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Australia Australia's Stars search for BBL success

07:20  04 december  2021
07:20  04 december  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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First they conquered the globe, now the Stars of Australia's Twenty20 World Cup winning side must climb their other Everest.

Glenn Maxwell and the Melbourne Stars will again be chasing an elusive maiden BBL title this season. © Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS Glenn Maxwell and the Melbourne Stars will again be chasing an elusive maiden BBL title this season.

Winning a Big Bash title.

Three weeks after their heroics in Dubai, the first batch of Australia's World Champions will return in the Melbourne Stars' BBL season-opener against the Sydney Sixers at the SCG.

Glenn Maxwell, Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis also enter in familiar circumstances.

Highly rated, but still yet to lift the major trophy after years of disappointments and cases of so-near-yet-so-far.

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"It would be nice to tick that all off in one summer," Maxwell said this week.

"Be part of the first team to win the T20 World Cup for Australia, and hopefully part of the first team to win a BBL title for the Stars."

On paper, the Stars again shape as one of the genuine contenders.

Maxwell was one of the form players of the IPL, Stoinis evolved into a genuine match-winner in Australia's T20 success and Zampa is close to the best legspinner in the world.

"We see Zampa's value as being the best in Australia, and probably the best in the world," Maxwell said.

"The way he performed in the T20 World Cup, along with Davey (Warner) was the player of the tournament.

"He's been outstanding for a really long time.

"He has changed his pace, his variations and tactically he always gets better, he is always learning."

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It's delivering that has historically been the bigger issue for the Stars.

Maxwell insists they're better placed than last year, pointing to greater depth with Qais Ahmed and Joe Clarke among the new faces.

Their first-up opponents in the Sixers remain the legitimate favourites.

They are light on for men from Australia's top XI, but have fringe stars in Josh Philippe, Dan Christian and Moises Henriques.

The two-time defending champions are also largely unaffected by international selectors, but have the best of the big English BBL contingent in James Vince, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan.

"If anything I almost think we're even more balanced this year," Henriques said.

"We've got guys who are good enough to be in the team for their bowling or batting alone.

"Sometimes you've got bits and pieces players who aren't quite good enough at one or the other bit, but thrown in for balance.

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"But Tom Curran is good enough to just be a death bowler, but bats and fields well

"Chris Jordan's the same. Dan Christian is good enough to be in as a batter or a bowler.

"And I'm good enough to be in the team as a batter and I can still bowl and field."

Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide have the opposite issues, stretched by Australia, Australia A and England selections.

Aaron Finch (knee) will also miss the start of the Renegades' campaign, while Hobart shape as a dark horse with World Cup star Matt Wade joining D'Arcy Short at the top of the order.

"I think it's our time, genuinely," Hurricanes quick Nathan Ellis said.

"We've got a good nucleus of six or seven players who have played together for a long time.

"We'll hopefully have Wadey for a lot of the games this year.

"It's our window. If we play sound, consistent cricket, we should be right up there."

Windies' Russell to fire up Stars in BBL .
Marcus Stoinis and Andrew Russell are among four key inclusions for the Melbourne Stars, who host the Sydney Thunder at the MCG. It comes after a young Stars side suffered a 152-run defeat to the Sydney Sixers on Sunday.Nathan Coulter-Nile (personal reasons) is also set to return, while Afghan spinner Qais Ahmad is out of quarantine and will make his first Stars appearance.But it is the club debut of powerful allrounder Russell that Stoinis says should have Melbourne fans salivating.

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