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Mitchell Starc reveals spray from Australia coach that sparked unlikely Test streak

Starc admits some brutal advice has helped him become one of Australia's most durable fast bowlers.

Aussie cricket star Mitchell Starc says a brutal piece of advice from a former coach has helped him become one of the country's most durable fast bowlers. Starc is set to play in his seventh straight Test of the southern hemisphere summer, when Australia takes on New Zealand in the second and final Test of the trans-Tasman series in Christchurch.

Should all go to plan, the 34-year-old will overtake Dennis Lillee as the fourth-highest Test wicket-taker in Australian history. Starc (354 Test wickets) needs just two more scalps to move past the legendary fast bowler on Australia's all-time list - a feat he will be confident of achieving when the second Tests gets underway against the Kiwis on Friday.

Mitchell Starc says a brutal piece of advice from a former coach helped propel him on an incredible journey in Australian cricket. Pic: Getty
Mitchell Starc says a brutal piece of advice from a former coach helped propel him on an incredible journey in Australian cricket. Pic: Getty

It's a testament to Starc's longevity and durability, as much as his devastating bowling ability with both the new and old ball. But the 34-year-old - who has played 88 Tests, 121 ODIs and 60 T20Is - says that was not always the way and a brutal conversation with former Australia coach Tim Nielsen showed the quick how to manage his body from the various injuries and niggles that are commonplace with fast bowlers.

"I remember early doors - it would have been my first or second tour - I was still learning what all those pains were," Starc said before the second Test against New Zealand. "Obviously the reports get around from physios to coaches, and I sort of got told to harden the 'F' up a little bit.

"Timmy Nielsen probably made me aware of that early doors, there's plenty of times you need to be honest with the medical staff but other times you've got to know when to push through things." Starc admits the former Australia coach's tough approach helped the paceman understand his body better and shaped his journey to becoming one of the mainstays in Aussie cricket.

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"I was still learning how to bowl and what my body was telling me," Starc said. "I was still going through all those developing pains and what not, and my body adapting to things and it was like, 'your name's always down as you have this sore, that sore,' – there's good pain and bad pain. That probably pushed me a long way to working that out a bit quicker, and not having to say when everything was sore."

Mitchell Starc on cusp of Aussie cricket history

Starc has spent a big chunk of his career playing through pain and did so during Australia's ODI World Cup-winning campaign in India last year, having injured his shoulder during the Ashes series in England. He goes into second Test against the Kiwis starting on Friday having taken just the solitary wicket across both innings of Australia's 172-run victory. But the paceman admits surpassing Lillee by claiming at least two wickets in Christchurch would be pretty special.

Seen here, Mitchell Starc bowling for Australia in the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
Mitchell Starc is seen here bowling for Australia in the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington. Pic: Getty

"It's something to reflect on if I get that far," Starc said of Lillee's mark. "I've never really been about those numbers – it's cool, it's humbling, it means I'm old and I've played a little bit of cricket. But we love the Test wins, so that's front of mind first and foremost."

Australia looks set to go into the second Test unchanged after the crushing win at Wellington's Basin Reserve for the first Test, despite form concerns around batters Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. New Zealand on the other hand will be without Devon Conway (thumb) and Will O'Rourke (hamstring), with uncapped quick Ben Sears called up. A farewell outing for recently retired paceman Neil Wagner has already been ruled out.

with AAP

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