BBL: Fletcher finds form for Melbourne Stars
Stars batsman Andre Fletcher found some much needed form after receiving some advice from West Indies legend Brian Lara.
A conversation with West Indies legend Brian Lara proved the catalyst for the rapid change in fortunes for Melbourne Stars opener Andre “Spiceman” Fletcher, who struck a match-winning 89 off 49 balls on Friday night against the Strikers.
Having struggled to make an impact in BBL10 to date, where his highest score was just 18 in nine innings, West Indian Fletcher struck the ball to all parts of the MCG in a devastating knock.
The innings pushed the Stars to an above-par 2-179, before an Adam Zampa (5-17) led attack bowled the Strikers out for just 68 – their lowest ever total and the third-lowest in BBL history.
Fletcher revealed post-match that a surprise call on Wednesday had helped him refocus in the must-win game for the Stars.
“I just decided to continue to be as positive as I can be and play each ball on its merits,” he said.
“Actually that was the advice I got from the great man himself Brian Charles Lara. It was good that I applied myself and took his advice.”
Asked to elaborate on the call, Fletcher said Lara, the West Indies greatest ever batsman, was generous with his time and urged him to call in future should he want advice.
“Actually he called me and I was surprised to be honest. He was telling me that, looking from the outside I’ve been striking the ball cleanly, and to just give myself an opportunity. He gave me some advice about the MCG and (about) giving myself that chance and playing each ball on its merits,” Fletcher said.
“I’m an aggressive player so no need to go out there and look to power the ball, and to be honest that’s what I did today and I just want to continue that.”
The huge 111-run win saw Glenn Maxwell’s side leap from seventh on the BBL table into fourth, ahead of back-to-back clashes against cross-town rivals the Melbourne Renegades.
Fletcher paid tribute to his Stars teammates and coaches post-game, and said the innings had been a weight lifted off his shoulders.
“I’m so happy. To be honest I was a bit overwhelmed and a bit emotional at the end,” he said.
“The reason for that is because of the family we have in the team. It’s not just a team but a Melbourne Stars family. The coach David Hussey and Luke Wright, Stoiny (Marcus Stoinis), Maxi (Maxwell) and the other guys they have been telling me to continue building from strength to strength. I’m striking the ball well so to wait for that opportunity which will come.”
The first of two Stars-Renegades clashes will take place on Sunday night at the MCG.