Months after being labelled "soft" by one of Australia's cricket greats and being dropped from Australia's Test XI, Mitchell Starc has been deservedly voted the Player of the World Cup.
Starc's worth to the Australian team was never more evident than when he dismissed New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum in the first over of Sunday's final. The New Zealand innings never fully recovered and Australia went on to claim an emphatic seven-wicket victory.
Few could have predicted the impact Starc would make at this tournament back in December when the left-arm swing bowler returned figures of 2-110 in the second Test against India in Brisbane, leading Shane Warne to describe Starc's body language as "soft."
The 25-year-old Starc was subsequently dropped for the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the same venue where on Sunday he was named Player of the Tournament after using a new-found aggression to snare 22 wickets throughout the World Cup.
"I've worked really hard at it for a number of months now with (bowling coach) Craig McDermott in the background," Starc said. "A few series ago, we sat down and found out a little plan and to see that come to fruition has been phenomenal."
He said his game-changing dismissal of McCullum off just the fifth ball of the final was part luck and part planning.
"There was a lot of luck involved, I think, but it was a little plan that Craig and I had going a couple of days ago," he said. "Brendon has been really fantastic through the whole tournament, so I think there was a lot of luck involved. I'm just happy to get that one."
After a tournament notable for batting performances, including two double centuries and teams regularly passing 300 runs, it was fitting that one of the few bowlers able to consistently make life difficult for the batsmen won the coveted award.
"It was an amazing tournament and some outstanding performances," Starc said. "New Zealand have been a great team throughout the tournament and even set the benchmark, but I think we came hard today (Sunday) and (that) really led to this performance."