Shoalhaven cricket product Nic Maddinson will take on captaincy duties in his first Big Bash League game for a heavily-depleted Melbourne Stars when they host Perth Scorchers at the MCG tonight (Wednesday).
The Stars have again been hammered by Australian selection demands with skipper Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa all unavailable after being picked for the ODI series against India.
Maddinson's Stars debut tonight will be his first appearance in any format since his right arm was fractured by a Jhye Richardson bouncer during Victoria's Sheffield Shield clash with Western Australia in December.
He has previously captained Sydney Sixers as well as the NSW Shield team in place of the injured Moises Henriques in 2015-16.
Maddinson is confident the third-placed Stars can overcome their big-name losses, having added Jonathan Merlo, Tom O'Connell and Nick Larkin to their squad.
"I think we're still a very strong team," Maddinson said.
"Obviously it hurts missing those guys for the week or so that they're out but I feel like the guys coming in have played a bit of Big Bash and had a taste of what it's like at this level, so I'm confident that there'll be no holes left unfilled."
The Scorchers have also lost four players to ODI duties in Richardson, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh and Jason Behrendorff.
However, the presence of Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, AJ Tye and Ashton Turner suggests the Scorchers remain a threat despite sitting bottom of the ladder.
"They're pretty good but I feel like we're matched up really well," Maddinson said.
"Ben Dunk's playing nicely at the moment. (Dwayne) Bravo hasn't had much of an opportunity with the bat so far, so I feel like the squad we've got matches pretty well against anyone."
Maddinson has the luxury of taking over a side that has won its past three games, including a crushing victory over Sydney Thunder on the Gold Coast.
"I think it's self-managing at the moment. Everyone's playing a pretty specific role in the team," he said.
"It's a pretty easy transition for me to come in. I'll probably bat where Maxi did (at No.4) and captain and run it that way ... I don't think things will change that much."
Tonight’s match looms as an important one for both teams.
The Stars are currently in third spot on ladder and a victory would consolidate their place in the top four.
The Scorchers, compared to other seasons, have not been going so well and are currently on the bottom of the ladder.
Victory over the Stars could give the Perth based side the lift it needs.
Australian Associated Press