Australia in India, 2017 March 13, 2017

Stoinis v Maxwell: a Victoria duel

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Quick Facts - Marcus Stoinis

One of the quirks of international cricket can be the pitting of two players from the same state for the same role even though the pair may take on quite different posts in domestic ranks. Throw in an argument within the same state over who should bat where and the identity of Australia's new No. 6 batsman becomes even more fascinating.

Ahead of the pivotal third Border-Gavaskar Test in Ranchi, Australia's selectors seem to be pondering one of the Victorians Marcus Stoinis or Glenn Maxwell for the No. 6 batting position in place of the injured Mitchell Marsh and ahead of the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade - another Bushranger. While Maxwell has the advantage of being part of the touring squad for the entire trip so far, Stoinis seems a smoother replacement for Marsh given his all-round skills and strong seam bowling.

Maxwell was not even in the Victorian Shield side at the start of the summer, having been dropped seemingly as a result of his unsuccessful attempt to move north to New South Wales during pre-season. When he did return, runs were not so easy to come by, though one innings of 81 illustrated his qualities. A tally of 129 runs at 25.80, batting largely at Nos. 6 and 7, underwhelms.

Stoinis, meanwhile, has been the Bushrangers' preferred choice at No. 3 for several seasons and has done so with some distinction - until this season. In seven matches he has tallied a mere 197 at 17.90, making his highest score of 46 in his most recent match against Western Australia in Alice Springs. Much has been made of Stoinis' improved bowling in the past 12 months, but as a batsman only his breakout 146 in an ODI against New Zealand at Eden Park last month has provided a reminder of the composure and power that led Victoria to pick him at first drop in the first place.

Wade, Victoria's captain, has watched Stoinis closely over several seasons. "He has developed beautifully," Wade said. "He has batted at No. 3 for Victoria over a three or four-year period now and averaged quite high in first class cricket. I think he's only got improvement, I said that to him before he got picked in the one day team in New Zealand and we saw what he did there.

Marcus Stoinis got Matthew Wade's vote of confidence © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

"He's not a finished product that's for sure. He'll come in and play a really strong role for us if we need him but he'll improve playing each game at international level. No one expects people to come in and start dominating international cricket from ball one, but he'll improve from game to game that he gets at international level."

In terms of roles, Wade acknowledged that Stoinis' use in the top order had been devised partly to help his chances of international selection. "I think he's a very strong batter. Obviously batting No. 3 in Shield cricket has placed him in a really good spot to play an allround role for Australia," Wade said. "He can bat anywhere in the order.

'But the last couple of years we've seen improvements from his bowling. [Playing for] Australia A he really, really took the pace off. He knocked off a couple of their big players in that series so I think the last couple of years that's probably what the selectors have seen a bit more in him. They always knew he was a really strong batter, but his bowling has improved out of sight the last few years."

Stoinis and Wade, of course, have been two of the batsmen coming in earlier in the Bushrangers' order than Maxwell, a point he raised earlier in the season and was subsequently fined as a result. At the time, Steven Smith said Maxwell's comment that it was "painful" to be batting below Wade in the Bushrangers order had been highly disrespectful.

"I think probably batting below the wicketkeeper is also a bit painful as well," Maxwell had said. "I think the wicketkeeper should be batting at seven unless you're trying to squeeze an extra bowler into your line-up."

That same week, the coach Darren Lehmann had retorted to questions about Maxwell's possible Test selection with the words: "Are you going to pick a bloke who hasn't made a hundred in two years?"

Given all that history, it was perhaps not so surprising that Wade was unsure how Maxwell would bat if given the nod to rejoin the Test team in Ranchi.

"In Test cricket, you've got to show defence first, obviously," he said. "But I've got no idea how Glenn's going to come out and play if he gets the opportunity, that's probably a question you would have to ask him. But in Test cricket, your game is built around defence at times, but I'm not sure how he'll play if he comes out."

As it stands, the selectors seem left to choose between Maxwell, and an alternative in Stoinis who hasn't made a Sheffield Shield half-century this season. The apparently least likely option is to recall Usman Khawaja, a player with far more recent runs behind him.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris_P on March 15, 2017, 4:44 GMT

    BTW, Thanks @CRICFAN5833471791 & cheers. In my time with Fairfield I never left a match with a victory over your club. I do think UK is an outstanding player & would never cast any doubts over his talent, but he needs to improve his work against quality spin, but he isn't alone on that score. Cheers again

  • Chris_P on March 15, 2017, 4:11 GMT

    @PAUL_RAMPLEY. I see you're clutching at straws now. You should have quit while you were only partly behind, now you just dug yourself in deeper. Little to no idea, as I initially suspected, although you have no argument with me with the Marshes. @THEREALMCCOY1369. UK's test form has been outstanding the past few years & anywhere except on spinning pitches, should be one of the first guys selected, but he clearly struggles on turning pitches against quality spinners, much more than the others in the squad.

