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Starc eyeing 'special' Boxing Day debut

AAP logoAAP 23/12/2016 Michael Ramsey

Matt Renshaw might be the youngest player in the Australian side but he won't be the only one savouring his first Boxing Day Test.

Australia's XI at the MCG is likely to include four Boxing Day debutants, with the list surprisingly headlined by Mitchell Starc.

The pace spearhead has played in 32 Tests since his debut in 2011 but none of them have been in Melbourne.

Starc was injured for the home Ashes tour in 2013, dropped for the Boxing Day Test against India in 2014 and injured again for the 2015 fixture.

But it was then-coach Mickey Arthur's decision to rest him against Sri Lanka on Boxing Day in 2012 - having taken five match-winning wickets in the previous Test in Hobart - that really stung.

And it explains why Starc is keen to shut down any talk of being rested again, despite he and Josh Hazlewood each being forced to bowl a total of 56 overs against a stubborn Pakistan in last week's Brisbane Test.

"It's happened before. He's in the other camp now, I think," Starc joked, referring to Arthur's role as coach of Pakistan.

"There's a few of us sitting in the room that are yet to play one.

"Personally, as a kid growing up watching the Boxing Day Test, it's always been a dream of mine to play in front of a full house at the MCG on Boxing Day.

"If I get the chance this week, I'll tick that one off and it'll be a fantastic experience to walk out, sing that anthem and play a Boxing Day Test. It'd be pretty special."

Starc is almost certain to be joined by Renshaw and fellow newcomer Peter Handscomb as Australia look to take a 2-0 series lead over Pakistan.

Aged 20, Renshaw has only ever been to the MCG once - as a spectator at the Ashes Boxing Day Test in 2013.

Struggling middle-order batsman Nic Maddinson's chances of a maiden Boxing Day Test are less certain, with uncapped allrounder Hilton Cartwright a strong chance to take his place.

Selectors could also spring a surprise Test debut on Chadd Sayers but with Starc, Hazlewood and Jackson Bird all healthy and performing well, his chances of being selected are slim.

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