Australia paceman Billy Stanlake has extra motivation for Adelaide Strikers to go back-to-back in next summer's KFC Big Bash tournament – he desperately wants to be there to take part.
Stanlake had been a key factor in the Strikers' unlikely rise to the final, claiming 11 wickets in 10 matches and regularly hitting 150kph in a breakout summer.
But the nature of the playing schedule meant he was left with a bittersweet feeling following his T20I call-up for Australia; despite teammate Alex Carey and opponent D'Arcy Short being permitted to fly to Adelaide from Sydney to take part in the final the day after Australia played New Zealand, Stanlake – as a fast bowler whose workload is closely monitored – was not.
"It was hard watching the boys win the final on the TV, so hopefully we can back it up and do it again next year," Stanlake told bigbash.com.au.
"We've got a great bunch of guys down there, we really love playing alongside each other.
"I'd love to play a home final in Adelaide."
With a couple of spots still to fill in their roster, Jason Gillespie's squad looks to be reasonably stable at this stage, leaving them well positioned to mount another title shot. Only Perth Scorchers (BBL|03 and BBL|04) have won consecutive Big Bash trophies.
However Stanlake, who is set to resume bowling on Friday after recovering from a fractured finger in the IPL, knows just how fickle the T20 format can be.
"We've pretty much kept the same group intact but there's no reason why (we can't win again)," he said.
"But in saying that, we know what Twenty20 cricket is like – you lose a couple of games and you're under the pump. It's a big momentum thing.
"Hopefully next year we can go well again but it's a new season, so it's a new challenge."
The towering quick turned heads for Australia in the T20 format in February and has been selected to tour the UK (ODIs and T20Is) and Zimbabwe (T20Is only) next month under new coach Justin Langer.
"I think I've found that if I get it right, it's going to be difficult for anyone to score or do well against," he added.
"It's a simple game plan that I don't really need to overcomplicate: bowl fast, bowl aggressive and take wickets."