Mitchell Starc says the race to secure World Cup spots in Australia’s pace attack is exciting and shows the importance of the tour of Zimbabwe.

Australia fast bowler Mitch Starc believes the upcoming one-day triangular series in Zimbabwe will be the first step in securing World Cup spots.

Starc will head to Africa along with familiar pace aces such as Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner but Queensland’s Ben Cutting and South Australia’s Kane Richardson will be keen to impress.

The Australians play four matches against Zimbabwe and South Africa and then a possible final in the Harare-based tri-series and Starc says any chance to shine between now and next year’s World Cup must be taken.

“Every game of cricket you play for Australia is an important game,” Starc said.

“It’s leading up to a World Cup in a few month’s time so it’s important to get the team right, play a lot of cricket and play as much as we can leading up to that World Cup.

“More importantly, play well.”

Away from the pace brigade, the tour also gives Test spinner Nathan Lyon a chance to prove his worth in the 50-over format.

Lyon started his rise from groundsman to Test player in limited-overs cricket for South Australia in Twenty20 games and despite having only featured twice in the past for Australia’s ODI team, Starc says he believes the off-spinner can justify his call-up.

“No surprise at all. He’s obviously started his career with the short formats and been bowling well for NSW last season,” Starc said.

“I’m sure he’ll do very well on this tour and for Australian one-day teams down the line as well.”