Glenn Maxwell leads depleted Stars lineup in bizarre Big Bash League fixture

BBL - Stars v Scorchers. Jan 2 2022
BBL - Stars v Scorchers. Jan 2 2022

The Melbourne Stars were forced to scrap together an unrecognizable playing eleven for their Big Bash League (BBL) fixture with the Perth Scorchers on Sunday.

The Stars had just eight players to pick from in the squad of 18 due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the team, with several replacement players called upon on the morning of the match.

Glenn Maxwell, Haris Rauf and Hilton Cartwright were among the sole mainstays of the team as the Stars looked through Melbourne club cricket ranks to find replacements.

Former Sixers player Justin Avendano, and Victorian Premier Cricket players Tom Rogers, Lachlan Bangs, Patrick Rowe, Xavier Crone and Charlie Wakim (Tasmania), were ultimately called-up to the 13-man squad.

Haris Rauf is one of the best T20 players in the world and his presence was a godsend for the Stars, given Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile Joe Burns and Beau Webster were all missing.

Sam Elliott, Clinton Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Sam Rainbird, Liam Hatcher and Billy Stanlake were also ruled out. Meanwhile, Andre Russell had already departed Australia to prepare for the West Indies' T20I series.

Perth Scorchers player Ashton Agar told Fox Cricket before the game that it was a surreal situation. He said:

“There’s a very different Stars outfit we come up against today but we’ve got have a lot of respect for them. They’ve still got a lot of quality players in that line-up and the best way to show respect is by bringing our A-game."

Meanwhile, Glenn Maxwell, the Melbourne Stars' skipper, told Fox Cricket that he had only met some of his new teammates in the nets just prior to the match.

As expected, the Perth Scorchers won the game comfortably, by a solid 50-run margin.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Scorchers made 8/180 from their 20 overs. The Stars were admirable in the second innings, with Clarke and Rogers putting on a solid opening-run stand of 78 runs. However, they were no match for the Scorchers from that point on are were bowled out for 130 after 18.5 overs.

The depletion of the Stars' side poses several questions over the BBL's integrity as COVID-19 continues to rear its ugly head in the competition.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Cricket Australia (CA) is considering relocating the entire BBL to Melbourne in a bid to complete the competition. This would be similar to what other sporting leagues in Australia have done during the pandemic - namely the AFL and NRL.

CA are concerned about a more crammed schedule but the Herald reports that the Stars would prefer games to be postponed in the event they cannot field teams, even if games are crammed together.

Additionally, English players playing in the BBL have been instructed by the England Cricket Board (ECB) to depart on January 7.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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