Adelaide, Nov 5 (SocialNews.XYZ) Several leading cricketers from across around the world have reacted to Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc being left out of the playing XI in the most crucial Super 12 Group 1 game of the ICC T20 World Cup against Afghanistan on Friday, with England quick Stuart Broad expressing shock on social media.
Kane Richardson was brought in to play his first game of the tournament and he ended up conceding 48 off his four overs. Defending champions Australia were looking to win by a big margin in order to leapfrog England on net run rate (NRR), but, while they defeated Afghanistan by just four runs in a thriller at the Adelaide Oval, the win didn't do their NRR any good.
England now just need a victory against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground later on Saturday and Australia will be eliminated because of their NRR being in the negative. New Zealand have already qualified from the group, and if England win, they will be other team to qualify. But if England lose on Saturday, Australia will make the grade.
What has surprised the experts is that Starc wasn't injured. Australia made three changes to their eleven, with Aaron Finch and Tim David not recovering in time from their respective hamstring injuries and Starc being axed.
The experts are not quite sure what Australia assistant coach Dan Vettori meant when he said bringing in Richardson was a tactical decision.
"It was a tactical decision (to leave out Starc)," Vettori said post-game. "We brought in Kane (Richardson) to play the role he executed tonight (Friday) at the back-end of the powerplay, looking at the death overs where Kane has been exceptional in the past. Richardson conceded 16 runs off his only death over.
"We were looking to use Josh Hazlewood at the start and implement a plan around him and Pat (Cummins) being effective with the new ball and pushed Mitch (Marsh) into a role where he's competing with Kane Richardson, especially at the death where everyone thought Kane (Richardson) excels," explained Vettori.
Starc is one of Australia's top bowlers in the shorter formats with a strike rate of 18.0 compared to Richardson's 33.6, which could have come in handy in decimating lowly-ranked Afghanistan and give a boost to the NRR.
"Please tell me Starc is injured. He's a beat in this format, wicket taker, game changer. Must win game? You want them," questioned England quick Stuart Broad on Twitter.
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke was quoted as saying by sen.com.au that he was nonplussed by the decision.
"(Starc) has got to be injured. There's absolutely no way you can leave him out. If anyone's going to rip through Afghanistan's batting, it's Mitchell Starc. I don't get it," said Clarke.
Australian great Mark Waugh tweeted, "Starc should be playing. He is an aggressive wicket-taking bowler who could easily rip through Afghanistan. Richardson more of a holding type bowler."