Stoinis tipped to reprise top-order role for Stars
Melbourne Stars' desire to deploy Marcus Stoinis in the top order shapes as another heavy blow to the all-rounder's Twenty20 World Cup dream.
Stoinis, 30, smacked 553 runs at an average of 53.3 as an opener in last summer's Big Bash League and again looks set to bat in the powerplay.
But with Australia's T20 top order locked, Stoinis's best chance of cracking the World Cup squad appears to be as a specialist finisher.
The Aussies will roll out a top four of Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell when they look to win their first bit of T20 silverware in next year's home tournament.
That means coach Justin Langer will use the Big Bash to search for middle-order blasters with a knack of getting their teams home in tight run chases.
At the top of the list are Ashton Turner (Scorchers) and Ben McDermott (Hurricanes) with keeper Alex Carey likely to bat at No. 6 or 7.
The Aussies have decided against stacking their middle order with openers, which also has Chris Lynn (Heat) and D'Arcy Short (Hurricanes) well down the pecking order.
Stars captain Glenn Maxwell said his franchise wouldn't compromise its quest to win a maiden BBL title so that Stoinis could audition for the World Cup.
"We'll still do what's right for the Stars. I'll have that chat with Marcus as well, but I think he'll still be keen to open the batting," Maxwell told the Herald Sun on the cusp of the international summer.
"It's the best thing for our side as well (for Stoinis to bat at the top). He scored a lot of runs last year and was our best player of the tournament.
"We're not going to put our team in jeopardy for the sake of one player.
"As much as he'd love to get back there, I know that he loves opening the batting and he enjoys it there."
Stoinis and Nic Maddinson are likely to bat in the top three in today's (Monday) practice match against the Renegades at Junction Oval.
Shane Warne said last summer that Stoinis was a matchwinner with similar spirit to Merv Hughes, Andrew Flintoff and Darren Gough.
But while Stoinis lit up last summer's BBL with the bat and excelled as a death bowler, even playing himself into the Test squad, he then endured a frustrating year at international level.
Stoinis battled multiple side strain injuries during a World Cup campaign that never gained momentum and was then overlooked for the Ashes and cut from Australia's T20 squad.