Mitchell Starc will not forget his first day as an Australian Test cricketer yesterday, as he got his baggy green cap from legend Richie Benaud and took two New Zealand wickets at the Gabba.
The Black Caps needed an unbroken 80-run stand between former skipper Daniel Vettori and Dean Brownlie to rescue a shaky start and have their team 176-for-five at the end of an opening day cut short by rain.
Starc, the 21-year-old New South Wales left-armer, one of three Australians on their debut, claimed the scalps of dashing opener Brendon McCullum and hit-or-miss Jesse Ryder to have the Kiwis 96 for five shortly after lunch.
However, Starc, who along with James Pattinson is part of Australia’s most inexperienced pace attack for nearly three decades, stepped up to the challenge to finish his first day in Test cricket two-for-52 off 13 overs.
“It is a day I’ll never forget. Just to get that baggy green [cap] is a pretty proud moment for me and to get a couple of wickets as well is fantastic,” Starc said.
Starc, who took up bowling six years ago after starting as a fledgling wicketkeeper, was swooning to receive his first baggy green cap from former Test skipper and iconic broadcaster Benaud on the field before play started.
“It was a special moment for me and I won’t forget that moment for the rest of my life,” Starc said. “He [Benaud] just said a few things that over the last few years he’s been watching me and I actually sat on a plane on the way home with him after an ODI [one-day international] I played here last year. It wasn’t a big conversation [with Benaud], but a few little things were said there.”
In an age of in-your-face aggressive fast bowlers, Starc is an exception, saying he wants his performances to do his talking.