Stoinis worry for fallen Stars
MELBOURNE Stars face a fight to retain gun Marcus Stoinis in a fresh hurdle as they look to rejuvenate their stale list.
Big Bash League franchises rarely publicise contract lengths but the Herald Sun understands that Stoinis, 28, is among the six Stars out of contract.
The powerful all-rounder is set to receive overtures and returned to play for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield this season to be closer with his family.
BRAVO: INJURY COST ME $1.5 MILLION
REVEALED: WHAT 'KP' IS REALLY LIKE
The Stars have already farewelled batsmen Kevin Pietersen, Bob Quiney and Luke Wright. The other players without a deal for next season are all-rounder Evan Gulbis and bowler Ben Hilfenhaus.
Hilfenhaus, 34, did not play a game this summer. Gulbis, 31, played six of the past eight games and performed admirably
Recruit Ben Dunk is believed to have been lured on a lucrative five-year deal while out-of-favour spinner Michael Beer has a contract for next season.
Beer, 33, was targeted by Aaron Finch and blasted for 23 runs in one over. Despite being one of the more consistent spinners in recent seasons, Beer seemed to have his cards marks.
He was dropped after that match and featured only once in the final six games.
Dunk, 30, was the disappointment of the summer.
The opening batsman played all 10 matches but averaged just 11.5 runs as the Stars became the first club to travel a full season without posting a 30-run opening stand.
But Dunk has twice been the competition's leading run scorer and can be expected to bounce back.
The Stars are confident they can refresh for next summer with two new international signings and up to four new Australians.
They appear likely to throw the cheque book at foundation Sydney Sixers batsman Nic Maddinson, who is out of contract.
Several Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers players are set to be targeted by rivals.
The Stars can offer prospective recruits dollars as well as opportunities and boast the appeal of playing five home games at the MCG.
Pietersen's retirement helped free up significant salary cap space.
Coach Stephen Fleming has returned to Melbourne after the weekend's IPL auction as he and list boss Trent Woodhill set about repairing the club after its wooden-spoon season.
They are renowned as two of the shrewdest T20 heads in world cricket.
The Stars marvelled at the impact of world imports Jofra Archer (Hurricanes) and Rashid Khan (Strikers) this summer and superstar Glenn Maxwell has urged the club to recruit some lethal bowlers.
Khan's 17 scalps bettered the Stars' top two leading wicket-takers - captain John Hastings (10) and James Faulkner (six).
Losing Stoinis would be a blow to the club's hopes of returning to the finals next season.
Perth Scorchers coach Justin Langer spoke glowingly of Stoinis after beating the Stars last month
"In a perfect world he got 90 (runs) and we won," Langer said.
"Because he's one of ours, really. Isn't he? A West Australian."
The Stars' home crowds dropped by 31.5 per cent this season as they slumped to 2-8.
They averaged 31,628 at the MCG after pulling a BBL-record average of 49,578 to their four home games last summer.