Melbourne Stars preview

IN

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

Brad Hodge (Melbourne Renegades)

Glenn Maxwell (Melbourne Renegades)

Clive Rose (Victoria)

Peter Handscombe (Victoria)

 

OUT

George Bailey (Hobart Hurricanes)

Adam Voges (Perth Scorchers)

Jon Holland (Adelaide Strikers)

 Delisted

Jade Dernbach (England) – Worst. International. Ever.

Chris Simpson – I still can’t believe he got a gig last year!

 

THE PLAYERS

Shane Warne – the man, the legend, SK Warne. Warney will skipper the side and be his usual charismatic self. Look for plenty of TV shots of Liz Hurley in the crowd at Star’s games. Australian Test & ODI representative.

Cameron White –  hmm alrounder? I’m not really sure. Nicknamed The Bear due to his uncanny resemblance to Australian basketball royalty Tony “The Bear” Ronaldson, [Yes to confirm what you are all thinking Ronaldson did play with Nunawading Spectres, Eastside Spectres, South East Melbourne Magic and Victoria Titans in the NBL] White has had an interesting career trajectory.  The Bear stepped down from the captaincy of the Stars after BBL|01 and has been in ordinary to poor form for the best part of 2 years by my reckoning. His batting form has dropped off a cliff – he hasn’t made a first class or list A ton since November 2010 and he has just dropped himself from batting No 3 down to No 7 in the Sheffield Shield due to a 0 & 1 effort v Tasmania in October. White has started bowling more of late, note his 20 overs in an innings v NSW in November but it will be interesting to see how much bowling he does under Warne’s leadership. Australian T20, ODI & Test representative.

Glen Maxwell –  blistering, belligerent batsmen who can hit a long ball. Loves getting around all the hardcore rusted on Fitzroy-Doncaster fans whenever he plays premier cricket. Left the Renegades because he does not agree with the way successive state governments have handled the planning and development of the Docklands precinct. Nicknamed ‘86’. Can bowl spin. Australian T20 & ODI representative

David Hussey – Batsmen. A world class T20 bat who has made squillions in the IPL. Nicknamed Bomber because of his love of B52s songs – just loves Rock Lobster & Love Shack – he can’t get enough of those tunes with an icy cold watermelon Bacardi Breezer in his hand after another hard fought T20 victory. Can bowl spin. Australian T20 & ODI representative

Brad Hodge –Batsmen. One of the greatest T20 batsmen in the short history of the format. Quit the Renegades because the MCG was more convenient. When he is batting watch for minimal, nay zero movement of the feet – he has clearly become a disciple of Sehwagology and with devastating effect.  Nicknamed Dodgeball because he showers in his jocks. Never a great fielder and a custard arm but can bowl spin. Australian T20, ODI & Test representative.

Clive Rose – spinner. “Every Rose has its Thorn” and by my reckoning Clive’s thorn is either his glasses (can be tricky to play cricket with them) or his first name. In fact his new Star’s teammates felt so bad that his first name was Clive and he wasn’t a celebrity chef that they have nicknamed him Nathan. The effect of this has been twofold: 1. He no longer feels like a social pariah and 2. He is now able to win the coveted Nathan award up against Messers Reardon, Rimmington and Coulter Nile. To paraphrase the scrolling text screen saver of my former colleague, Michael Rose, “A Clive by any other name would still be as sweet.”

Peter Handscomb – a real find by the Vics last season as a batsman. He can bat anywhere in the order and it was recently discovered he is a better keeper than Ryan Carters because Handscomb catches the ball in his gloves not by wearing it on the chest. His nickname is yet to be settled upon but a wide ranging selection is currently doing the rounds at Stars pre-season training. Just a few of them are as follows: Handsome, Honeycomb, The Comb, Moustache Comb, The moustaka man,  PH, Acid-Base Indicator ,Sodium Hydroxide, Vinegar, Chips,  Spud , Robbo , Macca, Smithy,  Gladys, Genevive, Phillipa, Bruce and Brohelium. Vote now on the Stars website for your favourite nickname for Peter.

