The turning point in Stoinis’ career came about four years ago during his first Indian Premier League stint with Delhi. He had the chance to cross paths with de Villiers after a game against Bangalore, and cannot wait to join him at the same franchise this year, along with Kohli, the Indian megastar who shares a mutual friend in Perth with the powerhouse Western Australian.
«For me the IPL has literally been career changing,» Stoinis said. «I first went there to Delhi about four years ago, I had Gary Kirsten as coach, I played with guys like Quinton de Kock and Yuvraj Singh. I remember having a beer with AB de Villiers after we played Bangalore.
«It just opens up a thousand more doors and ideas you didn’t have, things you had never thought of or learned, just the way you thought about the game, Indian conditions, playing spin.
«People talk about the money, but what it did for my cricket, it’s accelerated my growth tenfold.
«I was about 24 or 25 at the time and AB was at his absolute peak and someone who I think is the best cricketer. In my eyes it’s him and Jacques Kallis.
«AB’s stats might not have been as good in terms of averages, but the way he took the game forward, his innovations, all those things, they can’t be measured on an Excel spreadsheet.
«AB and Virat will be the two I’ll be spending my time with and getting as much gold as I can from them in terms of knowledge.»
Stoinis has loved being promoted to the top of the order at the Stars with scores of 78 from 49, 34 (22), 70 not out (65), 53 (45), 43 (29), 49 (40) and Friday night’s 81 (51) from his last seven digs.
As for his wearing the baggy green, a dream that came close to being realised again when drafted into the squad before the Canberra Test against Sri Lanka, Stoinis would love it to happen this year. Stoinis seems to have leapt in front of Mitchell Marsh as Australia’s first option as Test all-rounder.
«The way I see it, it’s been a lifelong dream to play Test cricket for Australia, especially in an Ashes series,» Stoinis said. «I feel like hopefully the stars are aligning in terms of me making my debut against England in their home series after a World Cup. It would be pretty special. But that’s getting ahead of myself.
«I haven’t come this far only to come this far. Hopefully I get my chance. To play four or five years of Test cricket would be ideal in a perfect world.»
Stoinis once briefly flirted with the idea of relocating to Sydney. He travelled to Adelaide, Melbourne and the Harbour City with his late father Chris and settled on Melbourne when it came to the T20 competition.
As he put it: «I thought if I make a move, I think I’ll be a good enough cricketer, so I might as well pick where we live rather than where the first opportunity will come.»
Stoinis’ teammate Nic Maddinson will also be out to put the boot into the Sixers, a franchise he represented so well until Cricket NSW didn’t offer him a new deal last summer.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.