India v Australia - 4th Test: Day 3
AHMEDABAD, INDIA - MARCH 11: Steve Smith of Australia speaks with Mitchell Starc during day three of the Fourth Test match in the series between India and Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium on March 11, 2023 in Ahmedabad, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
India v Australia - 4th Test: Day 3

Australian quick, Mitchell Starc has fired a return to Stuart Broad's claims that the last Ashes series in Australia was a "void series" due to the COVID-19 protocols that had the entire English team quarantined for 14 days prior to the series start.

Australia won the series comfortably at 4-0 after sickness was evident in both squads and controversial selections from the English side in the opening games of the series.

Broad spoke with The Daily Mail last month saying he doesn't claim the series as a 'real' Ashes.

"Nothing was harsher than the last Ashes series," Broad said

"But in my mind, I don't class that as a real Ashes. The definition of Ashes cricket is elite sport with lots of passion and players at the top of their game.

“Nothing about that series was high level performance because of the COVID restrictions. The training facilities, the travel, not being able to socialise.

“I've written it off as a void series.”

But Starc hit back in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald after being asked if Broad did have a valid point.

“The funniest thing out of that was they called it quarantine on the Gold Coast. I did seven of them. That was the easiest by a country mile,” Starc said.

“The Poms had the pool, the gym, they were in a resort on the Gold Coast, they trained at Metricon, weren't confined to their rooms and had their families there.

"Is that an excuse for 4-0? Dunno. It was a pretty good series to be a part of.”

Nathan Lyon has also supported his quick teammate when speaking on Channel 9's Today Show.

“It was definitely a 4-0 victory to Australia,” Lyon said.

“Pretty poor from Stuart, but he's probably just trying to get under our skin."

Vice-captain Steve Smith has also had an input on the situation.

"We were all there and playing so it was a little bit odd, you know? He‘s a nice guy and loves throwing out some good banter, so it's all part of it,” Smith said.

“It certainly wasn‘t ideal scenarios. But the whole world was going through it and we were in the middle of a pandemic, so we couldn't really complain too much."

There's no debate that this series will provide some fireworks.

With England's success with Brendon McCullum as coach, and the new 'Baz-ball' strategy, will England retake the Ashes and continue their impressive form winning nine of their last 12? Or will Australia prove that the last series was no 'fluke'?

The Ashes series begins in Edgbaston on June 16th.