John Hastings – right arm medium fast bowler who can hit a long ball down the order.  Why is he called The Duke I hear you say. Is it because he loves Westerns? No.  Is it because his middle name is Wayne? No. It’s because his pre match pump up music is Benita from PlaySchool singing “The Grand Old Duke of York” Australian T20, ODI and Test representative.

James Faulkner – Tasmanian left arm paceman and belligerent batsmen who can hit a long ball. “Ross” Faulkner offers variety from a battery of right arm fast medium pacemen in the Stars squad. In pre match warm ups of a kick around of a footy he refuse participate if Sheerins or Burley footballs are being used. JK is known to be incredibly arrogant for someone who isn’t a Test or ODI or T20 Australian representative.

Peter Siddle – Mr Vegan as he has now been dubbed probably does chomp down on activated almonds and alkalised water and it’s doing him some good as he has become the leader of the Aussie pace attack. However ‘Sids’ probably won’t be able to participate in the Big Bash as he will need to be rested after bowling on 2 consecutive days in 2 consecutive Tests matches. HARDEN THE FUCK UP PETER. EAT A STEAK; DRINK A BEER AND FUCKEN BOWL!! Australian T20, ODI & Test representative.

James Pattinson – right arm fast. Victorian paceman better known as the brother of England 1 Test wonder Darren. JPat won’t be bowling his trademark heavy balls for a while as he picked up a side strain in the Adelaide Test by straining his side. This is usually a six week injury so I’m calling it now:  “No Big Bash for you!!” Australian T20, ODI & Test representative.

Jackson Bird – right arm fast medium bowler who is a great exponent of the heavy ball. JB loves bowling at the MCG – witness his shield record: 2 mathces 21 wickets at 6.37. Bird was nicknamed “Flu” when he was playing for NSW back in the day of the state based Bash when players had nicknames on their shirts. It didn’t go down so well with the sponsor, KFC, and was hastily changed to Dicky. Bird is next in line for a Test debut if the selectors keep changing fast bowlers as regularly as they change their undies.

Clint McKay –  right arm fast medium bowler known amongst the squad as the best bowler of a heavy ball. Nicknamed Squid for reasons unknown. Prolific tweeter whose favourite movie is now “The Social Network” after it had previously been “The Shawshank Redemption” Squid pinged one of his many hammies 3 weeks ago and proceeded to squirt ink all over the shop so may be a late starter to BBL|02. Australian T20,  ODI and Test representative.

Luke Wright – right arm medium, right hand bat. All rounder whose stronger suit is definitely batting. Did two-fifths of f&ck all in BBL|01 until he was promoted to open the innings and blazed a ton against the Hurricanes. He may not get a look in at the top of the order due to Brad Hodge. Bowls curry puffs – the antithesis of a heavy ball. LW writes his 1 and 7 the European way which he thinks is “clever” but which is actually just fucking annoying when he is doing the scorebook. England T20 & ODI representative.

Matthew Wade – arrogant little turd from Tasmania. Also keeps wicket. Also drops catches and misses stumpings in Test matches.  Won’t Bash much due to being an Australian T20, ODI & Test representative.

Rob Quiney –  Top order stroke player who will open the innings after performing well in that role across all three domestic over the past 2 seasons. Brings a lot of wooden mallet thingys to the dressingroom as he loves knocking in bats while waiting for his turn to bat. It was for this reason he was made to open the batting a couple of seasons ago and he hasn’t looked back since. Recently made his Test debut.

Lasith Malinga –  Right arm smoke known as the The Slinger from Kandy. Although this doesn’t quite have the right ring to it I am lead to believe that it is his nickname. His Dad was a carpet salesman from Kandy and was known as The Seller from Kandy and so the nickname has been handed down with slight modification. Much like how Plugger Locket Senior handed down his nickname to his son Tony ‘Bath Plug’ Lockett. But I digress. Malinga will bring a unique bowling action, extreme pace, an award winnig smile and hoardes of the resident Sri Lankan community to the G. Sri Lankan T20, ODI & Test representative.

