Brisbane Heat have quashed media suggestions that Marcus Stoinis could be Queensland-bound for BBL|08, revealing that an offer for the Australia allrounder was made but is no longer on the table.
Stoinis, one of the world's most devastating hitters on his day and, as such, one of the tournament's most attractive out-of-contract players, was last week linked with the Heat, with the prospect of a sizeable deal and the promise of batting at No.3 listed as the lures used to entice the Stars batsman north.
However, cricket.com.au has since been informed that, while the Heat did approach Stoinis with what they believed was a strong offer, it is no longer available.
"We touched base with Marcus and put together what we felt was an attractive offer," said Heat General Manager, Andrew McShea.
"However, that offer is no longer on the table."
In an off-season in which franchises that struggled in BBL|07 – namely the Stars and Sydney Sixers – are likely to find it difficult to rebuild due to a plethora of players being committed to long-term deals, there is now a strong expectation that Melbourne will be doing all they can to retain one of their most prized assets, particularly given the additional absences of experienced trio Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Rob Quiney in BBL|08.
The Stars, who endured their worst Big Bash season last summer, are understood to be eager to pick up negotiations on Stoinis's return from New Zealand where he's set to feature in the trans-Tasman tri-series final on Wednesday evening, with both parties keen to resolve the matter within the next week.
Stoinis has been a central figure for the Melbourne Stars since joining them for BBL|03, and has played 28 matches for the club, with 493 runs at 23.47 and a top score of 99. He has taken 19 wickets in that time, with a career bowling economy of 8.5.
His strike-rate last summer was a career-best 144.35, highlighting the allrounder's continued improvement that has made him a sought-after prize, with his explosive potential revealed in that memorable knock of 146no for Australia in an ODI at Eden Park in January 2017.
The third player in the Stoinis saga is Perth Scorchers, a franchise that has made a policy of not speculating on potential signings but one that could well be a tempting proposition for the 28-year-old, who moved back to Perth last winter for family reasons having risen to prominence in state cricket with Victoria.
The Scorchers, three-time BBL champs, have forged a formidable reputation as a powerhouse backed by putting together a strong list based on local talent.