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Watson backs Stoinis for Test cricket
Former Australian allrounder Shane Watson has no doubt Marcus Stoinis will get an opportunity to play Test cricket, but he first has the job of trying to restrict his influence on a KFC BBL game on Friday. Stoinis is in the Melbourne Stars squad selected to take on the Sydney Thunder side captained by Watson at Manuka Oval, in both team's first BBL game of the season. Highly regarded Stoinis has played 21 one-day and 17 T20 games for Australia but the 29-year-old allrounder has yet to break into the Test side despite getting plenty of plaudits. Watson described Stoinis as one of his favourite players in world cricket. "I think he's a very skilled allrounder in all formats," he said. "In the end, I'd be surprised if he doesn't have an opportunity to be able to play Test cricket for Australia at some stage. "He's a skilful guy, he's a technically very sound four-day batsman as well as we've seen in one-day and T20 cricket, he's a power hitter as well. "I've got no doubt at some stage, he'll get a (Test) opportunity." Shane Warne has led calls this summer for Stoinis to be give a Test debut, but the Australians have picked six frontline batsmen in the opening two Tests against India. Allrounder Mitchell Marsh, dropped ahead of the first Test, is in the squad for the third match on Boxing Day and could replace Peter Handscomb if conditions require another bowling option. Stoinis took four wickets and posted scores of 10, 81, 21 and 85 in two JLT Sheffield Shield games this season, but it wasn’t enough to force his way into the 13-man squad for Boxing Day. The 29-year-old also suffered a minor ankle injury against Victoria earlier this month, limiting his ability to bowl in the match at the MCG. But he’s in no doubt for the start of the BBL season and says he’s quickly moved past the disappointment of missing out on the squad for Boxing Day. “I started bowling a couple of days ago,” Stoinis said earlier this week. “(My ankle) pulled up pretty well and it was in a good spot if you were going to do one. “I don’t think it’s healed, but it’s something that I can play with. “It will take three or four weeks to heal fully, but as long as I’m managing it properly it’s all good.” “(Test selection) was on my mind but selection was on Tuesday, so my focus stays with the Stars. “You want to be playing, but there’s no expectation and you’ve got no right to sort of just select yourself. “I’m looking forward to starting the BBL.” source