  • Chris_P on March 15, 2017, 4:05 GMT

    @PAUL_RAMPLEY. His 1st grade average is 40! That is way below the 80+ you said he had after supposedly looking up his stats. Not only me but just about everyone knows of his issues on turning wickets. BTW, My heritage isn't English either, it is also very much more of a minority than Indian so please don't play the race card with me. Yes UK played Yasir well, but where did he play on turning pitches? Big Bash means squat, those pitches are dead flat! Again, I have never doubted his ability, just his shortcomings on turning pitches. Given your wildly inaccurate statements about Khawaja's 1st grade stats after claiming you looked them up, I seriously doubt you even looked up Khawaja's NSW SCG stats. Credibility issues are vibrant with you lad, big time. You made the statement he has 80+ ave based on you looking it up and you weren't even close.

  • TherealMcCoy1369 on March 15, 2017, 3:51 GMT

    Who cares what Khawaja averaged at club level. He is a a proven batsman at test level , period. Why else was he picked for THIS tour? They clearly believe in him , unless they felt he could use a vacation in India, Regardless of his failings in Sri Lanka , did any Aussie batsman succeed there? In this test , they are going to need an extra front line batsman , make no mistake. At 4 down , you need a proper bat coming in who will build an innings , rather than an all rounder. Khawaja may not get selected , but in my opinion he has earned a chance.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 15, 2017, 3:20 GMT

    chris also noting you have taken khawaja's average for the entire duration, he was a kid when he started playing for randwick from the stats maybe 16. Look at his avrage in the last few years and yes its 80+. Seriously mate as a Indian growing up in Australia i am tired of the one sub continent player in our aussie side getting the blame for everything. He was the best batsman for us in the summer and the rock along with smith and for him not to be playing this series when he handled spin so well in the test summer here is appaling for us as a country as a whole and we need to move past this. You signify the typical khawaja biased fan who despite his mountain of runs still gets picked on for nothing. Thankfully you are the minority

  • Paul_Rampley on March 15, 2017, 3:16 GMT

    Chris i checked your stats and they are made up mate. Seriously are you questioning khawaja's class for NSW, he along with the late Hughes were NSW best 2 young batsman at the time. Did you watch khawaja cream Yasir shah this summer, he was all class. Did you see him in the big bash where he won thunder the title and smashed spinners from Melbourne stars and Adelaide and Brisbane. The guy plays spin as well as anyone in the team but because his last name is not marsh he gets pigeoned hole for not playng spin and i think its appaling for a diverse country like us to be doing this.

  • cricfan5833471791 on March 14, 2017, 23:11 GMT

    @PAUL_RAMPLEY. I have connections with Randwick-Petersham & on our website it shows all the stats plus this;

    In 12 seasons with Randwick Petersham Usman played 149 matches and scored 5,620 runs at an average of 40.72 with 15 centuries. He was the first player to score 5,000 club runs and at the end of 2013-14 remained the highest scoring 1st Grade batsman with 4,871 runs. No-one has scored more centuries for the club. He returned for one game in 2014-15 scoring 24 not out and taking his total runs to 4,895.

    He never, to my recollection ever averaged 80 in a season let alone his career with our club. All relevant information is on our website.

  • Mad_Hamish on March 14, 2017, 22:26 GMT

    Stonis averages 35 in first class cricket with a total of 4 100s, he's been completely unproductive with the bat this season. Maxwell averages close to 40 with the bat and batting down the order for Vic now has had little chance to build an innings this season. With 33 wickets @48 from 43 matches his bowling is perhaps not quite as strong as this article is making it out to be, he has 8 wickets @43 this season.

  • cricfan4529057138 on March 14, 2017, 22:24 GMT

    Why on earth would they pick Stoinis? M. Marsh bowled five overs in two tests, we certainly don't need another seamer. Personally I would pick Khawaja, who has been treated appallingly. Give him a chance! Maxwell can bowl, but so can Steve Smith. Talking of Smith, he needs to bat at 4, where all the best batsmen bat. S. Marsh is the ideal 3, Khawaja at 5 and Handscome 6. Done.

  • Chris_P on March 14, 2017, 22:24 GMT

    @PAUL_RAMPLEY Good joke Paul, you got me. I looked up UK's average for Petersham, his main club, & look what it shows!

    BATTING Season Mtch Inns N.O. Best Runs Ave. 100 50 Ct. 2003-04 10 12 2 67 363 36.30 2 4 2004-05 17 19 2 120 486 28.59 1 2 5 2005-06 12 14 0 102 360 25.71 1 2 6 2006-07 21 24 1 115* 690 30.00 1 3 14 2007-08 19 21 2 138 1134 59.68 5 3 3 2008-09 12 12 1 102* 641 58.27 2 5 3 2009-10* 11 8 1 189 506 72.29 3 3 T20 2 2 0 38 68 34 1 2010-11 9 8 1 32* 121 17.29 8 2011-12 12 12 0 128 500 41.70 1 3 2 2013-14 1 1 0 2 2 2 0 2014-15 1 1 1 24 24 - 0 Totals 127 134 11 189 4,895 39.80 14 20 49

    Average of 39.80!! Somewhat less than 80 I would suggest. Next time you make-up stats, look them up, sunshine. And I still maintain he cannot play on spinning pitches. Cheers.

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