BBL|04 PREVIEW: Melbourne Stars, time to shed the bridesmaid tag

Melbourne Stars

Part of the rehearsal dinner, never the wedding. That must be how the Stars feel about the Big Bash. They’ve made the semi finals in all three years, but never gone further.

Strong team performances have always seen the Stars become finals regulars. Despite a controversial, different captain for each game policy last season, the Stars managed to make the finals without much difficulty.

The disarray that marred their season was a major factor in their semi finals defeat. Shane Warne came under much criticism for the way he operated within the team last season. A famous spat in the Melbourne derby with West Indian Marlon Samuels led to the Stars losing their form and their way in the semi finals. They lost their focus as off field dramas took centre stage. It was almost as if the side was reveling in having more publicity off the field than from performances on it.

A loss to Hobart Hurricanes in the semi finals saw the Stars bow out of the tournament and Warne call time on his cricketing career.

The Stars have recruited well in the off-season, and recruited big. Kevin Pietersen was snapped up almost instantly by the Stars, and along with the signings of Michael Beer and Luke Feldman, the Stars have added depth, experience and balance to their side. Pietersen will come to the Big Bash with much fanfare, but that is something the Stars are not unaccustomed to. Whether they will be able to stay focused on the task this season and go all the way is to be seen.

Melbourne Stars Squad

Cameron White (C), Alexander Keith, Marcus Stoinis, Rob Quiney, Luke Wright, Clive Rose, Scott Boland, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Michael Beer, David Hussey, Jackson Bird, Kevin Pietersen, Daniel Worrall, Clint Mckay, Peter Handscomb, Luke Feldman, Tom Triffitt

Alex Keath

Player to watch - Alexander Keath

The young all rounder has a bright future ahead of him. Already with Big Bash experience, Keath has the potential to be one of the regular players in the starting line up and a major player for the Stars.

An Australian representative at under-19 level, Keath is starting to find a place in the Victorian domestic side, and is highly thought after in Australian cricketing circles.

He gave up an opportunity to pursue an AFL career and instead chose to sign with the Victorian Bushrangers.

A natural born athlete, Keath possesses a decent batting average in the short career he has had, and he has a healthy bowling strike rate.

An extremely economical bowler, he is the perfect player to call upon when you need to dry up the runs or look to unsettle the batsmen.

Key Player - Kevin Pietersen

The English superstar signing is a key player for various reasons. Without the obligation of international cricket, Pietersen can now focus solely on the cricket at hand. Most international players come to the Big Bash unable to complete a full season due to International obligations.

He will be able to play for the Stars without any other distractions. This will give the Stars the calming knowledge, that barring any injury, he’s fully committed to their cause. Following his untimely dismissal by the ECB and the backlash received from his autobiography, Pietersen has a point to prove. What better way to do so than playing in a competition he so often fought with the ECB about being allowed more time to play in.

Often seen as public enemy number one to Australian cricket crowds, KP now he has the opportunity to not only endear himself to Australian fans, well those who support the Stars at least, but he has the opportunity to prove his English doubters wrong, and in a tournament hosted by the oldest of enemies, Australia.

The Melbourne Stars have a huge asset in Pietersen. Not only is he one of the games better one-day batsman, he is also box office. He will bring in the crowds and is more than capable of getting his team over the line in the all important tight matches.

With all eyes on KP it may allow some of his teammates more freedom to express themselves.

What they are saying

“It was an easy choice for me when you look at the players we have, and don’t forget out home ground, the MCG.” – Kevin Pietersen

“Turning up to these Big Bash games, there are packed houses. It’s why you play the game. Especially at the MCG, the crowds are amazing.” – Luke Wright

Badger Predicts

The Stars have often been too much about the off field drama. Despite these issues, they have always managed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Big Bash.

One would expect then that without any distractions off the field, the Stars would be able to prove themselves on the field. Having one of the likes of Pietersen, and the so named showoff Glenn Maxwell in your squad, seems to suggest that drama is not far away. The difference with these two often means that the drama is on the field. That is a form of drama is suspect the Stars will not mind.

We see the Stars making the finals this season and perhaps going one better and making the Grand Final. If they can gather momentum and harness their individual talents into a team their is no reason they cannot win BBL|04.

More Information

Melbourne Stars website

Big Bash League website

Follow Melbourne Stars on Twitter

Ahmed Essof

Ahmed has been a cricket fan for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Zimbabwe in the 90s he has very fond memories of cricket and was immediately transfixed by the game from the very first moment.

At the age of 15, Ahmed moved to Australia with his family. He quickly took a liking to his new home state, Queensland, and subsequently became a fan of Brisbane Heat. Despite his obvious love for his African roots and Zimbabwe and South Africa, Ahmed has developed a strong knowledge of the game in Australia and the various competitions.

Always a fan of the outrageous and 'freakish' cricket, Ahmed rates Jonty Rhodes, AB DeVilliers as among his most exciting cricketers to watch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>