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Hastings to star as new captain

The Duke faces a new challenge in the upcoming KFC BBL as he takes over the captaincy from David Hussey

Fast bowler John Hastings is no stranger to Big Bash cricket but finds himself in unfamiliar territory as the new Melbourne Stars skipper for the upcoming season

The Duke, as he is affectionately known, has taken over the captaincy reins from David Hussey who led the Stars over the past two KFC Big Bash League seasons.

After calling time on his first-class and one-day careers due to injury, Hastings says the appointment was "proud" moment.

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"I feel very privileged but I also feel like I'm prepared and I'm ready," the all-rounder said.

"It's a club that I'm very close to, I've been here since inception so I would love to look back on my career and have captained a few victories and even a championship."

And Hastings has already got a few new plans up his sleeve, revealing he will throw the ball more to dynamic allrounder Glenn Maxwell this season as the Stars chase their elusive maiden title.

"'Maxi' is set for a big year, I've been watching him closely over the last few years and his game looks in great order," Hastings said.

"His shot selection and just the timing he has at the moment, he's very good bowler as well and I'll definitely be bowling him a little bit more too."

"He's got some good skills with the ball. He's a type of bloke that if you get into the game and really give him a bit of ownership it makes him play so much better, so hopefully we can draw that out of him."             

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With the likes of Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, James Faulkner in the Stars squad, Hastings' appointment as captain may come as a surprise to some fans.

It's not a decision he's taken lightly, having spent the last five months preparing for his new role with Stars coaches and teammates while he's also taken the captaincy reigns with his Victorian Premier Cricket side Frankston for their T20 matches this season.

"I've been working closely with Steve Fleming and our coaches and I've been speaking closely to our ex-captain David Hussey," said Hastings.

"I'll be working closely with 'Maxi' and Faulkner, they'll be my two go to men out there and I've got a great relationship with all the boys."

Hastings says he feels lucky to be in the position he's in now due to the amount of cricket he's missed with the Stars due to injury and national duties in recent years.

Having the club stick by him during his horror run of injuries, that included four shoulder reconstructions, four ankle surgeries and major knee surgery, meant a great deal to the 31-year-old.

"I'm at a stage in my career now where hopefully I can repay the Stars for being so good to me," Hastings continued.

"For me to get the chance to lead the group as well hopefully, I can have a really good Big Bash."

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The ability to park everything and channel his energy into T20 cricket has been the silver lining to Hastings' retirement from the other formats. 

In 2016, Hastings was the world's leading ODI wicket taker among fast bowlers, and he's confident he'll be able to recapture that form after a five-month hiatus from the top flight.

"I'm just trying to concentrate on the Big Bash and I truly believe if we have a successful time and I do okay I can push on and put my name up there," he said.

"I feel like I've got some really good cricket left, I still love the game, it's just that my body is not up to bowling 10, 15, 20 over spells anymore."

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