Renowned Australian cricketer and IPL 2024 commentary panelist, Steve Smith, recently offered a bold projection regarding the anticipated performance of fellow Australian teammate, Mitchell Starc, in the upcoming 17th edition of the tournament. Smith forecasted a remarkable tally of 30 wickets for Starc by the culmination of the league, expressing confidence in his ability to excel with the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Emphasizing Starc’s proficiency in both powerplay and death overs, Smith articulated expectations of ample opportunities for wicket-taking exploits throughout the tournament. The current record for the most wickets in a single edition of the Indian Premier League stands jointly held by Harshal Patel and Dwayne Bravo. Patel achieved this feat representing RCB in 2021, while Bravo accomplished the same for CSK during IPL 2013, each securing an impressive haul of 32 wickets in a single season.

Close on their heels is Kagiso Rabada, who notched 30 wickets in IPL 2020 while representing the Delhi Capitals. “I anticipate a substantial contribution from him. Given his role with the new ball and his proficiency in the death overs, I foresee him securing around 30 wickets,” remarked Smith during an interview with ESPN Cricinfo, responding to a rapid-fire session.

Starc, the recipient of a staggering bid of Rs 24.75 crore from KKR during the IPL 2024 auction, now holds the title of the costliest player in the history of the Indian Premier League. His return to the league after an eight-year hiatus marks a significant milestone in his career trajectory. Having previously plied his trade with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (now Royal Challengers Bengaluru) in IPL 2014 and IPL 2015, where he accumulated 34 wickets over two seasons, Starc’s association with KKR in 2018 was marred by injury, forcing his release from the squad.

Tasked with spearheading KKR’s bowling arsenal this season, Starc showcased promising form during warm-up matches for the Shreyas Iyer-led outfit. KKR is poised to kick off their campaign against the SunRisers Hyderabad in the season opener at the iconic Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on March 23rd, Saturday.