'Other' Stars recruits could shine brightest
Michael Clarke stole the headlines but Adam Zampa and Evan Gulbis could be the key recruits for Melbourne
17 April 2015, 05:09 PM AEST
The fanfare was for Michael Clarke, but the two other signings for the Melbourne Stars are set to have more impact than their marquee leader.
Clarke's impact on the 2015-16 KFC T20 Big Bash League will be limited by his Test commitments. But the coup to steal leg-spinner Adam Zampa away from the Adelaide Strikers and allrounder Evan Gulbis from Hobart are two key signings that could turn the Melbourne Stars from semi-final nearly men into genuine title contenders for BBL|05.
Quick Single: Clarke to captain Stars in BBL|05
The defection of Zampa, the Strikers' most valuable player in last season's KFC T20 Big Bash League, is a huge blow to the Adelaide club.
Strikers' General Manager Bronwyn Klei conceded the loss of Zampa was an "extremely disappointing" result for the club, with the 23-year-old set on moving away despite their best attempts to keep him.
"Adam had an outstanding season for us last year and he's clearly a player that we would love to have retained going forward," Klei said.
"However as a young player, Adam indicated that he felt it was in his best interests to experience playing under a different system and in different conditions to fast-track his own personal development.
"This was something that couldn't be influenced, despite our best possible offer."
Adam Zampa celebrates a wicket with Adelaide teammates // Getty Images
Zampa said the opportunity to play alongside international stars the likes of Clarke and Kevin Pietersen could not be ignored.
"I'm still young and I believe that the more good and experienced cricketers I can play with the more I'll learn so this is a great opportunity to keep improving my game," Zampa said.
"The prospect of playing under Michael Clarke is really exciting – he's obviously a great player and I really admire the way he captains spin bowling in particular," he said.
Zampa's exit dwindles the Strikers' spin stocks further, after Johan Botha completed his exit from South Australian cricket by moving to the Sydney Sixers. New coach Jason Gillespie now faces the choice of either recruiting, or putting his faith in Jon Holland, who did not play a game for the club in BBL|04.
Evan Gulbis batting for Hobart Hurricanes // Getty Images
Gulbis had a disappointing season with Hobart in BBL|04 with limited opportunity to impress. In five games he faced just 26 balls, scoring 34 runs, and took 2-86 from 11.1 overs across the competition.
"I really like the way (Gulbis) plays," said Clarke. "He's a power hitter and he can bowl 140-145kph.
"They (Gulbis and Zampa) are two really good strike weapons for our squad, and on a big ground like this they're going to help us have a lot of success."