Starc cuts short S Africa tour to watch wife Healy go for gold

POTCHEFSTROOM: Australia will be without fast bowler Mitchell Starc for Saturday’s final one-day international against South Africa after he was given permission to leave the tour to watch his wife Alyssa Healy compete in the women’s T20 World Cup final.

Healy will feature for Australia against India in the decider of the global T20 competition at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, and will be able to count on the support of Starc.

"It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Mitch to watch Alyssa in a home World Cup final and so we were happy to allow him to return home to support his wife and be part of a fantastic occasion," coach Justin Langer said in a statement from Cricket Australia on Friday.

"It is something we have been talking about for a while and, given Mitch has had a considerable workload in all three formats this summer, his heading home a couple of days ahead of the rest of the squad means he will have a chance to refresh ahead of our home and away one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand that will wrap up our season.

"We have plenty of fast bowling options with us here in South Africa with Josh Hazlewood, Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson all sitting out our previous match in Bloemfontein, and Mitch’s absence will offer one of them an opportunity to impress in Saturday’s match."

Most relieved, perhaps, will be home captain Quinton de Kock, who has been tormented by Starc on the tour as he bowled South Africa’s premier batsman in three of his five innings.

South Africa have already won the three-match series with a 2-0 lead going into the final match at Senwes Park.

Healy, who holds the record for the most runs in a Women's T20 International with 148 not out against Sri Lanka last October, will hope to help Australia win a sixth World Cup in their last seven attempts in the 20-over format.