Australian cricketer Mitchell Starc bowls in a practice session.
Australian cricketer Mitchell Starc bowls in a practice session. Eranga Jayawardena

Starc warning as quick prepares for comeback

CRICKET: Mitchell Starc has given Australian captain Steve Smith a double boost, declaring himself on track to make the first Test of the summer and backing the skipper to turn things around after a couple of disastrous tours.

Starc, who received 30 stitches in a left leg wound after running into the metal base of a stump at training in late September, said he was ready for his comeback in Tuesday's Sheffield Shield opener, a day-night match between Queensland and New South Wales at the Gabba.

The 26-year-old was one of the only bright spots from the 3-0 Test series defeat in Sri Lanka before his injury.

He was forced to miss the five-match one-day international series in South Africa, which Australia lost 5-0, but said his leg was now on the mend.

"It's been wrapped up like an Eskimo for about five weeks but it's going well. I've been bowling and running so I'm ready to go for that first Test,” Starc said.

"I'm not restricted at the moment. The first session I had nearly two weeks ago it was a bit tight, it was just trying to stretch that skin a little bit. Since then it's been fine, I've been bowling off the long run.”

Starc said he was raring to go with the pink ball in Brisbane next week, and put a couple of Test teammates on notice before the Shield opener and his possible return to the Test side for the for the opening clash with South Africa in Perth starting on November 3.

"Hopefully I can hurry up a few more batsmen next week in Brisbane, obviously bowling to a few guys in the Test squad in Joey Burns and Usman Khawaja, so I'll be looking to make them jump around and hopefully knock Joe over with the new ball,” he said.

Smith has come under fire over the past few months, first after the Test series loss to Sri Lanka, then for his return home ahead of the ODI series on that tour before the whitewash against South Africa.

"He's been a great captain for us, it was obviously a tough series over in South Africa,” Starc said.

"It's done and dusted now, I think everyone's really excited for the start of the home summer.

"I think everyone will be a little more relaxed. The boys have been on the road for a very long time, there's a lot of time away from home.”

New-ball partner Josh Hazlewood was also rested for the South African ODI tour but Starc said he would be delighted to get back to leading the Australian attack with his long-time partner.

"I think we both enjoy bowling in partnerships together as we did in Sri Lanka,” Starc said.

"I think Joshy was great in that series, probably didn't get the rewards that he deserved but played a fantastic role and has done with the white ball and the red ball for a number of years.”

Hazelwood will lead the New South Wales attack in tomorrow's Matador Cup elimination final against Victoria at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.

Starc will not play but NSW will go in as favourite to make Sunday's final at North Sydney Oval against Queensland.

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