Aussie Pace Ace Mitchell Starc Dumped By Text Message
Bad form or good delivery?
Back in the day (we're talking 1971), Australian Test captain Bill Lawry was dumped as Australian Test captain, and indeed dumped from the team, in a move led by none other than Don Bradman.
How did he learn his fate? No one bothered to tell him. He found out when listening to the radio.
Times have changed. In sport these days, a player generally learns he's been demoted or dropped via a phone call or tap on the shoulder or something a little more personal from a coach or team boss.
That's why it was a surprise overnight to learn that Australian Test fast bowling spearhead Mitchell Starc was dumped by text.
Relax, cricket fans, he wasn't dumped from the Australian cricket set-up. The cold, impersonal SMS came from Starc's Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team, the improbably named Kolkata Knight Riders.
The IPL is the world's most glamorous Twenty20 tournament, on which our own Big Bash is based. It runs each April and May in the cricket window after the Aussie summer, and players earn obscene sums.
Last year, Starc was snapped up for $1.8 million in the annual IPL player auction, but played no part in the tournament due to a subsequent injury. The 28-year-old Sydney-born paceman is fully fit now, but the Knight Riders decided to release him from his contract.
Because impersonal is the new personal and 2018 is 1971.
And also because the IPL is a mercenary competition, where players routinely play for a different team each year, where it's all about the money, and nobody pretends otherwise.
"At the moment for me I just want to play as much Test and one-day cricket for Australia as I can," Starc said in Sydney yesterday.
"The IPL is a lovely bonus on the pay packet but if I miss that to play more Test matches, I'm taking that option."
So all in all, this is not the worst news for Australian cricket or for Starc himself.
Meanwhile there was further good news for the Starc family yesterday, with Mitchell's wife Alyssa Healy being named player-of-the-match for the second consecutive game in the World T20 after a dashing half century.