Last year the Stars were well...the Stars of the BBL.
They started strong and never really looked like going backwards as they cruised to 1st on the ladder and what seemed to be an inevitable Big Bash Championship.
They made it all the way through to the Grand Final and with greatness just 40 overs of Cricket away, well they fumbled it and lost it.
It was heartbreak for one team and elation for the other, but here in BBL10 the Stars are looking to hit back and they still have the squad to do so.
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The Stars are led by standout star of both the recent ODI and T20 series, Glenn Maxwell. He seems to have become more of a level headed cricketer recently whilst still being able to utilise his trademark flamboyance to absolutely impact a game in an almost unprecedented way. The great news for him and Stars fans alike too is that he will be available for the whole season as he is unlikely to be called into the test squad at any point.
Surrounding him in the batting line-up are the likes of Nic Maddinson, Nick Larkin, Hilton Cartwright, Seb Gotch, Ben Dunk and of course the Big Stoin. What you have here is a great mix of big hitters and also stable reliable batsmen who can keep the Run Rate ticking over.
The Stars have also signed two big West Indian batsmen in the forms of Nicholas Pooran and Andre Fletcher and both are sure to pack a punch when needed to.
Bowling wise, the team is still strong, with Nathan Coulter-Nile, Billy Stanlake, Adam Zampa and Afghan, Zahir Khan, rounding out a near fully International level attack. Of course, don’t forget about The Stoin and Maxwell who can roll the arm over and take crucial wickets when needed.
The team also shouldn’t expect massive losses from the Test series too with Will Pucovski being the only player in the current squad and he isn’t necessarily a massive loss in comparison to the rest of the batting lineup in a T20 sense.
My worry for this team is on the mental side of the game, they have come up short so many times at this point that those players who have experienced it, must at this point be aware of the pressure being put upon them to perform. The team can’t afford another ‘almost’ season as they have had so many times in the past. They have finished Runners up 3 times in BBL history and two of those have been in the last two seasons.
They aren’t getting any younger either, with Maxwell, Stonis and Coulter-Nile heading into their 30s, the stars and staples of this team aren’t going to be performing at their best forever.
Its absolutely a make or break season for the Melbourne Stars and they again need a strong campaign in the regular season, but they also need to pair this with strong Finals play for it to mean anything at all.
I see this team making finals of course, probably finishing 2nd on the ladder, but to them this shouldn’t matter as the goal is to lift the trophy at season’s end.
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