was a talking point during the Test series against India, which the visitors won 2-1, as he looked to struggle for rhythm at times. The left-armer picked up 11 wickets in four Tests, but only managed three wickets in two matches with the series on the line in Sydney and Brisbane.
The 31-year-old returned to domestic action for NSW in a four-day game against Victoria at the SCG last week but the visiting batsmen took a liking to him as the hosts lost by four wickets.
Unable to extract much swing, he was expensive in the first innings, finishing with figures of 0/71 from 14 overs, and in the second dig picked up 1/33 from eight overs.
Starc’s form — and the Australian attack’s inability to bowl out India in the fourth innings in Sydney or Brisbane — sparked discussion about whether it was time to re-introduce a rotation policy for fast bowlers to ensure they remain fresh during long and arduous Test series.
“In hindsight, that’s possibly something that could have been done.” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said earlier this month.
“Prior to finalising any team, we check with medical people and even check with our players sometimes just to find out how they are doing.
“The games were pretty tight and close together, maybe we have to be a little more mindful of that going forward. However, in this instance, all the bowlers had recovered sufficiently for the medicos to give them the thumbs up.
“We considered those three fast bowlers, who had performed very well over a long period of time, were the best ones for the job. Once we’d checked to make sure they’d recovered sufficiently we thought it was the best attack.”
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