Australia’s international test team is staring down the barrel of a two-game series against Pakistan. It wouldn’t be another Aussie tour without more selection drama revolving around Glenn Maxwell.
Cricket Australia has named its 15-man squad to take on Pakistan:
Tim Paine (captain), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matt Renshaw, Peter Siddle, and Mitchell Starc make up the team.
Three notable exceptions – opener Joe Burns, fast bowler Chris Tremain and surprisingly, mercurial batsman Maxwell.
This latest selection jeer directed at the last name mentioned joins a long line of rejections and it’s about time Cricket Australia was forced to reveal why he has a perpetual line through his name.
In the last 12 months, we’ve seen the goal posts surrounding Maxwell’s requirements for selection shift from spot to spot.
Heading into the most recent Ashes Series, Maxwell was told that in order to return to the Australian test team he would have to go back to Sheffield Shield level and put the runs on the board.
He did exactly that. Playing in eight matches and batting 15 times, the should-be selection finished the summer with 707 runs at an average of 50.50 – a clear standout.
Yes, Maxwell’s monster knock of 278 at North Sydney Oval does inflate his average. Without that innings, Maxi’s average drops to 33.00.
But are we seriously going to suggest that ‘imagine he didn’t make all those runs in that one match’ is a valid reason to deny his form? Of course not.
After doing as he was told and piling on the runs at state level, his next criticism came rocketing in from the outfield.
Australian test captain Steve Smith told the media that before Maxwell would be considered he needed to improve in the nets.
“Just looking at the way he trains, I think he could train a little bit smarter,” he said.
This comment backed up Australian selector Trevor Hohns’ implication that Maxwell lacked consistency.
And if we’re to believe new head coach Justin Langer, ‘The Big Show’ has reportedly ticked that box in recent months.
“I have been super impressed with Glenn Maxwell, his preparation has been literally outstanding.
“I have been incredibly impressed with the way he goes about his business and even the way he has been batting in the nets.
“I’d love to see Maxi score more hundreds,” Langer said.
“He and I have talked a lot in our brief time together about the art of concentration and watching the ball like a hawk and I’m sure if he does that more regularly – he will be making a lot more hundreds and be much more pickable for Test cricket.”
Maxwell was reportedly advised not to play Country Cricket in England by the leadership at Cricket Australia and likewise told not to be concerned that he wasn’t selected for the Australia A crack at India.
If competition is really that tight for spots – where a single appearance from another batsman can surpass Maxwell’s place in the side – why was he denied a chance to fight for a selection?
At this point in time, we’re left with three reasonable schools of thought regarding the omission from the Australian squad.
1. Maxwell is not being picked because of personality clashes with the current Australian players or administration. If this is the case, the Australian public is owed an explanation and not secrecy.
2. He is genuinely being left out for the reasons given – poor training, not enough hundreds. If this is the case then the selectors are, quite frankly, incompetent and judging Maxwell on a standard not administered to the rest of his cohort.
3. There is a left-of-field justification for the whole story that is being kept under wraps. If this is the case, the Australian public is owed an explanation and not secrecy.
While we’re in the mood for bullet points, let’s knock out some fast facts about the that push his case forward.
Maxwell was one of the most dominant batsman in the Sheffield Shield last summer, finishing with 707 runs at an average of 50.50.
His recent success in the Sheffield Shield is not a flash in the pan. Since the winter of 2014, he has been a first-class gun, piling on 1600 runs in Australia at an average of 50.59 while also managing to average 46.92 in Country Cricket during the same period of time.
In the entirety of the Australian team selected, just one player has a better average than Maxwell at the first class level – Usman Khawaja.
The impressive batsmen’s experience at international level is entirely geared at playing in Asia. All seven of his test match appearances have been on the sub-continent.
The criticism of Maxwell’s ‘lack of hundreds’ is bordering on farcical given that his greatest achievement in his seven-match career thus far was a century against India on the sub-continent. Exactly the kind of magic that Australia will need against Pakistan.
Travelling to the sub-continent, it’s no secret that you need quality players of spin. Usman Khawaja and Travis Head have both been selected and are devastatingly weak against spin. The impressive bowler meanwhile is ranked elite.
With Maxwell still unable to gain selection despite the absence of Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner, it’s becoming more and more clear that cementing a spot in the Australia test side is not achievable under the current regime.
For the sake of the sanity of cricket fans everywhere, it’s time for Cricket Australia to fess up and tell the public the real reason why Glenn Maxwell is being denied a spot in the squad.
With plenty to play for in the future and wave after wave of disharmony rocking the Australian camp.
As a nation, we haven’t got the time or energy to deal with another Brad Hodge or Dean Jones-type drama.
Authors: Republished with permission from Bing News
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