After smashing the highest score in BBL history, Marcus Stoinis says he carried the burden of unleashing a homophobic slur last week. The Melbourne Stars allrounder was fined $7,500 for abusing Melbourne Renegades quick Kane Richardson in a heated derby on 4 January but avoided a ban over the incident.
Stoinis said he felt uneasy heading into Sunday night’s clash with the Sydney Sixers because of the fallout from that exchange. But any early nerves dissipated as the 30-year-old belted a scintillating unbeaten 147 from 79 balls at the MCG, to smash D’Arcy Short’s BBL mark of 122 not out.
“I’ve definitely carried it with me. Maybe even today it was probably why I was nervous,” Stoinis said. “It didn’t sit well with my character and who I want to be. He [Richardson] is a good mate. Over the last couple of games I think we’ve played he’s wound me up a few times but it’s no excuse to use words like that.
“[Richardson) was trying to get a reaction out of me and unfortunately I took that bait. I’ve got to give myself some slack, I’m human and can make mistakes as well, and hopefully other people see that as genuine.”
Richardson, who is in India for Australia’s ODI series, on Sunday said that the pair had spoken and cleared the air.
“It was just harmless cricket chat,” Richardson said from Mumbai. “He looked more angry than I have ever seen him. I’m not sure what he was thinking. The learning has to be that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. To be honest, I didn’t need an apology for myself – he didn’t offend me. It’s more what he said that offends so many people.”
Stoinis’s innings – the third best by an Australian in Twenty20s behind Aaron Finch’s 172 and 156 in internationals – included 13 fours and eight sixes. The 207-run opening stand between Stoinis and Hilton Cartwright (59 no) is the record highest BBL partnership, rocketing past former Stars Rob Quiney and Luke Wright’s 172 in 2012.
The BBL’s leading run-scorer this season, Stoinis is going to be hard for Australian selectors to ignore in the lead-up to the Twenty20 World Cup.