Final nail in Stars’ sorry season, Heat’s aggressive push
MARCUS Stoinis will bat at No.3 for Brisbane Heat next season if he accepts a lucrative contract offer from the Big Bash franchise who are making major waves as they bid to add reinforcements to their team for next year's campaign.
In addition to their aggressive pursuit of Stoinis, FoxSports.com.au understands the Heat are also ready to make a big play for giant South African quick Morne Morkel.
The 28-year-old Stoinis has been promised the coveted first drop position if he chooses to bid farewell to the Melbourne Stars, where he batted predominantly in the middle order in the season just completed.
Stoinis batted at No.5 in four out of his five BBL games before he linked up with the Australian one-day international squad, but was sent up the order to open alongside Ben Dunk against the Adelaide Strikers, hitting 39 off 29 balls.
A top three of Chris Lynn, captain Brendon McCullum and Stoinis would rival any T20 trio in the world.
If the big-hitting all-rounder decides to cut ties with the Stars, it would complete what has been a successful career kick-starter in Victoria.
Stoinis returned to Western Australia for family reasons before the start of the summer after establishing himself as a potential Test player of the future for the Bushrangers, while his time at the Stars has seen his profile grow to the point where the selectors now see him as one the country's two finest all-rounders.
While he is understood to be at the top of Heat coach Daniel Vettori's wishlist, the franchise has another battle on its hands to keep Pakistani leg-spinner Shadab Khan.
Pakistan is scheduled to travel to South Africa for a six-week tour in December 2018 and most of January next year, meaning the talented tweaker would again be unavailable for the vast majority of what is likely to be a 14-game home and away season in BBL 08.
Shadab took six wickets in three games for the Heat in December but missed the next seven due to international duty.
He is contracted for next season but it remains to be seen whether both the club, player and Pakistan's Cricket Board can come to a suitable arrangement.
The Heat is not the only club looking at its international player options with one eye on the ICC's future tours program.
England has a bare patch over next summer's Christmas period, which could see Vettori and his list management staff target Mason Crane or Adil Rashid to cover Shadab.
At roughly the same time as Crane or Rashid may be required to tour the West Indies in February 2019, Shadab would become available.
The wildcard in the pack is Ben Stokes, who last month attracted $2.4 million in the IPL Auction, and his availability would send BBL clubs scrambling to pitch a deal.
England captain Joe Root is another who is understood to be on the radar of at least two BBL clubs, while Stuart Broad has represented the Brisbane Heat in the past.
Foxsports.com.au understands the Heat have no shortage of space to accommodate more than one big name recruit and have already signalled their intention to be aggressive in the signing window, which opened last week.
Stoinis' swashbuckling 99 against the Heat at the Gabba early in the BBL is understood to have whet Vettori's appetite for the right-hander, especially given the franchise lost its last four matches after winning its first six and failed to make the top four.
Stoinis the bowler is less of an attraction, although his economy rate of 10.62 in five matches this summer is not as bad as it first appears when you consider he often bowled at the death for the Stars.
He also took five wickets in BBL 07 and has seven ODI wickets from 13 games at the top level.