Dubbed ‘Melbourne’s favourite cricket team,’ the MCG will be swamped with green this summer as the Melbourne Stars vie for the BBL|02 title.
Making the finals last year by the skin of their teeth, and bowing out gracefully against the Perth Scorchers, the Stars have once again recruited a strong team, with the likes of Captain Shane Warne, David Hussey, and Sri Lankan icon Lasith Malinga.
As we approach the start of the tournament, three weeks from now, let’s take a look at some of the big name players that will don the green shirts this summer:
David Hussey: Just like his older brother, David has been around the cricketing scene for many years. Excellent batsman and very handy offspinner. Scored 243 runs in the BBL|01 campaign, and will be looking to give the Stars every possible ounce of power he can muster. Is a one-day and Twenty20 specialist, and can put together a big score in a short time (scored a 19 ball half century in a 2008 ODI). Will be a big player in lighting up the MCG.
Lasith Malinga: The blonde speedster is a massive recruit for the Stars this summer. Capable of frightening speeds and has hurt more than one or two batsmen during his tenure. Malinga has more than 150 wickets and a five wicket haul across any form of Twenty20. Has seen massive improvement in the last two years, resulting in his career wicket haul skyrocket. Will be not only a big crowd booster but will give Sri Lankan fans something to cheer about.
Luke Wright: The English allrounder smashed 117 against the Hobart Hurricanes last year, showcasing he was no slouch. Has been a very helpful player for England in the shorter forms, and will give the Stars another allround bowling option. Is very fluid when wielding a bat – and very impressive when playing his shots.
Shane Warne: Words are simply not enough to describe the legendary leg-spinner. Was recruited as a marquee last year, and while he didn’t reap all the rewards, Warnie certainly was very popular with the crowds. Beautiful and uncannily accurate commentary on balls he is about to bowl is pure entertainment for those watching on TV. As Stars captain for BBL|02, will impart an incredible amount of cricketing knowledge on the team.
Brad Hodge: Poached from cross-town rivals the Melbourne Renegades, Hodge is a machine. Age is not keeping him down, and he is continuing to accumulate runs in the Twenty20 format. Extremely destructive, and can take apart an attack at will. Will bring a fantastic atmosphere and some real life to the MCG.
Stars v Renegades: The inaugural derby was cut short by rain in BBL|01. With a stronger team for BBL|02, all money points to the Stars, and the Renegades having lost key bowler Dirk Nannes to the Sydney Thunder, all signs point to a Stars win in both the Etihad Stadium and MCG clashes. David Hussey and Shane Warne look very much in form and are ready to take on the boys in red.
Stars v Sixers: Against the inaugural Big Bash League and 2012 Champions League Twenty20 champions, the Stars will come up against their toughest opponent. Josh Hazelwood and Moses Henriques found some form in the recent CLT20, and they will be hoping to transfer that form across to the BBL. However, the Stars certainly have the firepower to give the Sixers a mighty scare. With the game at the MCG, Stars fans will be cheering the boys on to a win.
So grab your cameras, jump on the train, and head down to the MCG this summer to watch the Melbourne Stars take on some of the best Australia has to offer.