Alex Keath – right arm medium, rght hand bat. Another allrounder of sorts who has recently graduated from Futures League to the relative big time of Shield and List A cricket. Me thinks Keathy did himself a mischief when he didn’t take up the contract offer with the Gold Coast Suns AFL team not once but twice. Given there is no shortage of pace bowling allrounders in this squad I would be very surprised Keath was signed and will be even more surprised if he gets a game. Luke Wright looks to have his spot but maybe an injury or two and things might change.

 

THE SUMMARY

All the squad changes in the off season have made the Stars stronger.

Cameron White stepped down as captain to let Warne take the reigns – smart move.

The Stars released two batsmen to their home states, Bailey & Voges, and replaced them via a cross town raid on the Renegades with two batsmen better suited to the T20 format, Hodge & Maxwell. In fact they now have a gold plated top 5 of all international reps.

The Stars cut the complete hack in Chris Simpson and replaced him with Peter Handscombe. Also the worst international signing of BBL|01, England fast bowler Jade Dernbach (who?) was replaced by the exponentially better credentialed Lasith Malinga.

Jon Holland tired of waiting in the wings behind Warney as the second spinner and headed to Adelaide before injury ended his season.

One thing the Stars do have in spades is allrounders of different varieties. Right arm fast medium and medium fast bowling allrounders: Hastings, Faulkner, Keath and  Wright plus batsmen who bowl a spin in varying degrees – White, Maxwell, Hussey and Hodge. The team looks well balanced and strong in all areas. The Stars are definitely the team to beat.

THE XI

  1. Brad Hodge
  2. Rob Quiney
  3. Glen Maxwell
  4. Dave Hussey
  5. Cameron White
  6. Peter Handscombe
  7. Luke Wright
  8. James Faulkner
  9. John Hastings
  10. Shane Warne
  11. Lasith Malinga

THE PREDICTION: 1st

Luke Butterworth Diary 26/11

Dear Diary,

 

Still haven’t got a Big Bash contract.

 

I was putting my feet up in the change rooms after taking 5/25 for Tassie to wrap up an innings victory in the shield when the phone rang. It was Pickers.

 

Liam Pickering:  “Butters mate how are ya? How are things going at the Devils?”

 

Me: “It’s the Tassie Tigers. We had a good win today. “

 

“Yeah that’s great, fantastic, love your work. Now I’ve got some progress on the Big Bash contract situation. I was talking to umm ah a bloke from Wellington ah… Dish Pigs and he said they were looking for an all rounder. “

 

“Is that Wellington, New Zealand?”

 

“Yeah across the dutch haha. I couldn’t understand half the fucking stuff the bloke was saying except they need a bug unit who huts bug. Haha. Funny fuckers.”

 

“They don’t play Big Bash in New Zealand. “

 

“Ah fuck. Your joking aren’t you? I thought it was like all the shit sports like soccer and basketball – just throw in a token kiwi team.“

 

“No, it’s only in Australia. And the sign up deadline is Friday.”

 

“Fuck off you’re shitting me! This Friday?? “

 

“Yep”

 

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Look I’ve been flat knacker up here on the Gold Coast for a week or more at sch…. I mean the AFL draft showing all the AFL draftees how to pa… ah you know, the um finer points of ah filling in a tax file number deceleration form. Yeah tricky stuff those forms – so many boxes. Tread carefully form filler tread very carefully or the taxman will get ya. Haha”

“Look Butters leave it with me. Old mate Picks won’t leave you high and dry. I do have some contacts at a club and might be able to pull a few strings and call in a favour or two and sort something out.”

 

“OK is that the Renegades now that your on the board?”

 

“Ah no…. actually it’s North Melbourne cricket club”

 

*Sigh*

 

Buttsy out.

 

 

Luke Butterworth Diary 19/11

Dear Diary,

 

Still haven’t got a Big Bash contract.

 

Still haven’t heard from Pickers.

