Ruturaj Gaikwad batted long, scored a fifty but couldn't really switch, Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans, IPL 2022, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, May 15, 2022

As the run-up to Australia’s opening test of the summer threatens to spiral into bloodshed, Mitchell Starc made a striking appearance for the media just meters from ‘Langer’s Loft’ – once a members-only bar but now a thorn in the side amidst a redevelopment at the WACA.

The symbolism was striking when Australia arrived in Perth ahead of the first Test against the West Indies on November 30, amid controversy following former coach Justin Langer’s candid interview about his ugly exit earlier this year.

Longer on the Back chat podcast attacked anonymous “cowards” who leaked against him and believed that some players were not transparent about their feedback.

There was intrigue over how Starc would handle the anticipated investigation into the saga during the first official press conference ahead of the Optus Stadium test. And in what could have been a sign of detente, he slammed controversy by claiming he hadn’t listened to the interview.

“I have a pretty good relationship with Langer,” Starc told reporters on Saturday. “We exchanged text messages after the [T20] World Cup. I’m pretty comfortable with my relationship with JL.”

Starc said the team did not specifically address the issue ahead of their three-hour training session at the WACA’s nets and on the main grassy wicket on the ground.

“It was said there could be some noise in the area, obviously to the west and with JL having a commentary spot,” he said. We’re comfortable… spending a lot of time together as a three-size group. It’s all preparation for this test match. Not too much will distract us. I’m sure we’ll see [Langer] on the ground and throughout the summer.”

The Western Australian fans are likely to support their favorite son in the first test match in Perth since December 2019 due to the state’s strict Covid-19 measures.

“Always had big crowds in Perth,” Starc said. “There’s been a lot of talk about Test Cricket not being here for a long time. Hopefully the public can support that. Let’s see what Test Cricket means to them.”

While the left arm quickly went out of focus his chase of 300 test wicketsStarc was excited about the likelihood of a spirited drop-in field at Optus Stadium, which attempts to replicate the WACA’s famous pace and bounce.

Starc played a starring role in the two tests on the 60,000 seat field with 14 wickets against India and New Zealand in a venue he rates as the second best in the country, behind Adelaide Oval, which will host the second Test against the West Indies in a day-night match.

“[Adelaide and Perth are] good matches between bat and ball,” said Starc, who has taken 287 Test wickets.”[In Perth] you will be rewarded for good shots and also for good bowling.

“The India Test [in 2018] was a very good wicket for three days and as the Test progressed the cracks widened… played many tricks in the fourth innings. A very good bat-ball wicket that was a challenge for both.”

Considering the West Indies’ well-documented battle in Australia, which has not won a Test since February 1997 there was some belief in the WACA that the home team can take the Test summer easy ahead of a thrilling three-game series against South Africa.

“We certainly don’t take teams lightly. We know what the West Indies can serve at its best,” he said as Australia return to Test cricket since their tour of Sri Lanka in June and July. “It’s a good chance to kick-start our summer of Test cricket and hopefully some exciting cricket will be played.”