Pink-ball maestro Mitchell Starc has “got that look in his eye” as he prepares to unleash on India in the day-night Test.
Starc trained with Australia’s squad on Tuesday, marking his first session in camp since returning from compassionate leave.
The left-armer, who boasts a remarkable 42 wickets at 19.23 in day-night Tests, created all sorts of headaches for Matthew Wade and other teammates.
It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Starc, who struggled to produce his best in the ODI series, suffered a minor rib injury then left the Twenty20 squad because of a family illness.
But coach Justin Langer is certain the express paceman will be at his best on Thursday, when the four-Test series starts in Adelaide.
“He’s very, very determined,” Langer said.
“Often when you go through what he’s going through at the moment it gives you a bit of fire.
“He’s certainly got that look in his eye at the moment.
“A lot of people have written him off before but he keeps coming back.
“Keeps getting better and better and better. He’s world class … I certainly wouldn’t want to be facing him on Thursday.”
Langer described Starc’s recent injury as a rib “banging on his hip bone”.
“He’s hopefully coming through that well. He’s obviously had a tough time with personal circumstances and we wish his family the best,” he said.
“In terms of cricket spirits, he’s in really good spirits.”
Australia will train again on Wednesday but their quicks rarely bowl a day before a Test, meaning Starc may have a sole net session in Adelaide before the series starts.
Offspinner Nathan Lyon, who has been regularly chatting with his close friend in recent days, suggested Starc will be ready to fire.
“He bowled with the pink ball the other day at the Sydney nets … and said it was where he left off with the pink ball, so that’s exciting. We all know how good he is with the pink ball,” Lyon said.
“He’s pretty pumped.
“Mitch has played a lot of cricket already (this season)… I’m not worried about Mitch at all.”
Australia often have a day-night Shield round to prepare for a pink-ball Test.
This summer they have largely relied on centre-wicket sessions at Adelaide Oval, although some Test squad members took part in the drawn pink-ball tour game between India and Australia A that ended on Sunday.