Overstocked Aussies likely have no room for BBL’s best
Glenn Maxwell is likely to be given a chance to walk back into Australian colours on Tuesday, but the same fate is not expected to be granted to Marcus Stoinis.
Melbourne Stars opener Stoinis is the Big Bash's leading run-scorer and was picked to headline the competition's ceremonial team of the year - alongside Maxwell.
Both players were marked hard for their poor World Cups last year in the 50-over format, but in Stoinis' case, the road back to international level seems as though it might be a lot tougher.
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Aussie selectors, including the newest panel member George Bailey, met on Monday to discuss Australia's Twenty20 and one-day squads to head to South Africa later this month.
Maxwell is likely to return to the T20 side, but despite Stoinis' blockbuster BBL summer, there may be no room at the inn just months out from the Twenty20 World Cup.
Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch said in an interview 10 days ago that Stoinis was considered a specialist top three batsman in the shortest format - the area where Australia are well stocked already.
If Stoinis is no longer seen has a middle-order candidate by selectors, his options for Australia appear limited with Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith currently locked in at the top.
"You can't question the runs he's (Stoinis) putting on the board. He's playing nicely. It's just been a bit unfortunate that the top three in the Australian side is quite settled at the moment and that's the reality," Finch said.
"For him to get a game at the top of the order, something has to go wrong for the three guys in it.
"We always talk about who should be in the side and who shouldn't be. But the reality is there still has to be a spot available for guys to force their way back in.
"It's just one of those things. It's unfortunate for him, especially the way he's been playing.
"… But there still has to be a spot there.
"A lot of the (T20) team is progressing quite nicely I think … its' about making sure you're the next person in line when something happens to guys in the side."
Finch nominated Adelaide Strikers star Jono Wells as a potential bolter for the Australian T20 squad, and his finishing role in the middle-order is something selectors may want a look at at international level.
Mitchell Marsh's strong BBL also brings him firmly back into calculations for the T20 and ODI teams as a middle-order option.
Selectors are unlikely to tinker with Australia's one-day outfit too much, after they pushed India in last month's series on the sub-continent.
It's a no-brainer for Maxwell to return to the Twenty20 side. The only reason he dropped out of it back in November, was due to his bravery in putting his hand up for a mental health break.
This Big Bash has proven Maxwell's skills in T20 batting are hard to match.
Plenty have been calling for Maxwell to return to the 50-over format too after Australia lacked a late innings finisher in the final two of their three fixtures in India.
However, ODI cricket is a vastly different format to T20s, and Maxwell's underwhelming 50-over World Cup was the reason why Australian selectors opted to go in a different direction.
Meanwhile, the Melbourne Stars with Stoinis, Maxwell and Haris Rauf, and the Adelaide Strikers with Wells, Peter Siddle and Rashid Khan dominated the BBL team of the year.
2019-20 BIG BASH LEAGUE TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT
Marcus Stoinis (Melbourne Stars)
Josh Inglis (wk, Perth Scorchers)
Matthew Wade (Hobart Hurricanes)
Glenn Maxwell (c, Melbourne Stars)
Jon Wells (Adelaide Strikers)
Mitchell Marsh (Perth Scorchers)
Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers)
Rashid Khan (Adelaide Strikers)
Daniel Sams (Sydney Thunder)
Peter Siddle (Adelaide Strikers)
Haris Rauf (Melbourne Stars)