Stoinis returns to his garden of Eden | cricketnetwork.com

Stoinis returns to his garden of Eden

14 February 2018

Allrounder back at the ground where his 'career pretty much started' 12 months ago

Eden Park has not always been the happiest of hunting grounds for Australia but Marcus Stoinis has good reason to be grateful he's back at the venue that altered the course of his career.

A little over a year ago, the relatively unknown allrounder announced himself to the cricket world with arguably one of the greatest one-day international innings ever by an Australian, albeit in a losing cause.

His astonishing 117-ball 146, featuring 11 sixes, from No.7 got Australia to within six runs of victory before No.11 Josh Hazlewood was run out. Black Caps coach Mike Hesson likened the powerfully-built Australian to Superman following his heroics.

Maximum Marcus Stoinis smashes 11 sixes

Stoinis had spent nearly 18 months out of Australia's limited-overs sides and was only called up for that ODI tour due to an injury to first-choice allrounder Mitch Marsh.

Warned by coach Darren Lehmann of Eden Park's famously parochial Kiwi crowd and their propensity to throw frozen seafood at Australian players, Stoinis instead garnered a standing ovation for his memorable knock.

"I've heard it's pretty rare," the 28-year-old said of the reception. "Our coach apparently got hit by a fish one time off the boundary.

"That was amazing for me and very respectful from the crowd. I found out later how rare that it is so a very special moment for me.

"Some good memories. My career pretty much started here so I'm excited to be back."

Super Stoinis sets new all-round benchmark

The innings propelled him from fringe player to now being a key part of Australia's limited-overs sides, earning selection for the Champions Trophy squad later that year.

Since missing out in that tournament, Stoinis has played in all but one of Australia's ODIs and T20Is and looms as a key figure in the ongoing T20 tri-series, which resumes when Australia play New Zealand on Friday.

"I debuted maybe 18 months before I came here to Eden Park, but it was only that one game (each) in one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket," Stoinis said.

"So to come back after 18 months and do well and help the team out, it was just a 'thank God' sort of thing (that) I'm here now and I can get a few games."

Australia's T20 squad – minus stand-in captain David Warner, who has been allowed some extra at home before he rejoins the squad on Thursday – trained out the back of the imposing Auckland venue on Wednesday.

Match wrap: Williamson fires Black Caps to T20 win

Heavy rain meant the nets were off limits, though the tourists nonetheless braved the wet for a series of ball games to loosen the limbs following their short flight from Melbourne the previous day.

Australia have already qualified for next Wednesday's final at Eden Park and while Stoinis expects to remain in the middle-order despite having batted just once in Australia's three wins on home soil, he kept the door ajar to the tourists potentially making changes for Friday’s game.

"It just plays into the brand of cricket we want to play which is fearless cricket," Stoinis said. "We are in the final so now we can really just continue that (mentality).

"You always want to face as many balls as you can. But in this team and the balance of the line-up, I think No.6, maybe No.5 is where (I’m) going to be."

Australia have lost their past three games at Eden Park, including their thrilling one-wicket defeat to the Kiwis in the group-stage of the 2015 World Cup, while the only T20I they've played at the ground was the shortest format's first-ever international in 2005.

Ponting re-lives Australia's first-ever T20 match

And while Stoinis might have won Auckland's respect a year ago, his advice for teammates playing here for the first time suggests he doesn't expect any further pleasantries.

"Don't field on the boundary otherwise you'll cop it."

Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-Series

First T20I Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets. Scorecard

Second T20I Australia beat England by five wickets. Scorecard

Third T20I Australia beat England by seven wickets. Scorecard

Fourth T20I New Zealand beat England by 12 runs. Scorecard

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21

Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.

About the Writer

 @LouisDBCameron
@LouisDBCameron

Louis Cameron is a Melbourne-based journalist. A former Victorian Bushrangers fast bowler, Louis joined the cricket.com.au team with assistance from the Australian Cricketers' Association's Internship Program in 2016.