Shane Warne's pursuit of Mitchell Starc is bordering on obsession

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Mitchell Starc, pictured here in action at the T20 World Cup.
Shane Warne has once again called for Mitchell Starc to be dropped from the national side. Image: Getty

OPINION

Mitchell Starc might need to take out an AVO – Apprehended Vendetta Order - against Shane Warne before too much longer.

Warne's pursuit of the Australian fast bowler is bordering on obsession.

We no longer need to hear the sounds of cicadas to know summer has begun – Warnie's call to cull Starc from the national side now signals December 1 is with us.

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The leg-spinning great was at it again this week, demanding the left-arm paceman be left out of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba for Jhye Richardson.

Warne's reasoning is Starc is "just not bowling well enough", lacks rhythm and form and had a "poor World Cup".

Granted, Starc came in for some tap during the final as New Zealand went all-out blitzkrieg on him.

But it's also worth noting the New South Welshmen was one dropped catch – fellow quick Josh Hazlewood shelled Kane Richardson in the deep – from finishing with 10 wickets for the tournament.

Had he reached double figures, Starc would have finished sixth on the wicket-takers' list.

Not such a poor World Cup after all.

Warne can rifle through other stats to strengthen his case, like Starc averaging 70 runs per wicket to the top six last summer, but seems to conveniently overlook the 255 Test wickets that places the 31-year-old ninth on Australia's all-time list.

Or the stress Starc was under due to the not-so-pleasant experience of knowing his dad was dying.

Warne reminds me of a mate who is forever predicting the demise of relationships.

When I pointed out one couple he had long ago put a red pen through recently racked up their 20th anniversary, he replied: "Give it time."

Alyssa Healy and Mitchell Starc, pictured here at the 2020 Cricket Australia Awards.
Alyssa Healy and Mitchell Starc at the 2020 Cricket Australia Awards. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Mitchell Starc's inner circle ignore Shane Warne's criticism

Those inside Starc's inner circle – wife Alyssa, his wider family, manager Andrew Fraser and several state and national teammates – choose to ignore Warne's attacks rather than take him on.

There's a belief you can’t compete with the spin king's media megaphone and ego, commensurate with his status as the greatest slow bowler the world has seen.

The only currency Starc can deal in is wickets, but he's aware the outside noise will never fully stop no matter the pole count.

Warne goes out of his way to avoid Starc when their paths cross at cricket venues and the paceman has no interest in mediation, even in the unlikely circumstance it was offered.

Once Warne has it in for you, there is no turning back. Just ask Steve Waugh.

But the punters are not stupid.

They know an agenda when they see one – anyone remember Warnie calling for St Kilda's Michael Beer to be given a baggy green? - and are calling him out on it.

One fan wrote to Warne on Twitter: "People would be more inclined to listen to you if you didn't have a history of going after Starc relentlessly even when he's performing well."

Middle stump out of the ground.

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