7 March 2020

Mo Bro Mitch Starc talks all things cricket ahead of ICC T20 Women's Final

We sat down with Mitch Starc to chat about hot tips for the big dance and supporting our Mo Sistas to #FilltheMCG

Last Movember, thousands of Mo Sistas around Australia got behind the men in their lives to start conversations, raise money, raise awareness and save lives. As a proud local charity partner of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020, Movember is paying it back and supporting our Mo Sistas as they endeavour to #FilltheMCG and smash the world record for attendance at a women's sporting event.
With teams preparing to take to the pitch for the ICC T20 Women's World Cup Final, we sat down with cricketing legend and Mo Bro Mitch Starc to chat about his hot tips for big dance, how his wife - fellow Australian cricketer Alyssa Healy - beat him to a baggy green and if he can stand watching cricket when he's at home.  
How did you and Alyssa meet? 
We did meet through cricket. We were both wicketkeepers in the same team for a number of years. That's going back to when we were 9 and 10 years old. Then we crossed paths again playing for NSW, and I guess the rest is history, as they say.
What would you say is Alyssa’s proudest cricketing moment?
Geez, looking in her trophy cabinet, there's a fair few. I would say the West Indies T20 World Cup, where her form was probably the best she's had. She gloved them well, she scored a lot of runs and got the team off to such a good start, so I think she would have been really proud of that - and one that I'm sure she'll hold quite dear to her heart.
Who are the teams to watch this World Cup?
I think that's the beauty of T20 cricket, it's so hard to predict what's going to happen. But from seeing a fair bit of that tri-series in Australia, the three teams to watch would be the West Indies, who have won a T20 World Cup before, and can definitely win on the day. South Africa, who have just gone over to NZ and beaten them for the first time, and then Sri Lanka, who beat England in a warm up game by 10 wickets. 
Which players have the best banter?
Definitely my wife. Being behind the stumps, between her and Megan Schutt I think there's plenty of banter. You can't go past too many wicketkeepers for banter, especially the Australian wicketkeepers. At the moment, you've got Tim Paine and Alyssa Healy, they're both pests on and off the field, and will certainly try to find a few witty things to say.
Which teams have the best rivalry?
You can't put your finger on any one rivalry, but seeing it firsthand, I think the Australia-England rivalry will be out in full-force. They've just come off the Ashes, and tend to have some really good contests. Then there's the Trans-Tasman rivalry - they've also had some very close battles recently. India have also come such a long way in such a short space of time, and have pushed all the teams to the limit, including beating Australia and England throughout the tri-series.
Who would your money be on to take out the Cup?
It's hard to go past Australia in Australian conditions. The carrot's just dangling in front of all the teams to play in what is hopefully a very full MCG on March 8. So, I'd definitely be backing our girls to be there on final day and hopefully be lifting the trophy again.
Which women's players would you want on your team?
That's a good question. Alyssa goes about it really nicely, I'd trust her to get the team off to a good start. I think someone like Meg Lanning, who is pretty powerful and has got all the shots, is another player who steps up in big tournaments. Then you've got the bowlers - it would be hard to pick one or two, but if you're looking at runs you'd probably want someone like Ellyse to start the innings.
What do you think the biggest improvement has been in our women's side in 2019/20?
This year, they've really topped up the pace attack with Tayla Vlaeminck, who was threating throughout the tri-series, she bounced a lot of girls out. Then you've got Sophie Molineux and Jess Jonassen, who took a lot of important wickets as well. The whole batting line-up have gelled nicely to perform in all sorts of situations, whether that's rebuilding or getting off to a huge start. So it's a pretty formidable team at the moment.   
When you can get time together at home, do you watch/talk cricket, or is it off the table?
I don't even like to watch too much cricket at home. Alyssa loves watching it, so it's always on the TV, but I like to watch my golf or something else. We've definitely talked about it from time to time, but it's not a daily or weekly occurrence. A lot of the time we chat more about everything outside of cricket, and how the golf swing's going. 
What are Alyssa’s best qualities?
Her selflessness. You see a lot of that in her cricket, and sometimes it doesn't come off unfortunately, but when it does, it gives the team such a strong start. Definitely for me, seeing how hard she works off the field. Her work ethic is up there, but definitely I think her selflessness is her best quality, she's consistently putting the team first. She's also a great motivator and can really control the mood of the whole group out on the field. 
What do you do to manage the long distances and travel that come with the game? 
Yeah, it's getting harder. We don't cross paths that often anymore, it's like ships in the night. When we finish up the tour here in South Africa, the girls head over here a couple of days later, so it's almost a high-five on the way through and then see you in April. It's definitely not an easy one to manage. It's hard enough juggling one cricket schedule at the moment, let alone two. But I think our understanding of one another, how we're going - good or bad - and of the cricketing schedule does help.
How do you look out for each other through the busy cricketing season?
It's just about maximising the time that you do get at home or together. We sometimes joke that we've been married nearly four years, and have seen each other for about 18 months of that. Cricket's a special part of our lives, but understanding is key - making sure that you're there to give each other a kick up the backside or a pat on the back if you need. I think when we're retired we'll be sitting back on the golf course and just enjoying that time as well. 
In what ways would you say Alyssa inspires you?
Yeah she absolutely inspires me, and she’s played cricket for a long time. She started before me and I remember her Test debut and receiving her baggy green. I remember how much it meant to her, and dreaming of getting my own one day. Certainly the way she's gone about her cricket and continues to try and improve, and her love for the game, to see that first-hand, has been an inspiration for me.
Why should Aussies get behind the women’s final this March 8?
Experiencing a World Cup at home is incredibly special to all of the players and staff. But to come together at the MCG on International Women's Day - it's just meant to be, isn't it? Our women have probably been one of the most dominant Australian sports teams in the last - any number of years - so there's no better reason than that to come out and support your cricket team at home, and hopefully celebrate another World Cup win. 
Tickets start from just $5 for children and $20 for adults, and are available now for all matches at t20worldcup.com