Hobart Hurricanes wicketkeeper Tim Paine has apologised for suggesting that Big Bash minor premiers the Melbourne Stars operate under a different salary cap to the rest of the competition.
Paine stood awkwardly in front of TV cameras at the team’s hotel on Monday night and read a short statement to the media. The former Test gloveman made a full apology to the Big Bash favourites, who will host the Hurricanes in Tuesday night’s MCG semi-final.
His apology followed a stinging attack on Melbourne radio by Stars president Eddie McGuire, who labelled the former Test gloveman a clown.
“I made some comments on Melbourne radio last week related to the Melbourne Stars implying that they operate on a different set of rules to other Big Bash teams,” Paine said.
“These comments were non-factual and were a poorly chosen, light-hearted remark.
“I apologise to the entire Melbourne Stars organisation. In no way did I intend to question the integrity of the players, management or the board.
“The Melbourne Stars have been the benchmark of this competition both on and off the field this season and I congratulate them for their success.
“I look forward to the clash tomorrow night at the MCG.”
The Stars are unbeaten this summer in eight games.
They boasted five members of the Australian team which beat England in the final T20 international on Sunday night – Cameron White, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, James Muirhead and veteran Brad Hodge.
Stars opener Luke Wright was also a member of England’s lineup.
“There’s obviously a never-ending salary cap there that the Stars seem to run by,” Paine told Radio SEN.
“And the rest of us live by another set of rules.”
McGuire said the Stars shouldn’t be penalised for being a professional club.
“We’re the only club that reported a profit in the first year because we went out and got sponsors and built it like a professional sporting organisation,” McGuire told Triple M Radio.
McGuire said big-name players were signed on three-year deals.
Others such as 20-year-old legspinner Muirhead were the product of good scouting.
Hodge, the leading runscorer in T20 history, is employed as a player and batting coach.
Batsman David Hussey is third on the all-time T20 runscoring list, trailing only West Indies’ Chris Gayle and Hodge.
Club chief executive Clint Cooper said Hussey is an example of a Stars’ player who had accepted under market value to play in a successful side.
McGuire advised Paine to stick to on-field matters.
“Mate just stand behind there with your overgrown gloves and try to catch a couple,” said McGuire, who is also president of AFL club Collingwood.
“I take the upmost umbrage to this because I live very solidly over 15 years standing against any type of skulduggery in the salary cap in another form of life called the AFL.
“So if this clown wants to just get up and sprout then he’s going to cop it right between the eyes. We’ve had enough.”
Paine said many were hoping the Stars, who have crashed out at the semi-final stage in the past two seasons, would do so again at the MCG on Tuesday night.
“We’re looking to do everyone else in the competition a favour,” he said.