Mitch Starc – Is He Really The “Tail Cleaner” ?

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I summed up the data I found into the Pie-Chart above. He has 85 Top order wickets, 82 middle-order wickets, and 77 tail-end wickets from a total of 244 wickets.

To put that into percentages,

  • 34.8% of his wickets are top-order wickets.
  • 33.6% of his wickets are middle-order wickets.
  • 31.6% of his wickets are tail-end wickets.


Mitch Starc most dismissed batsmen:

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 29: Mitchell Starc of Australia is centre of attention after bowling Lockie Ferguson of New Zealand during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and Australia at Lords on June 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

In the list of players, he’s most often dismissed, there is only one bowler.

  1. Dimuth Karunaratne, 8 times in 14 innings.
  2. Jonny Bairstow, 8 times in 19 innings.
  3. Murali Vijay, 6 times in 13 innings.
  4. Sir Alastair Cook, 6 times in 23 innings.
  5. Kusal Mendis, 5 times in 10 innings.
  6. Dinesh Chandimal, 5 times in 13 innings.
  7. Azhar Ali, 5 times in 16 innings.
  8. Asad Shafiq, 5 times in 16 innings.
  9. Joe Root, 5 times in 25 innings.
  10. Stuart Broad, 5 times in 25 innings.

Among all these players everyone is an established batsman except Stuart Broad. Then again Broad has often proved a tough nut to crack and he averages 20 in test cricket with one hundred and 12 fifties. His best being a daddy 169 against Pakistan.

Mitch Starc is also among the 32 players to take a wicket with the first ball of a test match.

Also read: Best current South African All-rounder?


Mitch Starc mode of dismissals

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 25: Mitchell Starc of Australia is congratulated by team mates Marcus Stoinis and David Warner after claiming the wicket of Eoin Morgan during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between England and Australia at Lords on June 25, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

He has a high rate of bowled dismissals which tells us, he’s quite often achieved swing at a high pace which the batsmen were unable to read.

To establish my point further, let’s look at his 5-fers :


Mitch Starc 6/154 vs South Africa at the WACA 2012

Mitch picked 6/154 in his first 5 wicket haul. This came against South Africa at the WACA, the list of batsmen dismissed includes:

  1. Graeme Smith
  2. Jacques Kallis
  3. Robin Peterson
  4. AB De Villiers
  5. Dale Steyn
  6. Morne Morkel

Among his six wickets, De Villiers, Smith and Kallis were established batsmen. Robin Peterson was a more than a capable all-rounder. His only Tail Wickets were Steyn and Morkel.


5/114 vs England at Sophia Gardens 2015

This five-wicket haul included the wickets of

  1. Ian Bell
  2. Joe Root
  3. Ben Stokes
  4. Moeen Ali
  5. James Anderson

Out of his five dismissals here, 4 were batsmen in the form of Joe Root, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, and Moeen Ali. Only one of his dismissals here was a tail-ender.


6/111 vs England at Trent Bridge 2015

Mitch picked 6 two tests later and his scalps this time around were:

  1. Adam Lyth
  2. Ian Bell
  3. Joe Root
  4. Mark Wood
  5. Jos Buttler
  6. Sir Alastair Cook

Among these 6, there are 5 proper batsmen in the form of Root, Lyth, Buttler, Sir Cook and Bell. Yet again, only one of his dismissals was a batsman from the tail.


11/94 vs Sri Lanka at the Galle Stadium in 2016

In 2016 Starc had match figures of 11/94 with a 5 and a 6 wicket haul. The batsmen dismissed were:

  1. Dimuth Karunaratne – Twice
  2. Kusal Mendis – Twice
  3. Kaushal Silva 
  4. Rangana Herath
  5. Lakshan Sandakan
  6. Dhananjaya De Silva
  7. Dilruwan Perera
  8. Vishwa Fernando
  9. Dinesh Chandimal

Among his 11 dismissals, 7 were batsmen, 2 bowlers who average close to 20 in Sri Lanka, and only two Tail-enders.


5/63 vs Sri Lanka at the SSC 2016

In this following Innings, Starc picked 5/63 and his scalps were:

  1. Kaushal Silva
  2. Dimuth Karunaratne
  3. Dinesh Chandimal
  4. Kusal Mendis 
  5. Suranga Lakmal.

Once again in this innings, he has 4 top-order wickets and only a single tail-end wicket in the form of Suranga Lakmal.


5/88 vs England at the Adelaide Oval 2017

In 2017, Starc picked 5/88 against England in the Ashes, his scalps were

  1. Mark Stoneman
  2. James Vince
  3. Craig Overton
  4. Stuart Broad
  5. Jonny Bairstow

Once again, we see a familiar pattern as to Starc getting 4 top-order wickets and one tail end wicket in Stuart Broad.



These statements are proof of the fact that Starc isn’t a tail cleaner. People have seen his ability to quickly clean up a tail and classified him as a tail cleaner while close to 70% of his dismissals are top-order batsmen. Hence I can definitely say, No, Starc doesn’t only take tail-end wickets. Instead, he is most prolific against Top-order batsmen.

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