Australia in India 2016-17 March 14, 2017

Stoinis relies on confidence, not form, for India tour


If Marcus Stoinis makes his debut in Ranchi, he will be Australia's fifth No. 6 since the start of the summer © Getty Images

Mitchell Marsh, Callum Ferguson, Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Mitchell Marsh ... Marcus Stoinis? The man who may become the latest in a string of Test No. 6s for Australia since the start of the summer has arrived in India, and is confident that he will be able to adapt quickly to the conditions if called on to make his debut in Ranchi this week.

Stoinis was flown to India to replace Marsh, who was sent home after Australia's loss in Bengaluru with a shoulder problem that had also caused him troubled during the home summer. Should Australia's selectors opt for an allrounder at No.6, the seam-bowling Stoinis and the offspinning Glenn Maxwell are the two likely candidates. Usman Khawaja as a specialist batsman is a third possibility.

The call-up of Stoinis raised a few eyebrows in Australian cricket, given his poor batting form this Sheffield Shield season, during which he has made 197 runs at 17.90 without a half-century. It is hardly the kind of form expected of a Test No.6, but national selector Trevor Hohns made it clear Stoinis had been picked due to his performances on a 2015 Australia A tour of India, as well as because he was the strongest bowling option among allrounders.

Perhaps the selectors also noted that when they last picked Stoinis, for the Chappell-Hadlee Series tour of New Zealand earlier this year, he was able to step up despite a lean patch that featured only one half-century from his past 29 innings across all formats. Stoinis flew to Auckland and smashed an unbeaten 146 in his first match of the series.

"New Zealand was a breakout for me," Stoinis told reporters in Ranchi on Tuesday. "Waiting 18 months for another international game after my first one was really pleasing personally. And then I still know [I've had] a good three or four years of Shield cricket where I've been in the top four or five run scorers. So the confidence is there and that's cricket, it can change so quickly."

It is true that despite Stoinis' lack of Shield runs this summer, he has been a consistent performer in the long format for Victoria in the past few years. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, Stoinis has been second only to Peter Handscomb on Victoria's Shield run list - during a period in which the state has won two out of two Shield titles and has also reached the final of this year's tournament.

During that same period, Stoinis was part of the Australia A squad that played two first-class matches in Chennai in 2015, and he impressed the selectors in the first of those games with a first-innings 77. He also picked up three wickets at 31.00 during the series, including the wickets of current India Test players Cheteshwar Pujara and Karun Nair.

"Coming here for the Aussie A, it actually did suit my bowling," Stoinis said. "A couple staying low, a couple grabbing off the wicket, off-cutters. You've just got to hit the wicket hard here and see if anything happens off the wicket there."

It remains to be seen whether Stoinis will become Australia's 451st Test cricketer in Ranchi, or whether the selectors will lean towards either Maxwell or Khawaja. Either way, it will mean a fifth change of Australia's Test No.6 since the start of the home summer.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cornel0115175 on March 15, 2017, 8:08 GMT

    Steady SAMROY... keep your shirt on mate.

  • cornel0115175 on March 15, 2017, 8:07 GMT

    Poor old Hilton Hotel Cartwright must be feeling hard done by

  • Bloody on March 15, 2017, 2:41 GMT

    If Australia is serious about winning the series, Khawaja is the only option. Who needs a batting order that ends at 5?

  • Bloody on March 15, 2017, 2:39 GMT

    Henriques scored a double, almost triple century a couple of weeks ago. He was called in at the end of Australia's last disastrous tour of India and did reasonably in conditions the rest were floundering in. I can't see how Stonis is a better bowler.... I just don't get it.

  • shired5700047 on March 14, 2017, 17:53 GMT

    If OZ are serious about 3rd crucial Test in Ranchi then include Maxwell instead Stoinis. Because one more turning track and slow wicket is awaiting, maxie can atleast offer spin bowling option and without doubt he is handy batsmen at 6. For sure, Stoinis will not play any role in team for Ranchi Test if he gets in. Smithy you gotta think smart...

  • Shanti on March 14, 2017, 15:51 GMT

    @cricfan08270811 on March 14, 2017, 15:26 GMT

    Yes. I agree. After all the experiments with number six, finally Australia will still end up landing on a Marshy land! You can bet your hut on it, without any risk. It is just a matter of time. Meanwhile all these boys take turns in keeping the position 6 warm, for the 'permanet younger kid of Oz cricket' - the moment his injury gets healed. Good for ya Mitchy Marshy!

  • Shanti on March 14, 2017, 15:43 GMT

    After Marcus Stoinis playing at 6, and Wade at 7, Australia will b still at sixes & sevens.

  • dwowor8664332 on March 14, 2017, 15:26 GMT

    It doesn't matter which one of Stoinis or Maxwell play, they will make way for M. Marsh who has secured the no. 6 when he recovers from his "injury", just in time for the ashes no less. By selecting Stonis who averages 17 with the bat and 47 with the ball, the selectors are hoping that the replacement number 6 does not perform well, so that they can more easily replace him with M. Marsh when the time comes.

  • sam on March 14, 2017, 14:49 GMT

    Stoinis is a fine player and a bit of an Adonis as well. Good looking fella.

  • god0179873294 on March 14, 2017, 13:35 GMT

    another junior marsh is coming...... Our future captain Travis Head should b in place of him... We should have some common that we can get 20 wickets... Problem is our batting especially in no 6 and 7... Why we guys worry about our bowling attack?? In fact we have a better attack than india... Just tight the batting bringing khawaja or maxi...No all rounder is needed for us... 7 batsman and 4 bowler is perfect for winning the matches....

  • No featured comments at the moment.