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What Was the Best Melbourne Stars Cricket Team?

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    These are the fun lists, the debates over the greatest players of all time. 

    None of us will ever agree, will ever see eye-to-eye, for each of us have contrasting memories and opinions of the players who have shaped the game.

    Australian cricket certainly has a rich history of champions, a long line of men who have stamped an unforgettable mark on the game.

    Perhaps more than any other cricketing nation, Australia has produced the greatest number of iconic players, the greatest array of men who have either changed the way the game has been played, or simply dominated as few others have.

    Quick Rundown on Cricket

    Cricket is one of the most popular sports in Australia.  At international, domestic and local levels.  Also, it’s been played in Australia for over 210 years.  Plus, there are multiple cricket clubs in Melbourne on offer. Growing up playing cricket in the backyard or in the street with the neighbourhood kids is an Aussie tradition.  Furthermore, this is often where many players gain their love for the game.

    Team lists typically consist of 19 players with up to four internationals – three of which can be with the team at any one time. That’s an increase from last season when only two overseas-based players were allowed in an XI.

    While many sides have signed England internationals, anyone in the English squad to tour South Africa will be unavailable for Big Bash selection until after Christmas.

    Players in the Australian Test squad will only be available for the last three games of the regular season, while those just selected for Australia A squad will miss one or two BBL matches at the start of the competition.

    Things You'll Need to Play Cricket

    Here is a quick rundown of the equipment you'll need to play cricket.

    • Cricket bat
    • Cricket ball
    • Stumps
    • Ground and Pitch

    The bat is the stick used to hit the ball to score runs. According to the rules, a bat can be no longer than 38 inches in length and 4.5 inches in width. It can weigh anywhere between 1 kg to 2.5 kg.

    The cricket ball is round in shape and is usually red or white in color and made of leather. A red ball is used in day matches or longer games (such as a five-day match) while a white ball is used in shorter format matches or in day/night matches.

    Stumps are wooden sticks that are beaten into the ground. They support two bails at the top and form a wicket. There are two wickets placed on opposite sides of the pitch. The stumps should be no longer than 28 inches in height and 9 inches in width.

    The ground for cricket is spherical in shape. The part where the batsman plays is known as the pitch. In international cricket, the pitch is in a rectangular shape and measures 20 meters in length and 3 meters in width. The quality of the pitch is one of the most important elements of the game. It impacts how the ball moves on the field as well as how you would bat in the game. Some pitches are dry and hard, which can help fast bowlers. Some pitches may be more favourable for batting. Others may favour spin bowling.

    The pitch is marked in various places to go with different aspects of the game. Wickets are placed at both ends. At the bowler's side, there is a bowling crease marked off that is eight feet and eight inches in length. The bowler's popping crease, which is the area parallel to the bowling crease, is where a bowler should remain inside when they release a ball.

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    How to Play Your First Cricket Game: Simple and Easy Steps

    So you are about to play cricket for the first time. Here is a quick guide to help you enjoy your first match.

    1. Buy or arrange the necessary equipment that you'll need to play. A bat and ball is all that is required.
    2. Gather your friends and make two teams.
    3. Toss a coin to decide which teams choose their position.
    4. If you win the toss, decide if you want to bat or bowl. Most of the time, when I win the toss, I choose to bat. Batting is the most enjoyable part of this game. I may be biased on this one but that's how I feel.
    5. Make as many runs as you and your team can make.
    6. Bowl and restrict the opposite team from scoring more than you.
    7. If you are successful in scoring and fielding, you have won the match!

    Who are The Melbourne Stars?

    The Melbourne Stars is an Australian Twenty20 franchise cricket team, based in Melbourne, Victoria that competes in Australia's Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash League. The Stars wear a green uniform and play their home matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. One of their longest-serving players, Marcus Stoinis, recently achieved the highest individual score in Big Bash League history, scoring 147 against the Sydney Sixers at the MCG.

    Most significantly for the Stars, exceptionalism that still permeates the team today was born out of those initial years. Over the coming summers, they were the team that signed bigger names than anyone else – Warne, Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Lasith Malinga and Dale Steyn have all featured, while they even recruited then Test captain Michael Clarke in 2015 before he later pulled out of the deal. They were the team that lured over 80,000 people to a domestic game of cricket in 2015. They were the team that had heavy hitters like McGuire, John Wylie and David Evans on its board (before a 2019 Cricket Victoria restructure saw the Melbourne clubs' independent boards dissolved).

