Hobart, Australia: Dale Steyn? Morne Morkel? Well as far as George Bailey is concerned, right now Australia's Mitchell Starc is more feared than either of the South Africa quicks. Bailey, previously Australia's one-day captain, has largely been reduced to the role of a spectator at this World Cup, with his only appearance coming in the team's tournament opener against England before he was eased aside to let fit-again skipper Michael Clarke return to the team.
But he has been on hand while left-arm fast bowler Starc has taken 12 wickets at a miserly average of just over 10 apiece in four matches at the World Cup. Only the New Zealand pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee have taken more wickets (13 each) and they've both played one match more than Starc.
Meanwhile Morkel has 11 wickets for the tournament and Steyn, surprisingly for a bowler of his class, a mere eight so far. "I would say he's more feared," Bailey said Tuesday when asked if Starc was now in the same bracket as Steyn and Morkel.
"He's got some really specific skills at the death that very few guys in the world are able to produce. "That would be weighing on teams' minds," he added, with Starc's stunning six for 28 against New Zealand almost setting up an improbable victory before Australia lost by one wicket in Auckland. Bailey added that the 25-year-old Starc, together with the likes of fellow pacemen James Faulkner and Pat Cummins had the ability to staunch the flow of runs when sides were looking to 'launch' in the final 15 overs.
"Teams have basically been trying to get through to that batting power play, about the 35th over, with as many wickets in hand as they can, and then launch," he said. "As a bowling team the best way to negate that is to try and get a team five or six down by the time you get to that 35th over mark and it makes it really hard for the batting team to know when to launch."