Australian cricket commentator Brad Hogg says there’s “no excuse” for Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile to miss matches for the Melbourne Stars as the club sits languishing near the bottom of the BBL table.
The Stars have managed just one win from five games in a horror start, compounded by the pre-tournament leg injury to Glenn Maxwell that will see him miss the entire campaign.
On top of Maxwell’s absence, Stars coach David Hussey has been public with criticism of his players’ attitude in the wake of their big loss to the Perth Scorchers last week.
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And it’s a statement Hogg says he can’t argue with, given both Stoinis and Coulter-Nile missed the club’s Boxing Day clash after heading home to Perth for Christmas.
“It’s always massive when you lose someone like Glenn Maxwell,” he said on SEN.
“I’m listening to a few comments coach David Hussey has said over the last couple of days … the attitude he wasn’t happy with them with the previous game.
‘Tidy up a few areas of attitude…’ | 01:00
“When you’ve got a couple players going home for Christmas and not participating in the game and then you’ve got the big injury of Glenn Maxwell, then it’s going to upset other players in your camp.
“I don’t like being negative on these sort of fronts, but you’re a team. You’ve signed a contract. You’re there for the long run.
“And some of these players aren’t playing all formats of the game for Australia so for me, there’s probably no excuse unless there’s some serious personal reasons to have to leave the team environment.
“Little things like that can upset the group.”
Stoinis has struggled for form this BBL campaign, opening with back to back ducks, as he averages just 3.5 with the bat from his four games.
He’s also taken just two wickets from his seven overs, conceding more than 11 runs an over on average.
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Coulter-Nile meantime started the series with a bang, taking 3-19 and making 15 with the bat.
But since that first game, he’s taken just three wickets in three matches.
The Stars aren’t the only club to lose a key player, with the Perth Scorchers sitting top of the ladder despite the big absence of Mitch Marsh for the summer due to injury.
“Looking at the Perth Scorchers as well, you talk about a Glenn Maxwell with the Melbourne Stars, the Perth Scorchers are always a team a little displaced with players pulled out with injury or (national) selection and they’ve always been able to cover those,” Hogg praised.
“It’s the culture you build.
“The Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers have always had that culture and been able to keep that.”
Hussey was scathing in his criticism of his Stars outfit on Boxing Day, accusing his team of “disappearing when the heat was on”.
“We just have to tidy up a few things – a bit of attitude, just focusing on what the skipper does and work with the skipper and execute your plans under a bit of pressure,” he said on Fox Cricket.
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“Our boys had a crack (against Perth) and competed but we just need to tidy up a few areas of the attitude I think.
“It’s more attitude as in we have a couple of team rules about competing and working with the captain on which plans to bowl to certain players and unfortunately those plans disappeared when the heat was on.”
Cricket great Brian Lara believes the Stars are “struggling” with “no plan” to their innings.
“It seems everyone is just going out and just playing their game,” he said.
“The point I’m making is your batting has to have a storyline, it just seems everyone is coming out there and playing their own way – the way they feel comfortable.”
The Sydney Sixers were open about their decision to rest paceman Sean Abbott for the win over the Melbourne Renegades on Friday night.
With four games in six days, the Sixers instead opted to use import Chris Jordan for his first game of the tournament – where he was named player of the match.
Renegades v Sixers Match Highlights | 03:58
“We looked at this period of our schedule where we’ve got seven games in 14 days and about four or five flights so even though everyone’s pulling up OK, because of how strong our bowling group is, we sort of spoke about making sure everyone maybe misses one game in that period and just rotates through so we do have, if we are good enough, we have game ready players and fresh players,” Sixers captain Moises Henriques said.
Fox Cricket duo Brett Lee and Mark Waugh admitted they weren’t fans of a rest policy, with Waugh laughing as he claimed players “probably get more work running the drinks” than as a bowler for their four overs.
The Stars have nine matches remaining, but sit in second last on the ladder – behind only the Brisbane Heat on net run rate.
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