Hotel quarantine provides lots of space and time for the players to think. And Marcus Stoinis has been doing some thinking in Dubai, as he prepares for the return of the IPL with Delhi Capitals, his first cricket task in four and a half months (he didn’t feature in Australia’s limited-overs tours of West Indies and Bangladesh).
The rare free time has opened the window for the 32-year-old to reset some personal goals.
“My next phase, the way I see it, over the next three years I want to be not only the best finisher in Australia, I want to be the best finisher in the world,” Stoinis said.
“So that’s what I’ve spent my time thinking about and preparing myself for. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to be able to do it for the Melbourne Stars as well. It might mean the role is going to change. But I’ve got a great opportunity to do it with Delhi under Punter [coach Ricky Ponting], and a great opportunity in this World Cup. Whether it’s in this World Cup or the next World Cup, that’s up to me.”
Stoinis remained in Perth to train and spend time with family and friends, but he soon started feeling missing out on cricket. “That was a big decision at the time,” he says. “I wasn’t used to watching the team play and not being involved, knowing that’s what I want to do. And the first couple of weeks you’re also second-guessing yourself as to whether you should have gone on the tour.
“It took me a good two months to just really chill out. But it became more and more clear that that was the right thing to do for me. I’m feeling good now, feeling ready to go. I didn’t take much time off training. Because that’s another thing you realize when you take a break – that you love cricket. I love cricket, I love training.”
For Stoinis, communication with his coaches and teammates is of utmost importance, to be able to have complete trust in himself in the middle. “You make your plan beforehand,” he says. “You understand which bowlers you’re going to target.
“On another day, Kieron Pollard might get out going for a second six. But he understands, and I’m sure the coach or whoever understands that, so then you’re all on one page. And I think that helps to get rid of any sort of distraction and fear of failure. Because you’ve committed to the plan yourself. You committed to that with the team.” It is the main reason behind Stoinis getting along so well with Ponting, who has made sure his communication is clear and concise.