 

So I gave Pickers a call. Well four calls in fact and the fourth time he answered.

 

Liam Pickering: “Buttsy mate, how are ya?”

 

Me: “Good thanks, any progress on the Big Bash contract?”

 

LP: “ Big Bash?….. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, Big Bash … of course T20. Yep, yep all over it mate. Now I gave Terry a kick up the arse and told him to do some proper list analysis not that sh1t he trots out on ‘TAC Cup Future Stars’ with Hutchy. What the fuck is that show about anyway? They never seem to actually cover the TAC cup. Anyway look I’m getting side tracked, bottom line is Terry said: Teams need spinners – they are digging up fossils like Warney and Hoggy and Angry Magilla, flying in Murali and  Afridi and even signing up refugees because they can’t get spinners. Word is Adelaide are trialling two blokes ah…what are their names…  ah yep here they are Matthew Higgs and Brian Young and fuck I’ve never heard of them so what do you think?  I might be able to get you in on this a spin bowling trial. What do you reckon ? Give it a go?”

 

“But I don’t bowl spin”

 

“Yeah well look I reckon we can overcome that as well let’s be honest, just between you and me, just quietly, half these blokes don’t actually bowl spin either!  I wouldn’t want some of these guys to spin me out of a tricky conflict of interest situation let alone a cricket match! These blokes even make Imran Tahir look good for fuck’s sake! Are you sure you’ve never sent down a few straight flat offies at training?”

 

“No”

 

“OK leave it with me mate. I’m off to the Gold Coast for um… the AFL draft – I’ll talk to the Gold Coast Big Bash franchise while I’m there and see what I can sort.”

 

*Sigh*

 

Buttsy out.

Perth Scorchers preview

IN

Alfonso Thomas (Adelaide Strikers)

Adam Voges (Melbourne Stars)

Ashton Agar (Western Australia)

Jason Behrendorf (Western Australia)

Pat Cummins (Sydney Sixers)

Tim Armstrong (Sydney Thunder)

Tom Triffit (Hobart Hurricanes)

Joe Mennie (South Australia)

 

 

OUT

Nathan Rimmington (Melbourne Renegades)

Mitchell Johnson (Brisbane Heat)

 

Delisted

Tom Beaton

 Luke Ronchi (New Zealand domestic cricket)

Paul Collingwood (England)

Mark Cameron

Liam Davis

 

 

 

THE PLAYERS

 

Simon Katich – retired from all forms of cricket mid-year except for the format he is least suited to…hmm? Katich seemed to play the reverse floater role or the sinker role in the batting line up last season. He would be listed at 4 or 5 then slowly slide further down the order as each new batsmen came to the crease and it wasn’t Kat-dawg. At least he will not have the ignominy of being pushed below Paul Collingwood in the batting line up this season. Katto will bring professionalism, discipline and a strong work ethic to the dressingroom – quantities rarely seen inside the home dressingrooms of the WACA ground… sorry ‘The Furnace’. Look for dressingroom dustups with the Marsh boys because a) they are wild party boys who will fail to fulfil their potential and are determined to go down a path of destruction and b) neither of them will be playing so get the f*ck out of the dressingroom! Dads Army age at 37.

 

Alfonso Thomas –  a canny South African paceman who loves bowling at the deathand can hit a long ball down the order ‘The Fonse’ played at Adelaide in BBL|01. Thomas has carved out a career of 1 T20 international for South Africa in 2007 but mainly plies his trade in South African domestic cricket and as a Kolpak for Somerset in County cricket. Will bring to the dressingroom information on where to get the best billtong in CapeTown and the best cider in Somerset.  Dads Army age at 35.

