Mitchell Starc dismissed fears the intense Indian heat might have drained him during his IPL-winning exploits, with the Australian declaring on Monday he was fit and ready for the T20 World Cup.
The 34-year-old left-arm pace spearhead lived up to his record $2.98mn price tag with an opening burst of 2-14 to set up a third title triumph for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
At the end of the two-month tournament, largely played in relentless heatwave conditions, player-of-the-match Starc helped dismiss Hyderabad for 113 as Kolkata cruised to their target with 9.3 overs to spare in Chennai.
“My body is fine,” Starc, who took 17 wickets in 13 matches, told reporters in a post-midnight news conference at the end of extended Kolkata team celebrations.
“I’ve played enough cricket to manage that sort of thing. T20 is not as demanding as Test cricket. It’s been warm, it’s been humid, so that plays a part, but that’s fine,” he said.
The T20 World Cup begins in the United States and the West Indies on Saturday, June 1, with Australia’s first match against Oman on June 6.
“It will be cooler in the West Indies than it has been over here,” said Starc, who was also player of the match against the same opponents Hyderabad in the 44 Celsius heat of Ahmedabad last week.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed this season, it’s been great,” he said. “It leads into a World Cup, so that’s the other side of the benefit of being here, against some amazing players in an amazing tournament. I look forward to being back next year.”
Starc was less certain about playing in the next 50-over World Cup in 2027. “Moving forward, I am certainly closer to the end of my career than start, so one format may drop off,” Starc admitted.
“It is a long time before the one-day World Cup,” he said, and was unsure “whether that format continues for me or not”.
He also hinted that he might like to play more T20 leagues around the world. Over the last nine years, Starc said he had “prioritised Australian cricket”.
He was looking forward, after the World Cup, to taking “time off, give my body a break and spend some time away from cricket with my wife.”
Starc has taken 668 wickets in all three international formats after representing Australia in 89 Tests, 121 one-day internationals and 60 Twenty20 internationals.
Starc does not expect batsmen to dominate in the World Cup.
“I don’t see 270 (being scored) in the World Cup, just purely because you are one less batter without an impact player rule,” said Starc.
“Time will tell. Batters have been brave in the powerplay, they’re striking the ball well. The wickets may not be the same in the West Indies, they may turn. Hopefully, the bowlers come into play a bit more than they have been through the IPL, but I am sure it will be an exciting World Cup.”