Stoinis glad of no more apple attacks in England


SOUTHAMPTON: Cri­cket behind closed doors may have its drawbacks, but it should at least spare Australia all-rounder Mar­cus Stoinis from being pelted with fruit again if he makes a return to international action in the upcoming limited-overs series in England.

The 31-year-old batting all-rounder has not featured for his country since their World Cup semi-final loss to eventual champions and tournament hosts England last year — a match in which he was out for a duck.

But he is now back in the squad for next month’s Twenty20 and One-day Inter­national series against England.

Unlike the World Cup semi-final, played at a raucous Edgbaston, September’s fixtures will not have any fans in the stands because of the novel coronavirus [Covid-19) outbreak.

And while star batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner were the main targets for English crowd taunts last year following their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Stoinis was not immune.

“We always love playing here [England] regardless,” Stoinis told reporters on Saturday. “The banter is usually pretty good. I did have an apple thrown at me last year but apart from that it’s pretty good. It will be a different experience. It will be up to the team to create some energy and run around.”

Stoinis was dropped after averaging a meagre 14.50 with the bat during the World Cup, with a side strain limiting his effectiveness as a medium-pace bowler.

But after more than a year of international exile, Stoinis has forced his way back into the squad after becoming the leading run-scorer in this season’s Australia’s domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League, with 705 runs at 54.23 for the Melbourne Stars.

“It can be frustrating when you feel like you’re results on the board and you don’t get rewarded,” said Stoinis, a veteran of 41 ODIs and 19 T20s. “But in the same breath there’s probably five, six, seven players who feel the same way. So you don’t get too carried away with it, you just keep doing your thing. It’s a nice reward to be back.”

Stoinis boosted his hopes of a recall with an unbeaten 21 off 17 balls in Australia’s first intra-squad match on Friday.

Matthew Wade managed to smash 36 off 18 overs, including three sixes off one Andrew Tye over, before a downpour at the Ageas Bowl brought the match to a halt.

At that stage, Pat Cummins’ XI to 60 without loss in their pursuit of 151 against Australia captain Aaron Finch’s XI.

Finch was in the runs Friday with 40, while fellow opener David Warner made 42.

The three-match T20 series starts at Sept 4, with three One-day Internationals between England, the 50-over world champions, and Australia following later in the month.

Australia selector George Bailey said the tourists already had an eye on the 2023 50-over World Cup in India.

“It’s a funny little time in the schedule given the removal of the Champions Trophy, it’s a big break between World Cups “So we’ve used the last couple of months to start to have a think around the strategy and philosophy that will hopefully hold us in good stead leading up to the World Cup in India in 2023, and we will start to slowly implement that,” Bailey said.