Melbourne Stars’ captain Shane Warne has questioned whether his talent-stacked team deserves their Big Bash League favouritism ahead of reigning champions Sydney Sixers.
The Stars begin the tournament with Friday night’s Etihad Stadium clash with the Melbourne Renegades, before the Sixers take on their local rivals the Thunder at the SCG on Saturday night.
With Warne having taken over the captaincy from Cameron White and the Stars having added ex-Renegades pair Brad Hodge and Glenn Maxwell and Sri Lankan quick Lasith Malinga, they are clear bookmakers’ favourites for the title.
But the leg-spin great said while his squad looked great on paper and had prepared well, the Sixers had already proved themselves on the field.
“Everyone’s talking about us being the favourites, but I think Sydney Sixers are hard to go past as favourites,” Warne told reporters at a BBL promotion in Melbourne on Monday.
“Winning last year, winning the Champions League, I think they’re going to be tough to beat.
“I think we’re a good side, if we play well we’re a chance.”
Warne said his franchise had studied the Sixers’ performances to adopt some of their tactics but planned to pull a few surprise moves of their own with bowling strategies and field placements.
He said aggression and flair would be the hallmarks of his captaincy.
“I’m challenging the thinking of Twenty20 and coming up with a few new ideas too,” Warne said.
“I’ve already got some new ideas for the first six overs, which is obviously difficult for the bowlers.”
The 43-year-old, who will repeat the on-field commentary stints that were a feature of last season’s BBL, admitted to some arm and finger soreness as he ramped up his bowling preparation in recent days.
But he was confident about his form, saying he landed wrong’uns and flippers in a team practice match on Monday and expected to improve as the season progressed.
“I’m sure as the tournament goes on I’ll get better and better,” Warne said.