Sheffield Shield: Australia pacer Mitchell Starc pulls out of Sheffield Shield owing to family tragedy

Australia pacer Mitchell Starc pulls out of Sheffield Shield owing to family tragedy

Sheffield Shield: Australian pace star Micthell Starc has withdrawn from the Sheffield Shield after losing his father, Paul, who was battling cancer. Cricket New South Wales (NSW) confirmed the news on Thursday and said that the fast bowler would not be available for the match against Victoria at Bankstown Oval, beginning on February 25.

Nathan Lyon, his NSW teammate, said, “Obviously it’s very sad, sad news. All our thoughts and prayers are going out to Mitch and his family. It’s obviously never great losing someone like that. It’s a tough time but he knows he’s got all our love and all our support from not just me but everyone here at NSW cricket and the cricket community as well.”

Starc’s wife, Alyssa Healy, has also pulled out from the National Women’s Cricket League. Her team, NSW Breakers were slated to play Tasmania in Hobart on Thursday.

Starc also pulled out of the T20 series against India in December, leaving Australia’s bio-secure bubble after an illness in the family. “There is nothing in the world more important than family and in this case Mitch is no exception,” Australia coach Justin Langer told media then.

“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,” he said.

The pacer has not been in his top form in the last few series. Against India in the Test series, Starc struggled for his rhythm, scalping only 11 wickets in four matches. To get back to his top form, Starc returned to domestic cricket for NSW. In the first match, the left-arm pacer continued to struggle, going for 71 runs in the first innings without any wicket. In the second, Starc bagged a wicket in eight overs. Starc also opted out of the IPL 2021 auction.

Smith suffers injury

Former Australia skipper Steve Smith has also pulled out of the Sheffield Shield after complaining of an elbow problem. However, he expects to travel to Adelaide for the upcoming fixtures.

“I have had some pain in my elbow that’s gradually worsened since the Test against India at the SCG and it requires some rest and rehab,” Smith said. “I am hoping I will be right to travel with the Blues to Adelaide for our games down their next week but we will have to see how it responds to treatment.”