 

Shaun Marsh – Batsmen. Sometimes you play cricket well and other times you fall off a cliff. Such is the career of one South East Marsh. Made a hundred on his Test debut in Sri Lanka in September 2012, then toured South Africa and hurt his back. Son of Swampy missed the next three Tests but proved his fitness with 99* versus the Renegades just before Christmas 2012 and so was selected for the four Test against India and proceeded to tally up an international dialling code 0,0,1,1 and hasn’t been seen in Australian colours since. In October this year he and his Bro went mad in South Africa during the CLT20 and SE Marsh has been banished from the state team ever since. He has had to content himself with playing club cricket since October and the rumour is he had to come back into his club side via the 2nd XI as the club had a NDP – No Dickheads Policy. And that is a massive fall from grace in 13 months – from debut Test hundred to club 2nd XI.

 

Mitch Marsh – Mitch ‘Party Time’ Marsh is an all rounder who will miss the entre BBL|02 and more after tearing the hammy off the bone a couple of weeks ago. Expect the young tyro to be as dedicated to his rehab as he was to sticking to his strict pregame preparation schedule at the CLT20 in October. Boom-tish. If the Scorchers are looking for a readymade replacement all rounder could I suggest LUKE BUTTERWORTH who does not have a BBL contract as yet. The wild Party Boy antics Marsh would have brought to the dressingroom will not be missed by new coach Justin Langer

 

Ashton Agar – True or False: This is a real name. Some say he is a mystery spinner form Melbourne premier cricket who has been bamboozling batsmen at the lower level and is ready to pounce in the Big Bash having not been sighted in first class or list A cricket, some say he wouldn’t know a doosra from doorknob, some say he is The Stig. Your choice.

 

Tim Armstrong –  I was certain ‘Louis’ Armstrong  had been delisted by the Sydney Thunder and didn’t have a new club but I was wrong. ‘Neil’ Armstrong is a NSW Futures League batsmen plying his trade sans state contract (which means he is also on the dole). It’s surprising anyone would want to sign someone let go by Sydney Thunder – except of course for  LUKE BUTTERWORTH who was inexplicably not given a second season at the Thunder. ‘Lance’ Armstrong will bring tales of work for the dole schemes and little else to the dressingroom.

 

Tom Triffit – wicket keeper. Little Tommy Triffit was the Hurricanes gloveman last season while Tm Pane had The Weapon work on his right ring finger for 8 hours a day. Triffo was lured West to fill the hole left by Luke Ronhci’s departure to play cricket n New Zealand – it’s amazing which countries are playing cricket these days. TT is loving life in WA in general and in Perth in particular. He hasn’t yet tired of going to Cottosloe beach and swimming around with a shark fin attached to his back – it never fails to create mayhem, mirth and merriment!

 

Marcus North – batsmen and disillusioned former skipper who quit his post after the disastrous Scorchers campaign at the CLT20 in October. Former Test player whose career went south when it was realised he was a downhill skier who was mentally weak – would never have got a game under Steve Waugh. Steve Waugh puts his game face on even when he’s eating ice cream with his son. Now that’s tough. Would you believe North is 33 – the perfect age for Dads Army.

 

Michael Beer – Spinner. Sub editors wet dream surname.

 

Herschelle Gibbs – Hollywood Herschelle fits in perfectly with the WA party culture and has never knowingly turned down a party invite or a drink card. Party he might but his turbo charged batting at the top of the order gave the Scorchers the perfect start in many matches and he was right up there with the best in BBL|01 in terms of runs scored and strike rate. Look for him to challenge for the coveted brown helmet/brown cap for highest run scorer in the Big Bash. Fits perfectly into the Dad’s Army mould at 38 years old.

 

Adam Voges –  “Mad Dog” Voges may look like a mild mannered accountant trapped in a cricketers body but in fact is the ringleader of the “Party first, cricket later” crew in WA cricket whose mantra is “Party first, cricket later” Often seen leading the Western Warriors rampage through Northbridge after another home shield or Ryobi Cup loss. Of course he is over 30, just nudging 33 years old.

 

Mike Hussey – Mr Cricket s in a rich vein of form knocking up back to back tons in the current Test series v South Africa. Expect Hussey to only make cameo appearances between Test and ODI commitments – ie probably first game only. Fit as a fiddle but comfortably fits into the Dad’s Army age bracket at 37.

