Wasim Akram primes Mitchell Starc for summer assault
November 10, 2012
A CHANCE meeting with left-arm legend Wasim Akram has Mitchell Starc primed to unleash a swing assault this summer.
Pakistan great Akram was famous for making the ball talk and after demolishing Australian stumps for a decade plus is now mentoring his former rivals’ best left-armer in Starc.
Starc revealed a random catch-up with Akram in South Africa during the Champions League T20 tournament last month quickly turned into a coaching session and helped him restore “whip” to his wrist action.
“I had a chance to talk to Wasim during the Champions League and he reminded me to be relaxed with my wrist and that”s how you get whip in your wrist action,” Starc said.
“He said I can’t be too rigid and mechanical in the wrist or I won’t get that whip.
“I’m constantly tweaking things, just little things with my action and tactically too.
“I never like to make massive changes but I’m always trying to improve my technique.”
Starc, 22, is one of four pacemen competing for three places for the first Test against South Africa at the Gabba this Friday.
His left-arm variety and in-swing to right handers should see him earn a berth in the Test team at some stage this season.
Akram, who was in South Africa as bowling coach for Kolkata Knight Riders, has tutored Starc previously.
“We first met at the SCG nets during the last cricket summer and he gave me great advice then,” he said.
“He’s a genius at what he did and he still has it too.
“He bowled a few in Sydney with a suit on and he still got the ball to swing.”
Akram captured 414 Test wickets at an excellent average of 23.6.
When he first coached Starc he raved about the New South Welshman’s potential.
“Any left-arm bowler who can bowl in-swing to right-handers with pace and height can be dangerous on any wicket in any conditions,” Akram said.
“He will only get better. He now just needs to learn outswing and he will be lethal.
“Swing is in the wrist. You have to flick the wrist. If your wrist is locked the ball will come into the right hander and if it is open it will go away.”
Starc grew up as a wicket keeper before the asset that made him so dangerous to batters – his 196cm frame – forced him to find a new role.
He promptly switched to fast bowling and made his Test debut for Australia at the Gabba in December last year.
He only snared two wickets in that Test but has since improved dramatically.