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Ashes: Cummins hints Starc could be promoted in the batting order

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Sydney, Jan 4 (IANS) Australian Test captain Pat Cummins has hinted that his pace bowling partner Mitchell Starc could be promoted in the batting order in the fourth Ashes Test beginning here on Wednesday, after averaging more than 50 with the bat.

Starc has done a turnaround from a below-average performance at the ICC T20 World Cup, and is now averaging more than 50 with the bat and less than 20 with the ball, which could earn him a batting order promotion at the SCG.

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Starc has scored 117 runs at an average of 58.50 in the Ashes campaign and has a better average than every England batter across the first three Tests. Add to it his 14 wickets at 19.64 apiece and it also makes him the leading wicket-taker in the series.

Starc is currently No. 5 in the ICC’s Test all-rounders’ rankings putting him even ahead of England’s Ben Stokes.

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Cummins, who has batted ahead of Starc in all but two of the 21 Tests they’ve played together since the previous home Ashes series in 2017/18, has admitted that he may need to re-think the batting order for the fourth Test beginning on January 5.

“I was actually going to speak to him (Starc) about that today,” Cummins was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au after the final training session on Tuesday ahead of the fourth Test.

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“I think he’s averaging 50-odd and he’s number seven in the runs scoring list for this series, he’s been fantastic. We always go a bit… one game I’ll be eight, and then he’ll be eight and we always seem that whoever bats nine scores runs. So we’ll see… I’m definitely open to that and we’ll chat about it.”

“Across their respective careers to this point, Cummins averages 13.62 at number eight (with two half-centuries and a highest score of 63), while Starc’s record in that position shows an average of 20.41 with three scores of 50-plus and a best of 84,” a cricket.com.au analysis said.

Over the course of the Ashes series, Starc has proved his critics, who wanted his omission from the series because of his below-par performance, wrong.

Australian great Shane Warne was vocal in calling for Starc’s exclusion from the Playing XI for the Brisbane Test, claiming that the left-arm pacer “needs to find a bit of rhythm and form” and suggesting his place be taken by Jhye Richardson.

–IANS

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