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

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Published by

Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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