Starc gets back into T20 groove ahead of World Cup

Starc: 'Taken me longer than I would've liked to get back into rhythm' (0:54)

The KKR left-arm quick picked up a match-winning three-for against LSG on Sunday (0:54)

Until Sunday evening, Mitchell Starc had only two wickets across four IPL matches this season, while averaging 77 with an economy rate of 11. That after he became the most expensive player ever in the IPL, in the last auction, with a salary of INR 24.75 crore. But Starc turned his form around with 3 for 28 against Lucknow Super Giants at Eden Gardens, as Kolkata Knight Riders eventually dominated the chase of 162 for an eight-wicket win.

"I don't read anything, so that doesn't bother me," he said after the match about the expectations and the noise around him.

Starc returned to the IPL this year for the first time since 2015, and since the T20 World Cup in 2022, he had played just two T20s in one-and-a-half years before coming to India for the ongoing tournament. Starc admitted that he was still getting used to the "tactical side" of the shortest format.

"It's T20 cricket; for the guys who have played a lot of Test cricket, this is definitely a lot easier physically," he said. "It's more [about] getting used to the tactical side of it. I haven't played a lot of T20 cricket in the last couple of years, so it has probably taken me a little bit longer than I would have liked to get back into the rhythm of things and make a better impact. So today was nice in that regard."

Against LSG, Starc bowled three overs in the powerplay, and conceded 23 as he was hit for four fours. But that spell also included eight dots and the wicket of Deepak Hooda. When brought back to bowl the last over, Starc gave away just six runs, and struck twice. On the first ball he had Nicholas Pooran, LSG's best batter this season, for 45. And on the last ball, he swung one back into Arshad Khan and cleaned him up.

The next T20 World Cup begins just six days after the IPL ends on May 26 in Chennai. As every team plays 14 league matches while travelling around the country in the IPL, Starc said games coming in thick and fast is "a feature of T20 cricket", and he can look after his workload even with the World Cup looming.

"I'm 34, so I'm pretty good with my workloads", he said. "I've been doing this [for] a long time. We play again on Tuesday, and I think that's a feature of T20 cricket. Whether you have a good day or a bad day, games come around so quickly that you can't really think about what's been; you quickly focus on the next game."