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Champions Trophy: Mitchell Starc returns as Aussies put finishing touches on tournament preparations

Champions Trophy: Mitchell Starc returns as Aussies put finishing touches on tournament preparations

MITCHELL Starc will make his return to action at Edgbaston in Australia’s second Champions Trophy warm-up match, against Pakistan.

The left-arm quick has been sidelined since March after fracturing his foot in the second Test against India but said the time off has allowed him time to mentally refresh.

Australia haven’t won the Champions Trophy since 2009 and will open their tournament against New Zealand in Birmingham on Friday, after facing Pakistan on Monday (7.30pm EST).

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Starc, skipper Steve Smith and John Hastings sat out last Friday’s two-wicket warm-up win against Sri Lanka at The Oval but will return at Edgbaston.

“I’ve spent plenty of time up in Brisbane in the nets, but it will be nice to get out and bowl some overs in the middle,” Starc said.

“The last lay-off I had was about seven months, this one is about six weeks and even coming back to the nets it didn’t take long to get the rhythm back.

“I am pretty confident of going OK.”

Starc’s injury forced him to miss the IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore, but the 26-year-old spearhead said he’s enjoyed the time away from cricket and is now ready to lead the Australia attack.

“It’s been great get away and refresh mentally,” he said.

“I’ve got my body right, spent some time at the gym, spent time with the family and home with the wife.

“It’s great and I am ready to go for the tournament.”

Starc’s return means there is a genuine chance for him, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood to take the field together for the first time against the Black Caps on Friday.

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The prospect of the fearsome foursome playing together is one Australia has been relishing but injuries at different times have prevented it happening.

“We’ve come through the ranks together and played a lot against each other in the under-age ranks and in domestic cricket,” Starc said.

“But we haven’t been on the park together at the same time for Australia. It’s exciting as we are all of a similar age.

“It would be great to have the four of us picked, but even if there is only three of us playing you can have one of the sidelines that is ready to go.

“We’ve all performed well for Australia before and we all want to perform again.”

Online Source: news.com.au

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