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Yorkshire loan ace Mitchell Starc picks brains of legend Wasim Akram
When you seek advice, you may as well go to the very top – so that is exactly what Yorkshire’s overseas star Mitchell Starc did when he wanted someone to help him progress as a left-arm fast bowler.
Pakistan legend Wasim Akram is widely regarded as the best exponent of left-arm swing bowling the game has seen.
And when the opportunity arose for the now 22-year-old Starc to chat to Akram in Australia in early January, he took it with both hands.
Since then, Starc’s career has progressed seamlessly. He has played Test match and one-day international cricket as well as impressing for Yorkshire, not least in the Friends Life t20.
He is the country’s leading wicket-taker in that competition with 18 from nine matches.
Earlier this week, the New South Welshman was picked by Australia for their one-day and Twenty20 series against Pakistan in late August and early September, paving the way for him to play in the World Twenty20 tournament in September.
Starc misses tomorrow’s LV= County Championship match for Yorkshire against Division Two leaders Derbyshire at Chesterfield but will be back for their Clydesdale Bank 40 clash on Sunday.
He will also play in next Wednesday’s t20 quarter-final against Worcestershire at Headingley and possibly the Championship fixture against Leicestershire at Grace Road (July 27-30).
And according to Akram, Starc’s spell with Yorkshire will have done him the world of good.
“I had a word with him a few months ago in Australia,” said Akram, who spent nine years at Lancashire.
“He is very promising. I think this county stint will do him good and he will be a much better bowler for it.
“My spell at Lancashire was very instrumental in my development. I joined them in 1988 and was the best bowler in the world a year later.
“It shows how much of a difference just playing one year in county cricket can make.”
Starc chose county cricket this summer instead of the Indian Premier League, a call which Akram endorses.
“A lot of overseas players, especially when they are young, don’t realise how important county cricket is to their development,” he said.
“I understand them wanting to go to the IPL but players are remembered for what they do in Test cricket. To become a good Test cricketer you have to learn the game in four-day cricket.”
Yorkshire will choose from a 12-man squad today: Jaques, Root, Lyth, Ballance, Bairstow, McGrath, Pyrah, Rashid, Rafiq, Patterson, Harmison, Ashraf.