Nathan Coulter-Nile has all but shut the door on a return to red-ball cricket but will continue to strive for white-ball international duties after signing a lucrative four-year contract with the Melbourne Stars.
The express West Australian quick, who featured in Australias recently-completed World Cup campaign, said he had never previously envisaged leaving the Perth Scorchers – who he had been with since the first Big Bash League season – but that the Stars offer was too good to refuse.
Coulter-Nile, who will be 32 in October, is one of a bevy of West Aussies who will cross the Nullarbor for the upcoming BBL campaign. The Stars had previously announced the signature of former Test batsman Hilton Cartwright, while left-arm spinner Clint Hinchliffe has also joined the club, and young WA tearaway Lance Morris has been upgraded to permanent status after playing with the Stars as an injury replacement last season.
Veteran batsman Shaun Marsh has meanwhile signed with the Melbourne Renegades, with Coulter-Nile noting that it would be good to have another familiar face around town.
Coulter-Nile is friends with Stars trio Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis and Peter Handscomb, all of whom were also part of Australias World Cup journey which ended in a semi-final defeat to England.
“No other team really had three blokes like that that I get on with really well, that I could see myself spending a lot of time with over the summer,” Coulter-Nile told The Age.
Stars list manager Trent Woodhill and now-former coach Stephen Fleming – who has since been replaced by David Hussey – were instrumental in coaxing Coulter-Nile to the club.
“It was definitely the hardest decision of my career. It was a bit of a weird one. Id never been off contract before. It came to the end of last season and I hadnt heard anything from the Scorchers,” Coulter-Nile said.
“By the time the Scorchers came up with what they had to offer I couldnt refuse what the Stars had to offer me…[Perth] didnt offer anywhere near it.”
He added that the hardest person to tell of his decision was nine-year-old daughter Amelie.
“She said shes still going to barrack for the Scorchers!"
Coulter-Nile had a mixed World Cup, making a swashbuckling 92 from 60 balls batting at No. 8 against the West Indies, but unable to regularly fire with the ball, losing his spot in Australias XI midway through the tournament.
“It was obviously the pinnacle of my career, being a white-ball cricketer. I built it up so much. When I got there, it was just another game of cricket. It was really fun, I really enjoyed it.
“Just disappointed we didnt make it the whole way.”
He said his troublesome body was in as good condition as it had been in 12 months, but was looking forward to playing one-day cricket for WA this season ahead of the BBL. Next years Twenty20 World Cup in Australia is also an aim, but Coulter-Nile is under no illusions that he faces an uphill battle to make [Australias] squad.