2016/17 Big Bash Preview: Melbourne Stars

Squad: David Hussey (c), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, John Hastings, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Tom Triffitt, Daniel Worrall, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa

One of the more successful home and away Big Bash teams in the league, Melbourne Stars will want to turn that success into trophy success.

With this squad full of talented batsmen and bowlers, the Stars will want to go all the way this season.

Key Players – Australians

Glenn Maxwell – He will be looking to answer all critics and fire for the Stars this season. He was under scrutiny after suggesting that fellow Victorian Matthew Wade was “selfish”in batting above him in the Sheffield Shield and he would have been picked for test cricket if he batted up the order for Victoria. In 154 Twenty20 matches, he averages 23.76 with a strike rate of 156.29. Known as “The Big Show”, he is a powerful hitter that sometimes plays some usual shots such as his trademark reverse sweep. Can score at a quick rate but with his unusual shots can come some stupid shots that gets him out cheaply. He needs to nullify those types of shots and play normal cricket strokes that made him a good batsman for both Victoria and Australia. Not only he can bat but can ball some useful off-spin and take wickets which is valuable for the T20 format. For the Stars’ sake, they would want Maxwell to play best to his ability to help them get far in this tournament.

James Faulkner – The bowling all-rounder is a fantastic Twenty20 player and will show his worth for the Stars this season. He may be a little rusty after returning from injury but with a couple of games under his belt, he should do well. He has different bowling varieties including a slower ball that bamboozles batsmen. Faulkner has taken 158 wickets in 134 matches including best figures of 5/16. He is also valuable with the bat with an average of 22.10 with a striker rate of 127.78. He is known as “The Finisher” as he can complete games with the bat with his slogging predominately on the leg side. His ability with bat and ball is going to be great to watch when he is on song.

Imports

Kevin Pietersen (England) – One of the most talented batsmen in the world is back for another season in the Big Bash. Despite not playing for England, Pietersen is still batting well in Twenty20 format in domestic competitions. He averages 34.91 with a strike rate of 136.66 in 158 innings. In 3 of those innings, he made a century which shows how good he can play. He is also a great fielder that can take many catches and can create run-outs. Pietersen will bat either at number 3 or 4 but when he comes in, expect him to have some fun and provide entertainment for the fans of the Big Bash.

Luke Wright (England) – The man who loves playing Twenty20 cricket returns to open the batting for the Stars this season. Wright brings energy to the group and shows that in his batting with 6 centuries in 236 innings. He averages 28.54 with a striker rate of 145.91 and can be an unstoppable batsman when he hits the ball well. He can also lend a hand with the ball with his medium pacers. Wright has made a couple of 100’s in the Big Bash throughout his 5 year stint at the Stars. Like the previous season, he will open the batting and be looking to get his team to great starts when he bats to give them a great chance of a big score or to chase a total easier.

Youngster

Adam Zampa – The leg-spinner is now an experienced Twenty20 player after taking part in the T20 World Cup in India in January and proved to be a handful for the opposition. He took 5 wickets in 4 matches including figures of 3/23 in one match. Can keep the run rate down with his bowling which can frustrate the batsmen and is starting to learn his craft and adding variety to his bowling. The 24 year old is also handy with the bat and can make a few runs to help his team. He could prove to be a valuable asset for the Stars this season and will be keen to continue the World Cup form into the Big Bash.

Prediction

There should be no reason for the Melbourne Stars to be in contention for finals at least. There were not major changes to their squad for last season so the chemistry between the players should be high. It will come down to their bowling attack of whether how far they will go in this tournament as their batting lineup is up there with the best in the Big Bash. With experienced batsmen in Pietersen, Wright, Maxwell and Hussey in the team, the Stars should make finals but don’t think they will win the title.

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