 

Brad Hogg – 41 year old spinner who is still poking his tongue out in his delivery stride and sending down unpickable wrong’uns. A crowd favourite who has the most likes on the Scorchers webpage. Look for him to be playing cricket n the US if the US T20 league gets going.

 

Pat Cummins – 19 year old fast bowler who injured his fat pad which caused him to miss BBL|01. Now has another season ending injury which means he must have D&M’s with Brett Lee on The Cricket Show. Won’t play. The Scorchers should probably learn from this and not bother recruiting such young players – stick to the 33+ year olds.

 

Nathan Coulter Nile –  a fast bowling allrounder whose good form with the ball resulted in a call up to the Australia A – the A presumably stood for all rounder after no less than 7, yes 7 all rounders suited up.  NCN was listed at 11 in the A team which would suggest that bowling is his stronger suit and his batting is still a work in progress. And it makes me think if  ‘Coults’ bats at 7 again for the Scorchers like he did in BBL|01 then it will be a long tail again. NCN won the coveted Nathan slot just edging out Nathan Rimmington.

 

Jason Behrendorf – 19 year old left arm pace man who played Australia U19s. Bowls a heavy ball. Will not be able to contribute anything to the dressingroom conversations as he doesn’t have a wife, kids or a mortgage and can’t remember the world before iPhones. Also has never changed a nappy. Hoggy is old enough to be his dad. Good luck son – literally.

 

Joe Mennie – another fast bowler! I believe this one transferred from SA to WA in the off season. Just what the squad needed – another paceman! Bowls a heavy ball. Mennie is known to go all Malcolm Douglas/Albie Mangels in the off season heading up to the Kimberley in his 4 x 4 and living off tins of baked beans and Emu bitter for weeks at a time. Not popular n the dressingroom as he doesn’t fit into the Party Boy Faction or Dads Army set ala Mods and Rockers. An outcast.

 

Ben Edmondson – another pace bowler! When will this end! Bowls a heavy ball. Fits into the Dad’s army age bracket at 34. The President of the MQMFBU – Medium Quality Medium Fast Bowlers Union. The Scorchers have no less than 5 memebers in their sub-branch: Edmondson, Mennie, Behrendorf, Thomas & Coulter Nile (who is now having his membership question after representing Australia A)

 

 

 

THE SUMMARY

 

The Scorchers look to have stuck with the formula from BBL|01 and play only 4 batsmen and 5 bowlers plus a bowling allrounder  with Nathan Coulter-Nile bat at 7. Whilst this does seem to create a very long tail ( they lost their last 5 wickets in an over v the Stars last year) it also worked as they might the Big Final n BBL|01.

 

I’m not sure why they haven’t recruited more batsmen as they seem to be light on for bats given M Marsh and M Hussey won’t play and S Marsh is out of favour. It looks like Tim ‘Lance’ Armstrong may get the No 5 slot which makes me wonder what has happened to Big Tommy Beaton, a young WA contracted batsmen who became expert at running drinks last season for the Scorchers, but has been delisted for BBL|02.

 

The only saving grace is Paul Collingwood is no longer in the squad. His bowling was worse than Abdul Razzaq last year and that’s saying something. The Scorchers squad has bowlers coming out their ying yang including a small army of pacemen.

 

Alfonso Thomas was signed last week after Albie Morkel pulled out for reasons unknown – did he not realise South Africa play cricket in Decemeber-January? Perth Scorchers note – you don’t have to have two international signings –  you could have signed a local allrounder like LUKE BUTTERWORTH.

 

On paper this team looks ancient – Dads Army indeed.

 

 

The XI

  1. Herschelle Gibbs
  2. Marcus North
  3. Adam Voges
  4. Simon Katich
  5. Tim Armstrong
  6. Tom Triffit
  7. Nathan Coulter Nile
  8. Alfonso Thomas
  9. Ben Edmondson
  10. Michael Beer
  11. Brad Hogg

 

 

 

THE PREDICTION:  3rd