    They were the team that, ahead of BBL|09, had won more games than any other.

    The Stars' first of four consecutive semi-final defeats way back in BBL|01 is closing in on being a decade ago, but Hussey still remembers how he felt when he was sensationally caught behind by Perth Scorchers wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi and the WACA Ground closed in around him like a nightmare. The Stars lost by 11 runs.

    "I just remember feeling so responsible for us losing, we only needed nine an over and I got out first ball," said Hussey. "One of the big sins in T20 cricket is to lose two wickets in the same over.

    "I just remember thinking, 'I cost us that game of cricket'. I was devastated."

    In the coming years, his sense of culpability only intensified. The Stars attained trump cards in Malinga, the Sri Lankan wonder-slinger who confounded opposition batters in his two seasons with the club, and South African-turned-English maverick Kevin Pietersen.

    As a coach, David Hussey has experienced a different kind of pain. The Stars lost last summer's final to the Sixers but it was in fact their defeat to the same team the week before in a 'Qualifier' final that he looks back on with regret. After they had lost early wickets in pursuit of a modest 142, captain Glenn Maxwell thought they could get a head-start on the chase by elevating Nathan Coulter-Nile, their big-hitting lower-order allrounder, up the order. Hussey rebuffed him. The Sixers won comfortably. Although the Stars won their second-chance match and met the Sixers in the final, they lost the home ground advantage. Hussey now believes he should have listened to Maxwell.

    On the back of these strong performances over the years, the Melbourne Stars have earned a huge fanbase on social media. They have a total of 969.6k followers across social media platforms divided as 159.2k on Twitter, 184.4k on Instagram and 626k on Facebook.

    This Year’s Team

    Melbourne Stars squad

    Glenn Maxwell (c), Hilton Cartwright, Jackson Coleman, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dunk, Andre Fletcher (West Indies), Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Dilbar Hussain (Pakistan), Zahir Khan (Afghanistan), Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Lance Morris, Tom O’Connell, Nicholas Pooran (West Indies), Will Pucovski, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa

    Coach: David Hussey

    The Stars have lured a couple of big-name West Indian signings for BBL10, nabbing opening batsman Andre Fletcher to be paired with fellow big-hitter Nicholas Pooran for their first appearances in the tournament. Fletcher will be available until around Australia Day as he comes in to fill the void of Jonny Bairstow who was recalled to the English national team.

    Melbourne have also signed beanpole quick Billy Stanlake from Adelaide and Afghan left-arm wrist-spinner Zahir Khan has made the move south after playing eight games for Brisbane last season. Pakistani fast bowler Dilbar Hussain rounds out the Stars international roster.

    Melbourne Stars 2020/21 squad - Top 3 Players to watch out

    #1. Glenn Maxwell

    The Australian batting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has blown hot and cold since the sport began after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is not different for him as he has always been a hot and cold cricketer who tonks those big sixes on his day and looks like a pale shadow of himself the very next day. He would like to take the fact into account that he looked more than a pale shadow of himself in the IPL 2020 season and now he has to make up for it in the BBL.

    #2. Marcus Stoinis

    On the other hand, his national teammate and seaming all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has been a superstar in the same IPL. To make things even more interesting for the Stars and Stoinis fans, the 31-year-old was the highest run-getter in the last edition of the BBL. He has improved as a cricketer since then and might be even dangerous in BBL 10.

    #3. Nicholas Pooran

    The big-hitting West Indian, Nicholas Pooran, showed glimpses of his usual self in the later half of the IPL and might actually carry forward the same form coming into the Big Bash League. If the southpaw stays at the top of his game throughout the BBL season, the Sixers might be the best batting team in the death overs this season.

    The Greatest Line-up

    The Melbourne Stars have been a consistent Big Bash side, making the top four every season. But who has been their consistent performers?

    Today we look at the Stars’ all-time best XI.

    Luke Wright

    Luke Wright was treated with ultimate acceptance when he arrived at a Stars franchise who only boasted one international – his compatriot Kevin Pietersen. The Melbourne side picked him up in BBL|01 as an all-rounder, batting in the middle order, though he has since evolved into an explosive opener who hits sixes with ease and rarely bowls

    Cameron White

    Although White has switched allegiances to the Renegades, he led truly in the first four Big Bash series, earning his spot alongside Luke Wright as an opening batsman.

