Sizzling Stoinis puts World Cup 'hurt' behind him

Allrounder opens up on missing last year's ODI World Cup decider as he gears up for major role in T20 title tilt

'It hurt a lot': Stoinis on World Cup final omission

Marcus Stoinis admits the sting of missing last year's ODI World Cup final on a fifty-fifty selection still stings – but the allrounder needs no extra motivation in Australia's push for T20 glory.

Stoinis has been one of the T20 World Cup's leading players from its initial stanza, firing his side to four straight wins with scores of 67no, 30 and 59 while adding six wickets with the ball. His batting strike-rate of 190.24 is the highest of anyone to have scored at least 50 runs in the tournament.

The allrounder was an important cog in the Aussies' 50-over campaign in India, but found himself out of the XI for the semi-final and final when selectors went for middle-order anchor in Marnus Labuschagne over Stoinis' more aggressive batting and seam bowling.

The decision had hinged on the Ahmedabad pitch produced for the decider, which sported long patches at either end that were drier than the middle and was the subject of intense examination from the Australians.

An expectation it would prove difficult to bat on meant Labuschagne got the nod late on match eve.

"Obviously it was between me and Marnus depending on the type of wicket that was going to be produced. To be honest, it hurt a lot," Stoinis told's Unplayable Podcast ahead of Australia's Super Eight match against Bangladesh.

Stoinis' disappointment was offset by his respect for Australia's support staff, calling out Andrew McDonald and his assistants Michael Di Venuto and Dan Vettori.

"My relationship with 'Ron' being so strong – I've known him for a long time, and he's been so good to me – but it was easier coming from him," the 34-year-old said of McDonald, who also previously coached Stoinis at Victoria.

"He's always super honest with me, I'm always super honest with him. We can have adult conversations and almost like a family where you have those strong conversations and move on.

"I reckon guys like Ron, and 'Diva' (Di Venuto) and Dan Vettori don't get spoken enough about. We are very lucky at the moment with the coaching staff that we've got with this group … I couldn't think of a better group to lead the next generation of this team."

Labuschagne's selection proved inspired as he shared in a match-winning partnership with Travis Head in Australia's famous upstaging of the tournament hosts.

It was however understandably a bitter pill to swallow for Stoinis, who had been a mainstay of the one-day side during the preceding 18 months. His tally of featuring in 21 Australia's previous 29 ODIs up to the semi against South Africa had been topped by only five others.

Stoinis celebrates with David Warner after Australia beat India to win the 2023 ODI World Cup // ICC via Getty

He said his frustration was directed at the unusual surface rather than those who made the call to leave him out.

"We all saw the wicket before (the game) and it looked shocking. It played OK, but it didn't look great at all. So that did frustrate me, in that you would love to rock up to the World Cup with a belting wicket," said Stoinis, a member of Australia's 2021 T20 World Cup-winning team.

"That frustrated me – but that also means I'm not frustrated at the coaches or anything like that.

"It ended up playing OK, but looking at it, it just shows that none of us know what wickets are doing. I was like, 'That's going to do everything'."

Coach Andrew McDonald and Pat Cummins inspect the Ahmedabad surface before last year's ODI World Cup final // ICC via Getty

Stoinis insists the snub is not a motivating factor for him in the Caribbean. At least not a major one. "I've got a lot of motivation – that's not particularly one of them," he said, before adding: "Maybe a little. But I'm not lacking motivation, that's for sure."

His status as one of Australia's most important T20 players has only been reinforced at this World Cup, continuing on from a strong Indian Premier League campaign at Justin Langer's Lucknow Super Giants that was highlighted by a 64-ball 124no against Chennai.

While strength of Australia's entire finishing group has been apparent through the group stage, Stoinis has been a clear standout.

Match Wrap | Stoinis, Head stand firm to spoil Scots surge

Against Oman and Scotland, he spearheaded the back-end of both innings expertly after lacklustre starts. Against England, he landed decisive blows to lift his side to the tournament's first 200-plus total on a pitch that got increasingly difficult to bat on as the ball aged.

A bulky power-hitter who targets the straight boundaries, Stoinis has also shown off a 'touch' game in this tournament when brute force is not necessarily enough. When the required run-rate against Scotland neared 14 per over, the right-hander pulled off a series of reverse-sweeps including one that caught a strong cross breeze and went for six.

Only Scotland's George Munsey has scored more runs with the reverse-sweep than Stoinis in this tournament, per Opta. That's an impressive feat given the Western Australian did not attempt the stroke even once during his 388-run IPL.

"The actual reverse sweep is a new one for me," said Stoinis, differentiating the stroke with a reverse lap shot that he aimed finer than a regular reverse sweep. "I practice it in the nets quite a lot."

Stoinis has faced his share of injury struggles over recent years but stressed his absence from the bowling crease against Scotland was precautionary given the gruelling upcoming run of travel and matches through the Super Eight stage and finals (if they qualify).

"I was a touch sore. It was talked about whether to play or to rest – I wanted to play – but then it meant I can't bowl, which also hurt the balance of the team," he said.

"So it was left in the coaches' and selectors' hands as to if that balance was going to be right (given) we played a lot of spinners. But that's all it was – I wanted to keep batting.

"But we need me to be bowling for the next five games … the heat turns up and it's going to be important to be fresh. It's going to be important to have our best team on the park."

2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup

Australia's squad: Mitch Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Australia's Group B fixtures

June 6: Beat Oman by 39 runs

June 9: Beat England by 36 runs

June 12: Beat Namibia by nine wickets

June 16: Beat Scotland by five wickets

Australia's Super Eight fixtures

21 June: v Bangladesh, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua, 10.30am AEST

23 June: v Afghanistan, Arnos Vale Ground, St Vincent, 10.30am AEST

25 June: v India, Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, St Lucia, 12.30am AEST

Semi-finals to follow if Australia qualify

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