Left is right in CL T20 lane

Bollinger, Starc lead the way for CSK and NSW

Doug Bollinger

Royal Challengers Bangalore have Dirk Nannes, Chennai Super Kings boast Doug Bollinger and New South Wales possess the exciting Mitchell Starc, all Australian left-arm pacemen so very different from each other.

Michael Bates was a revelation for Auckland during the qualifying phase, RCB’s S Arvind hasn’t done too badly – though, like Nannes, he had a poor outing against the Kolkata Knight Riders – while James Franklin (Mumbai Indians) and Jaidev Unadkat (KKR) too have paraded their wares with varying degrees of success. Not to forget the South African pair of Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe in the Warriors’ squad, or Gary Putland of South Australian Redbacks.

It’s inevitable, especially when there are so many left-arm pacemen from Australia around, that comparisons will be made. That’s a cross the young Starc has had to bear for a couple of years now, being compared to the more established Mitchell Johnson.

The 21-year-old, who made his international debut last year in India, denied that he had modelled his action on anyone. “No, I haven't modelled myself on Mitch. I get that a lot lately, the past couple of years I've been compared with him,” he said here on Friday, not quite irritated but obviously not thrilled either.

“I’ve spoken a fair bit to Mitch and have had the opportunity to play with him as well during the tour of India last year,” he went on. “And to have been able to bowl in India with him was a big plus for me.”

Starc missed out on a place in the one-day squad to South Africa, that slot going to NSW team-mate Pat Cummins. “I’m not too disappointed, I didn’t really expect a call-up,” he admitted. “It's good news for Pat especially. I’ve only just returned to cricket after eight months off due to injury. I am only 21, so there's a lot of time and hopefully I can fight my way back into the side.”

On Tuesday at the MA Chidambaram stadium here, Starc will go head to head with Bollinger, also from New South Wales but playing for defending champions Super Kings. “Yeah, we've had some interactions,” Starc revealed. “He’s staying over here but he’s playing for Chennai in this tournament, so we’re ready to go against him.”

As is Bollinger, against his regular team-mates. “It’ll be interesting to play against them,” Bollinger laughed. “They are a good side; any information I give Chennai will be good information! But we're just going to worry about our game.”

While Starc is still to find his feet, late bloomer Bollinger is busy making up for lost time. At 30, he is close to the peak of his powers; his international debut came only two and a half years back and since then, in 12 Tests he has 50 wickets while 36 one-dayers have brought him 59 sticks.

While Bollinger possesses a wicked competitive streak, he is also quite the prankster, often by design as he tries to keep the group going — Mike Hussey has called him the ‘funniest man’ in the Australian squad. “I like to have a good time and I'll be happy if everyone around me has one too,” he offered. “There are a couple of guys (in the CSK team) that can raise a laugh. Murali Vijay is pretty funny. You say something, it comes out wrong, people laugh…”

Not the opposition. Not when ‘Doug the rug’ is busy working them over, that’s for sure.

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