Mitchell Starc is not concerned over the possibility of India engineering a pitch that will suit their spinners in the World Cup final at Ahmedabad on Sunday despite Australia’s batters struggling against the turning ball in their semi-final thriller over South Africa.
India’s influence over pitch preparation has been making headlines again this week after the BCCI was accused of ordering the curator in Mumbai to switch to a used surface that would benefit the home team’s spinners before their semi-final victory over New Zealand.
Starc, who took three wickets and was part of the nail-biting run-chase at the end with captain Pat Cummins against the Proteas in Kolkata, was not fussed with potential issues with Sunday’s wicket.
“I guess we’ll find out when we get to Ahmedabad tomorrow and see if it’s a fresh wicket or an old wicket,” he said.
“From all reports I think the wicket we played on (in Kolkata) has been used a few times so no surprise that it did turn.
“Probably a little surprising that it did seam around a little bit. It was pretty inconsistent pace wise, I think average first inning scores here have been sort of around 300 mark or a little bit higher. Sometimes it’s nice to see ball dominate bat.”
Australia will be the underdogs against the undefeated host nation but Starc said the tourists would not be overawed by the daunting atmosphere of a stadium containing more than 100,000 Indian fans.
“It’s a big occasion, it’s a World Cup final. Certainly, guys in both changing rooms have been there before at different formats. Both teams played each other in the [World Test Championship] Final earlier in the year,” he said.
“It’s going to be loud. There’s going to be a lot of passion there. There’s going to be different amounts of pressure at different times on both teams.
“It’s why we play the game. We want to take on the best. They’ve been the best in the tournament so far and we both find ourselves in the finals. So that’s what World Cups are about.”
India flogged Australia in their first match of the tournament and Starc was adamant they were a much stronger side for the return bout after peeling off eight straight victories.
The win over the Proteas was a return to form for Starc.
After their bowling in the powerplay had been widely critiqued throughout the tournament, Josh Hazlewood and Starc set up the win with the ball early.
The pair had South Africa 4-31 after 13 overs, bowling genuine Test cricket lines and lengths.
Hazlewood was miserly, with his return of 2-12 from eight overs the most economical of any Australian in 17 years bowling that many overs.
He sent down three overs and 39 dots out of the 48 balls he bowled, getting the key wicket of Proteas star Quinton de Kock for three when the pressure told.
Starc’s 3-34 from 10 overs also marked his best figures of the World Cup after questions over his form, while Cummins’ 3-51 was crucial in the closing stages when he removed David Miller on 101.