A calf injury to paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile has already proved costly for the Melbourne Stars – and more pain might be on the way for the BBL side.
Coulter-Nile was talked out of bowling the final over in a Boxing Day thriller against the Sydney Sixers on the Gold Coast amid fears he could make his injury worse.
Instead, Stars’ captain Glenn Maxwell took the ball but conceded 20 runs off five balls as the Sixers snatched a one-wicket victory with just one ball to spare.
Sixers’ batsman Daniel Hughes hit a six, a four and another six at the start of the over before holing out off the fourth delivery to fall for 96 off just 51 deliveries.
Needing four to win with two balls remaining, a full-toss from Maxwell deflected off Stephen O’Keefe’s thigh and away to the boundary.
The decision to bowl part-timer Maxwell was supported by Stars’ coach David Hussey, who said after the game that Coulter-Nile was looking at two to three weeks on the sidelines.
“He said he can try and bowl, and we’re sort of encouraging him to do that because he’s a competitor and wants to win,” Hussey said.
“But Glenn rightly said, ‘well mate, it’s a two-week injury, three-week injury, or if you do more damage by bowling it might be rest of the season’.
“Glenn rightly chose the correct call and unfortunately Nathan’s probably (going to) miss a few games now.”
Despite the result and Coulter-Nile’s injury, the Stars left Metricon Stadium excited after the first BBL batting display by West Indies left-hander Nicholas Pooran.
The 25-year-old combined with Maxwell in a 125-run fifth-wicket partnership, scoring 65 off just 26 deliveries including eight sixes, providing an instant return on the Stars’ efforts to lure him to Melbourne.
“The amount of work to get him over the line to play for us was just phenomenal,” Hussey said.
“Our general manager, he did a lot of the work, calls back and forth in the middle of the night. Dealing with his agents and then he’s in New Zealand quarantine.
“It was a lot of hard work but we finally got him done and, yeah, we’re just rapt to have him here. If he keeps lighting up the BBL, it’s going to be great to watch.”
The Stars will also welcome back Australian international Marcus Stoinis for their clash with the Sydney Thunder in Canberra on Tuesday after he was rested for the Sixers’ match.