MELBOURNE: Australia's senior bowlers must step up to help captain Tim Paine lead an inexperienced team during their next tour against Pakistan, pace spearhead Mitchell Starc has said.
Australia head to the United Arab Emirates for a Test series slated for October without two of their most experienced campaigners, with former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended after the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
Starc said senior players such as himself, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins should support Paine.
"It's obviously a younger team and there's some changing faces," Starc told local broadcaster Fox Sports on Monday. "I guess as someone who's been around for a bit longer than some of the other guys, along with Josh and probably Pat as well now ... (it's time) for us to step up a little bit in those senior ranks and maybe have a little bit more of a voice along with Painey there and help him along."
Paine led a depleted Australia team to a stinging 5-0 whitewash in a one-day international series away to England in June and promptly cast doubt on his future captaincy of the limited overs side.
Starc, who with fellow quicks Hazlewood and Cummins missed the tour with injuries, said he was on track to be fit for the UAE tour after months of rehab following a leg bone stress injury that has sidelined him since March. He was less certain about the recovery schedules of Hazlewood and Cummins, who were both sidelined with back injuries.
"They're a little bit behind me I think," said Starc, who slept rough on the Sydney Cricket Ground turf on Sunday night to raise money for a local charity that fights youth homelessness. "If all is going well with them they might start bowling this week ... I'm a little bit ahead. Hopefully all three of us are on the plane to the UAE."
The UAE tour will precede a four-test series against India on home soil starting in December, which will be followed by two tests against Sri Lanka.
"It's going to be a tough tour of the UAE but obviously an important one for a young and changing team," added Starc. "Hopefully we springboard off that and into the summer."