Sixers signing Starc warns about hub life

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

Mitchell Starc has declared hub life is not sustainable after signing up for a Big Bash League stint with the Sydney Sixers that he hopes will feature some form of freedom.

The expectation was that most Test stars would bypass this summer's BBL because of the risk of burnout after spending months in biosecurity bubbles.

Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood aren't returning to the Sixers, but the defending champions will have Starc and Nathan Lyon on their books in a major boost for their title defence and the star power of Australia's Twenty20 competition.

Starc, having sat out the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates that concludes on Wednesday morning (AEDT), will don the magenta for the first time since 2014-15.

Australia's recent decline in COVID-19 cases has given BBL organisers hope that teams won't be forced into a hard lockdown during the tournament, as was first feared.

Starc is likewise upbeat that Australia's Test squad will have some downtime and freedom throughout their four-match series against India, echoing Smith and Ellyse Perry's recent concerns about cricket's new normal.

"Hub life is definitely not sustainable," the left-armer told reporters.

"You're living in a hotel room with zero outside contact. Some guys haven't seen families or their kids for a long time.

"You don't have that freedom you're used to.

"We get to play cricket, we can't complain too much. But in terms of well-being of players, staff and officials ... how long can you stay in hubs for?

"For those guys who have been in the IPL and have to turn around and do another IPL at the end of next summer, they're earning their money."

Starc is thankful he can walk down the street in Adelaide for a coffee while hubbing for the Sheffield Shield.

It is a luxury that wife Alyssa Healy and other WBBL players in Sydney Olympic Park aren't able to enjoy.

"The girls are doing it the toughest at the moment. They're locked up in a hub," Starc said.

Every sport is grappling with a range of coronavirus issues, but cricket is arguably unique in that there is no true off-season during a jam-packed calendar.

Starc opted against a million-dollar IPL deal this year, yet has worked harder than fellow pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in recent weeks.

"I've only had 36 hours at home (since returning from a limited-overs tour of England)," he said.

"I had a chance to get home and take out all my Aussie kit, put in my NSW kit and come to Adelaide.

"Talking to Josh and Pat, I've bowled 72 overs in the last 15 days in Adelaide, and they've played three or four games between them with four overs each."