Stars captain apologises to fans for dismal season

Melbourne Stars captain John Hastings has apologised to the club's fans and conceded every spot in the bottom-of-the-ladder team will now be up for review after his side crashed out of the Big Bash League finals race in an eight-wicket loss to the Sydney Sixers at the MCG on Tuesday night.

The Stars have made the finals in all six completed seasons of the BBL but their seventh campaign has been a failure, with just one win from seven games. Their loss to the Sixers, who had already been eliminated from finals contention, snuffed out what were already very slim hopes of making it back to the semis.

They have already started less experienced players like paceman Jackson Coleman and leg-spinner Daniel Fallins, and judging by Hastings' words after the defeat, that is unlikely to be the end of it, with three games remaining for the Stars to try to finish their season on a positive note.

Significant change is already expected at the club next season. With Kevin Pietersen having already announced he won't come back to play, and Luke Wright highly unlikely to return either, the Stars are poised to have two fresh overseas players next summer.

More immediately, veterans Rob Quiney, Ben Hilfenhaus and Michael Beer have been squeezed from the XI, while Wright only narrowly beat the younger Seb Gotch to a playing spot on Tuesday night, as evidenced by their names being crossed out and re-written on the official team sheet.

Hastings noted that the Stars have an abundance of problems, although said that the side's batting would have to face particular scrutiny ahead of the Stars' next game against Sydney Thunder on Saturday night at the MCG.

Wright has struggled this season, making just 11 from 13 balls against the Sixers, then not fielding due to injury. Fellow opener Ben Dunk has been similarly poor, reaching double figures just once in seven innings, making seven from 12 on Tuesday night. Axed Test batsman Peter Handscomb has been unable to find consistency, while others like Pietersen and all-rounder James Faulkner have had indifferent seasons.

Batsmen Gotch and teenager Will Pucovski are waiting in the wings, and Hastings said batting was an area that would have to be reviewed.

"We'll have to look at our batting, that's for sure," Hastings said after the Sixers got home with 29 balls to spare.

"That's something that's let us down this season. With our line-up, it's not good enough, but in saying that, our bowlers, we haven't had anyone take over five wickets or six wickets.

"We don't have anyone sticking their hand up with bat or ball."

In any case, Hastings had a message for the club's supporters. "We are a very proud club," he said.

"We are doing everything possible to try and turn it around. We love the support, we love that people keep coming to support us. Hopefully we can see a few young guys maybe in the next couple of games, and try and get a couple of wins and put some smiles back on faces because these performances we've been putting together haven't been good enough.

"We do have a very strong member base and a strong fan base, so apologies to them."

The first-season captain also said he was hopeful of leading the side again next summer, but acknowledged that he might not get the chance to do so.

"It hurts, because I'm the captain ultimately," he said.

"I'd love to have another crack at it. Whether or not that's going to be the case I'm not too sure. I suppose everything will probably come under the microscope won't it, because we haven't done as well as we would have liked."

Following their game against the Thunder, the Stars also have matches against the Sixers (away) and the Hobart Hurricanes (home) to finish the season.

This story Stars captain apologises to fans for dismal season first appeared on The Age.