BY NOW, you’ve likely heard of Mitchell Starc’s “sexting” scandal, the outrage, the hilarity and the anger this has caused.
You’ve also probably heard of the leader he plays for – and his words that were spoken to his team of young players after the scandal.
“Unfortunately, there was some bad (conduct) on the field there and, on behalf of the Australian team, I need to go back to the starting point of what this team is about,” said Starc.
WATCH: Mitchell Starc opens up on Australian cricket team and Mitchell Marsh storming out of press conference
WATCH: The Team Talk Begins
WATCH: Mitchell Starc takes a big swing at Mitch Marsh for storming out of press conference
And then Australian cricket got some national attention.
In just two days – Australians have been treated to three stories in a day about one team. The Big Bash League. Mitchell Marsh storming out of the press conference. Mitchell Starc’s reaction. Mitchell Marsh’s response. Mitchell Marsh’s second reaction.
That’s what happens when a scandal rains down on a nation of only 25 million.
What is the responsibility of Australia’s Test captain Steve Smith to clean up the team? The Big Bash Network: Explosive!https://t.co/X4C4o7o9tx — The Big Bash Network (@TheBigbash) November 19, 2018
The questions are endless. The scrutiny is intense.
And cricket is about to begin its next Test series, against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
“The Australian cricket team will be there in the Middle East to play another series at home, the cricketing gods will be listening,” wrote cricket correspondent Rod Tucker on Monday.
Here’s where Mitchell Starc steps in. In just a few days, the 25-year-old’s words were already being quoted by Aussie media and printed in newspapers across the country.
And it all began with little more than a photo.
Starc’s first utterance in a press conference on Saturday was to the team.
“We know what we’re about. You know who we are,” he said.
“Let’s try and build that. You know, let’s not focus on all this other stuff that’s going on,” he added.
“This team believes in ourselves. We believe that we can, as a team, represent Australia well. To do that, we have to stay focused and stick together.”
Hundreds of thousands of Australians responded to a cricket social media hashtag – #captaincypolicy – in support of Starc.
Hours after the press conference, ESPN cricket commentator Ian Chappell called on Cricket Australia to make a dramatic decision.
“I wish to offer free tickets to all Australian children under 18 to watch Australia play in the four Test matches against Pakistan, which I have some serious reservations about.”
The Aussies have since rebuffed Chappell’s calls, and Monday local time – Australia day – the team was off on the flight to Abu Dhabi.
It’s a long tour to Pakistan. But it’s also a tour that could hopefully clear things up for Australians.
If you go, you can get a feel for the support for Mitchell Starc’s words in an Australian newspaper. Read the story here
By Julie Jones, with Phil Pierotti, FOX Sports Australia