Wicket takers ... Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle. Photo: Reuters
MITCHELL STARC will reject offers worth up to $500,000 to play in next year's Indian Premier League because he wants to be in peak condition for the Ashes. But Cricket Australia has not included the young fast bowler in discussions about resting him from the Boxing Day Test.
The plague of injuries to fast bowlers is pushing Cricket Australia towards a safety-first approach with the pacemen who are still standing and Starc is in line to be rotated out of the attack for one of the remaining two Tests against Sri Lanka.
The 22-year-old has played just two Tests in succession and is coming off a match-winning performance in Hobart. It is understood he expects to play at the MCG, but the decision could be taken out of his hands by CA's team performance unit, which tells selectors if bowlers are in the danger zone for injury.
Such a move would deliver a Test debut to Jackson Bird, but would be controversial given the athletic left-armer Starc is in such dangerous form. Australia lost momentum when Peter Siddle was rested for third Test against South Africa in Perth, and was thrashed in the match that re-confirmed South Africa as the No.1 team in the world.
Starc, who joined the Test squad in Melbourne on Saturday, will have a self-imposed rest after Australia tours India in the autumn, skipping the IPL to get his body right for the Ashes.
As a key member of the Sydney Sixers' Champions League-winning team and a dangerous Twenty20 bowler, he is in high demand.
But he believes his strategic decision to play for Yorkshire instead of heading to India during the last off-season is behind his durability, so will not nominate for the IPL auction until 2014.
Siddle, who alongside Starc bowled Australia to victory in Hobart, said players never liked being rested from Tests and expected his teammate to be eager to build on his breakthrough performance. ''He's had a big workload but he has some time to rest now, back at home,'' Siddle said.
Siddle was rested from the Perth Test after bowling his heart out in Adelaide, where he sent down 63.5 overs for the match in stifling conditions.
Siddle said bowlers still had ''plenty of say'' with the medical and support team when it came to discussing rotating the quicks, and on Saturday reiterated that the decision to sit out the Perth Test was the right one.
Captain Michael Clarke said he expected to recover from his hamstring strain in time to play in the second Test. ''I'm confident if all goes to plan I will be fine for Boxing Day,'' he said.