Australian cricket great Brad Hogg has criticised several BBL players after the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Stoinis missed games for the ailing Melbourne Stars. Off to a dismal 1-5 start, the Stars were without their aforementioned stars for their Boxing Day clash against the Sydney Sixers after they returned to Western Australia for Christmas.
It's been an unhappy start to the Big Bash season for the Stars, who were dealt a cruel blow when superstar Glenn Maxwell was ruled out for the season after suffering a freak leg injury prior to the tournament beginning. The team's losing record to start the season has lead to direct criticism of players from coach David Hussey.
Hussey had criticised the players' attitude after a brutal loss to the Perth Scorchers last week, and Hogg was of the belief that star players missing games would do nothing but add to the side's malaise. Speaking on commentary for SEN, Hogg said minor blemishes could become big problems when teams were battling for results the way the Stars have been this season.
“It’s always massive when you lose someone like Glenn Maxwell,” he said. “I’m listening to a few comments coach David Hussey has said over the last couple of days ... the attitude he wasn’t happy with them with the previous game.
“When you’ve got a couple players going home for Christmas and not participating in the game and then you’ve got the big injury of Glenn Maxwell, then it’s going to upset other players in your camp. I don’t like being negative on these sort of fronts, but you’re a team. You’ve signed a contract. You’re there for the long run.
“And some of these players aren’t playing all formats of the game for Australia so for me, there’s probably no excuse unless there’s some serious personal reasons to have to leave the team environment. Little things like that can upset the group.”
Melbourne Stars off to unhappy start to BBL campaign
Following their loss to the Sixers on Boxing Day, Hussey accused his side of vanishing 'when the heat was on', and was frustrated by the lack of teamwork on the field. He identified working with the captain on specific fielding plans as an area of ill discipline.
It came as commentator Brian Lara noted the Stars had 'no plan' in the field, with their bowlers struggling to generate wicket-taking opportunities. It remained a problem even with the absence of Coulter-Nile, who had taken just three wickets in three games leading up to Boxing Day.
“We just have to tidy up a few things – a bit of attitude, just focusing on what the skipper does and work with the skipper and execute your plans under a bit of pressure,” Hussey told Fox Cricket. “Our boys had a crack (against Perth) and competed but we just need to tidy up a few areas of the attitude I think.
“It’s more attitude as in we have a couple of team rules about competing and working with the captain on which plans to bowl to certain players and unfortunately those plans disappeared when the heat was on.”
The Stars' total of 135 was well below par, with Scorchers captain Ashton Turner (53 off 26 balls) and opener Adam Lyth (35 off 30 balls) helping get the home side over the line with 15 balls to spare. The result, in front of 27,752 fans, lifted the Perth Scorchers (4-1) to the top of the table, while the Stars (1-4) have now lost three in a row.
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