    When at his best, White can score boundaries freely, playing with flare, touch and flashiness. He works his way into an innings before piercing gaps and crunching sixes impressively.

    Even when not at his best, his business at the crease makes him a player who can play second fiddle capably. Either way, he plays with such confidence and backs his ability as well as anyone.

    Kevin Pietersen

    It has only taken the controversial Englishman two seasons to stamp his name as one of the Stars’ greatest ever.

    While crowds can rely on KP for the great insight and a laugh while he’s fielding, he can be equally relied upon with the bat. In just two seasons he has risen to number three on the Stars’ all-time run tally and won over many of his doubters.

    Throughout his illustrious international career, he has been entertaining to watch but he has added another dimension to his game. His classical cover drive and reverse pull are his trademarks shots, but in reality, are only a small part of a talented man’s game.

    Glenn Maxwell

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    The Big Show has entertained with his unorthodox slogs for the stars.

    He hasn’t been the most consistent player, however, when he’s hot, he is one of the most dangerous players in the competition. His creative flair and inventiveness make him very difficult to set a field for, seeing him score regular boundaries.

    His handy offices and prodigious fielding are tailor-made for Twenty20 and add another dimension to his game.

    David Hussey – vice-captain

    Took over the captaincy reigns from Cameron White in BBL|05 and his leadership qualities were evident, taking them to their first Big Final in his first year as captain.

    As a batsman, he is more suited to the longer formats however his experience and sensible batting have rescued his team from losses many times. Often labelled the best player of spin going around, he boasts great footwork around the crease and creates width from excellent deliveries.

    Rob Quinney

    In his first four Big Bash campaigns, Quinney showed remarkable ability to play his best innings at crucial times. The Melburnian also had a small gap between his best and worst.

    A foundation player, Quinney mostly opened the batting for the stars in the first three Big Bash series and has since become a middle-order player. He possessed a great ability to find the middle of the bat early, tick over the strike and put occasional balls to the rope if opposition bowlers weren’t precise.

    Peter Handscomb

    Recognisable by his unusual stance, Handscomb’s clean ball striking and speed between the wickets make him a focal player at the Stars. Although he is a ‘part time’ keeper his keeping is only slightly inferior to that of his closest rival, Matt Wade, while his batting is similar.

    His most memorable knock came when the Stars looked in dire straits against the Scorchers until Handscomb’s constant run-scoring kept them in the game and his explosiveness at the end not only gave the Stars the win but also gifted him a century, just the second Star to reach the mark.

    James Faulkner

    His perennial ODI presence means he can often only play half tournaments for the Stars, however, his presence with bat and ball is always felt.

    Over the years, his variations in pace have made him a quality death bowler. His strong hitting means he also contributes with the bat, often coming up into the middle order as he can provide an exciting cameo of quick runs.

    John Hastings

    The Duke, as he’s affectionately known, is the Stars’ most successful bowler.

    His intimidating bowling to start things off and ability to consistently bowl wide yorkers and change his pace at the end of an innings make him a vital cog.

    Shane Warne – captain

    Australia’s spin king finds his way into this best XI (like most best XIs) despite playing just 15 games for the Stars – the fewest of anyone in the team.

    The 15 games he did play, though, were of great quality. He showed he can still turn the ball past the bat with relative ease as well as tie-down an end to build pressure.

    Jackson Bird

    Bird has the best economy rate of all of the Stars’ frontline bowlers ever, at 7.15.

    A consistent bowler who has his fair share of tricks, Bird has claimed 28 wickets from 24 matches but as a great partnership bowler, he deserves credit for many more wickets.

    What do you think? Do you agree with our team?

    Big Bash: Champions (0): Runners Up (3): 2015–16, 2018–19, 2019–20. Minor Premiers (2): 2013–14, 2019–20.

    Nicole Faltum
     
    Wicketkeeper-batter Nicole Faltum joined the Stars for WBBL|03, coming across from rivals Melbourne Renegades. The 18 year old finished high school in 2018 and went on to have a ripper season for the Stars in WBBL|04.

    In the fifth season, during the first of the two BBL|05 derbies at the MCG, it drew a record crowd of 80,883 which is the highest crowd for any domestic cricket match ever in the history of the sport.

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