’Dream come true’: Stoinis ready to grab Test opportunity
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis stands ready to grasp his opportunity should he be handed a Baggy Green cap in Canberra ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
Stoinis has been in outstanding form in the BBL, but he was as surprised as anyone when chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns interrupted a meal with a close mate on Australia Day to tell him he had been added to the Test squad.
As fate would have it, Stoinis faced off against Matt Renshaw, the man he replaced in that squad, when the Melbourne Stars hosted the Brisbane Heat on Sunday night.
The pair crossed paths at the MCG after the Stars' thrilling five-run win, with Renshaw wishing Stoinis the best of luck.
Stoinis celebrated his national call-up with a man-of-the-match performance, top-scoring with 43 runs and taking 4-21, including the wicket of Renshaw, in a game-turning four overs.
"I feel like I'm in a good place," Stoinis said of the prospect of a Test debut.
"I'm enjoying my cricket, I'm preparing well.
"Obviously I haven't played Test match cricket before and there are a whole lot of other pressures that might come along but I've got a clear plan and I'll enjoy the occasion.
"It's more exciting for me than it is daunting.
"... I'm trying to chill out a little bit but obviously it's a dream come true."
Justin Langer has already foreshadowed an unchanged XI following Australia's resounding win at the Gabba.
But the door is ajar for Stoinis, with an evaluation of the pitch to play a major role in selection.
Since returning to the Stars following the three ODIs against India, Stoinis has taken 3-19, 3-20 and 4-21 to move ahead of Mitch Marsh in the all-rounder pecking order.
"Really I think it's just the fact that I've had a good opportunity to bowl," he said of his form with the ball.
"In the past I probably didn't bowl enough in the nets, so I'm just getting the (kilometres) in the legs and learning my craft a bit more.
"I started bowling a bit later (in my career) so that's probably handy on the body but in terms of skills I'm still learning a few things."
Stoinis has carefully managed an ankle injury he picked up in the last Sheffield Shield game before the BBL break, but he is adamant it will stand up to the rigours of the longer spells required in a Test match.