Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Cricket behind closed doors may have its drawbacks, but it should at least spare Australia’s Marcus Stoinis from being pelted with fruit again if he makes a return to international action in England next month.

The 31-year-old batting all-rounder has not featured for his country since their World Cup semi-final loss to eventual champions and tournament hosts England last year — a match in which he was out for a duck.

But he is now back in the squad for next month’s Twenty20 and one-day international series against England.

Unlike the World Cup semi-final, played at a raucous Edgbaston, September’s fixtures will not have any fans in the stands because of the coronavirus outbreak.

And while star batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner were the main targets for English crowd taunts last year following their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Stoinis was not immune.  

“We always love playing here (England) regardless,” Stoinis told reporters Saturday.

“The banter is usually pretty good. I did have an apple thrown at me last year but apart from that it’s pretty good. It will be a different experience. It will be up to the team to create some energy and run around.”

Stoinis was dropped after averaging a meagre 14.50 with the bat during the World Cup, with a side strain limiting his effectiveness as a medium-pace bowler.

But after more than a year of international exile, Stoinis has forced his way back into the squad after becoming the leading run-scorer in this season’s Australia’s domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League, with 705 runs at 54.23 for the Melbourne Stars.

“It can be frustrating when you feel like you’re results on the board and you don’t get rewarded,” said Stoinis, a veteran of 41 ODIs and 19 T20s.

“But in the same breath there’s probably five, six, seven players who feel the same way. So you don’t get too carried away with it, you just keep doing your thing.

“It’s a nice reward to be back.”

Stoinis boosted his hopes of a recall with an unbeaten 21 off 17 balls in Australia’s first intra-squad match on Friday.

The postponement of the T20 World Cup, due to start in Australia in October, could also work in his favour. The 2021 edition will take place in India.

But with the pandemic playing havoc with the cricket calendar, Stoinis said: “The schedule is so up in the air.”

England and Australia will play three T20 matches and three ODIs. The first T20 game takes place in Southampton on September 4.