STAR STRUCK: Big Bash leading run scorer Ben Dunk is about to switch franchises.
STAR STRUCK: Big Bash leading run scorer Ben Dunk is about to switch franchises. JULIAN SMITH

Dunk's ready to become a Star

THE Melbourne Stars are set to score a major boost for their top order, with last season's Big Bash leading run-maker Ben Dunk almost certain to join the franchise.

Dunk, who plundered 364 runs at a strike-rate of 164 for the Adelaide Strikers, is poised to sign with the Stars as soon as Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association agree on a pay deal. understands The Stars have been keen to add another power hitting left-hander to their top order to join to Rob Quiney.

Dunk made three half-centuries in BBL07, kept wicket and even bowled in one match, claiming 1-20.

The Stars are believed to be more interested in his batting skills rather than work behind the stumps or part-time off-spinners.

The franchise has Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper and Sheffield Shield winner Seb Gotch on its books, all of whom have kept wicket at BBL level over the last two seasons.

Dunk spent one season at the Strikers following four years at the Hobart Hurricanes.

His pending departure leaves the South Australian franchise without its top two run-scorers from last season after Brad Hodge was not offered new deal. The veteran is believed to be on the Melbourne Renegades wish list.

Dunk's injection to the Stars batting line-up will help fill the void left by the retired David Hussey, who finished his playing career after the Stars' semi-final exit in Perth.

Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen and Quiney will fill the other primary batting roles, while Glenn Maxwell and Handscomb will be significant inclusions when international duties allow.

When Dunk signs the Stars will haven filled 17 of the 18 available senior positions on their list. It's believed the last remaining contract will probably go to a bowler.

Despite Dunk topping the BBL run-scoring table, he initially missed out on selection for Australia's three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka, only to be called up after Chris Lynn was ruled out injured.

He played in Adelaide and Geelong, making 32 off 14 balls and 28 off 21 balls in his two knocks.

The 30-year-old has represented Australia in five T20s and averages 30 with four centuries from 42 first-class matches. He also boasts the highest ever Australian one-day domestic score, an unbeaten 229 off 157 deliveries against Queensland in October 2014.

The Melbourne Stars and Adelaide Strikers declined to comment on Dunk's future.

In other domestic cricket news, Test keeper Matthew Wade has been training with Tasmania before moving back to his home state.

All-rounder Marcus Stoinis has been released from the final two years of his Victorian contract. The 27-year-old has returned to Western Australia where he will be offered a contract as soon as the MOU is signed off.

News Corp Australia

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