Michael Clarke says Shane Warne actually “really liked” Mitchell Starc, after the paceman revealed his sadness that he never got to officially bury the hatchet with the late cricket legend.
Starc is set to become just the fifth Australian fast bowler to take 300 Test wickets if he claims four more scalps in the three-match series against South Africa, which starts on Saturday.
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Warne repeatedly criticised Starc over the years, described Starcs’s body language on the field as “soft” in 2014 and said England opener Rory Burns just missed a straight delivery when Starc bowled him with an inswinger in the first ball of the Ashes last summer.
The spin legend said he would have been happy to catch up with Starc to clear the air, but they never got the opportunity after Warne died in March.
“The disappointing part, or the sad part, is that we never got to have that conversation,” Starc said.
“I guess we’ll never know (whether it was personal).
“I don’t know – I never got a phone call to take up that offer (of a beer). Hindsight is a wonderful thing.”
Speaking on Sky Sports Radio on Friday, Clarke said Warne was in fact a big fan of Starc.
“I can tell you now. Warnie liked Starcy,” the former Australian captain said.
“I’m going to reach out to Starcy because I don’t think Starcy realsies that Warnie actually loved him. Really liked him, thought he had so many good things about his game.”
Clarke added Warne’s criticism might have been a form of tough love in a bid to spur Starc on to greater heights.
“Warnie just marked him hard. That’s all,” Clarke said.
“And I tell you, Warnie actually believed at times that him being so hard on him got the best out of him. He thought he was saying it as well to help Starcy.
“I know he was hard on him. He did that with certain players, he’d pick them and wouldn’t let up and Starcy was probably one of those.
“But I spoke to him about it at the time and he did not have any personal issue with Starccy at all. (He) met him a few times and thought he was absolutely fine.”
Clarke added: “You can understand why Starcy had taken that personally as well, so I’m going to reach out to him today … honestly, he really liked him.”
Before his death, Warne told News Corp in an unpublished interview that he didn’t have any issue with Starc “whatsoever”.
“It’s nothing personal,” Warne said.
“I’m there to judge what I see … It devalues the public out there (if you don’t give) your opinion. It looks like you’re having favourites.
“Unfortunately, I’ve got an opinion and I think it’s important that us commentators, or people in the game, yourself (journalists) included, you’ve got to be honest with your opinions and some people aren’t going to like it, which is fine.
“But maybe they might respect it, or maybe it might even inspire them. Who knows?”
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