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A history of big-name players but no trophies to show for it: Can Melbourne Stars gain elusive BBL silverware in 2023?

Roar Rookie
4th December, 2023
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Marcus Stoinis of the Melbourne Stars. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
4th December, 2023
2

The Melbourne Stars have been one of the most successful teams in the entire history of the BBL competition, but they just cannot seem to get over the final hurdle.

Joining an unwanted club with the Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne is one of the only teams to still have empty trophy cabinets.

The Stars over the journey has gleefully taken the persona of being the glamour team of the competition, being the team with all the superstars whom people are drawn to on our television screens.

The list of players has been extensive: Kevin Pietersen (KP), Glenn Maxwell (The Big Show), Marcus Stoinis, Luke Wright, Lasith Malinga and even Dale Steyn for a brief period. But what has it counted for?

The green side of Melbourne over the journey appears to be confused about what their goal is in the T20 competition whether it is to give the crowd a show and play an exciting brand of cricket or is it to try to be a relentless team trying to win their first title.

Ideally, a mixture is great but the best way to get fans through the gates is surely to win cricket games. Have l missed something? That has not changed and never will.

The England Cricket team adopted a similar method of playing an exciting brand of cricket and giving the crowd something to engage which is amazing with winning not being the end all but if it doesn’t work it can get ugly. Which can result in a quick World Cup exit.

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Newly appointed Stars coach Peter Moores said on SEN: “ We want to play exciting cricket… the Stars have got a reputation”.

The word reputation seems to be the big problem surrounding the Stars that the playing group are struggling to shake off and former coach David Hussey similarly spoke about it thoroughly during his tenure as coach.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 29: Marcus Stoinis of the Stars plays a cut shot across the ground during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars at Optus Stadium, on December 29, 2022, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

Melbourne Stars all-rounder Marcus Stoinis. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

The mantra has resulted in the Stars missing from finals action in the past three seasons finishing bottom-placed last year. In BBL 12 the list was exposed with the heavy reliance on the injured Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis which became glaringly obvious.

The issue has been a similar characteristic for the past couple of years when those guys weren’t firing the team had barely anyone to share the load.

While other teams have been filling gaps, and addressing weaknesses on their list the Melbourne Stars seem to be treading on water and sadly looks like a similar tale for this season.

Cricket fans earlier in the year were in shock after the Stars captain of BBL 12 Adam Zampa requested a trade to cross-town rivals in the Renegades after just extending his contract for a further two seasons in September last year.

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Moreover, just as bizarre as the requested trade was the statement from the Melbourne Stars GM Blair Couch who said: “This trade would allow us to target several other quality players, and we look forward to making a number of announcements regarding new signings once the contracting window re-opens”.

Trying to justify trading the second leading wicket-taker in this year’s World Cup and Australia’s number one white ball spinner for wicketkeeper Sam Harper is hard enough but promising to recruit other high-quality left Stars fans intrigued.

The recruitment of bowling all-rounders Liam Dawson and Imad Wasim seems to be what Blair Couch was alluding which looks more like a band-aid recruitment drive rather than an aim to take it up to the best in the business that being the Perth Scorchers.

Although the loss of Zampa was disappointing, the late out of Harry Brook who was the Stars’ pick of choice for their huge pick one in the BBL overseas player draft seemed to be the dagger.

The Englishman was there to address their middle over dilemmas that the stars had last season who were the slowest team in between the 7-15 over mark striking at just 114.32.

Selecting Brook was a huge risk in the first place given his poor form in Australia playing seven games for the Hobart Hurricanes in 2021 averaging just 6.2 and recently getting dropped in the IPL for the Sunrisers Hyderabad after scoring over 30 once.

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Adding the uncertainty of Haris Rauf’s availability to the team this season, the integral picks used now look like a complete waste.

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There is no doubt the Stars will have several highlights in this BBL 13 season but have they forgotten the main goal, which still looks like being very far away as we speak?

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