Cricket Part II


#8813

Maxwell’s non selection could induce you to believe that at some stage he has annoyed someone very important in cricketing circles. Would love to know the who and why. But surely there’s more to it? Is he in our best test 12?


#8814

Some good points raised in this article. Things don’t add up. He’s ■■■■■■ someone off.


#8815

I don’t think Maxwell is bland enough for Langer.


#8816

#8817

It’s worth listening to his interview with Whateley - a very mature, measured response. I’ve never been his biggest fan at Test level, but I wish him well. I really hope he gets back and proves all the doubters wrong. But in any case, things certainly should have been handled better than they have been. Yet another in a long line of PR disasters for Australian cricket.


#8818

They should have used Smith and Warners absence as a challenge for him to prove his worth on and off field, backed him in for the entirety of the suspension and take on the responsibility but I fear he has been put into the too hard basket.


#8819

To many vics in that squad.


#8820

Is that our test squad? Jeez.


#8821

It really was. 2 matches could have easily gone the other way so I think in the end England, while deserved winners, are flattered by the 4-1.


#8822

There’s at least 3 debutants going to play in this series

Maxwell, Burns and Handscombe all badly done by


#8823

Cricket Australia’s excuses for latest Glenn Maxwell snub simply don’t add up

Geoff Lemon

Selectors’ justifications for again overlooking one of Australia’s most talented players fall apart at the slightest scrutiny

In this bright new world of Australian cricket, with its sparkling cultural renovation to be unveiled at any minute, it’s reassuring that things so far remain exactly the same. The governing body followed the Cape Town ball-tampering episode earlier this year by promising a wide-ranging review into its own failings; now Cricket Australia leaders are proposing to suppress the findings because they might be too “juicy”

And at the selection table, after Mark Waugh went to live on a farm where he’ll have lots of room to run around, and long-anointed new coach Justin Langer replaced his predecessor Darren Lehmann, the consistency has been admirable. In a game steeped in tradition, it’s good to see Langer and company following great predecessors like Rod Marsh in backing up their picks with justifications that fall apart at the slightest scrutiny.

In a team missing three of its previous top six batsmen after their sandpaper safari last March, facing its next Test assignment against Pakistan in the UAE, there is still no room for one of Australia’s most exciting players. One who was in that team a year ago, and was a reserve batsman for last summer’s Ashes and the South Africa tour that followed.

The new line from Langer is that Glenn Maxwell needs to make more hundreds in order to be considered. But this is just the latest in a series of Australian messages so mixed that Bletchley Park would shrug in bewilderment. Maxwell needs to make more hundreds, while being actively prevented from doing so.

First, Australian authorities discouraged Maxwell from signing an English county contract mid-year, on the basis he should instead prepare for Australia A’s tour to India in August and September. Next he wasn’t chosen for that tour, with the claim that selectors already knew what he could do in the subcontinent. The implication was that, with his century against India last year, his dustbowl credentials were proven and his spot in the squad against Pakistan was assured.

Then in the coup de grace, selectors filled that spot and two others with Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, and Marnus Labuschagne thanks to their performances on that A tour. The player not picked because we knew what he could do was then not picked because he hadn’t done enough.

“I’d be ropeable,” said Ricky Ponting. But Maxwell can’t afford to be, instead having to say the right things about dedication and patience. Patience is not something national administrators have any right to, with their goalposts shifting like Sahara dunes.

In 2017-18, Maxwell had been told to make big runs in first-class cricket. He hammered 278 against New South Wales and averaged 50. He bench-warmed for most of the home ODIs, but made another hundred in the T20I in Hobart. He hovered on the edge of the Test team, but there was never a spot.

Now that spots have opened up, the required metric has suddenly changed to career hundreds. “Glenn Maxwell is 30 years old and everything above A-grade cricket he’s scored 17 hundreds,” said Langer on SEN radio. “I’ll put that in perspective for you, Steve Smith has scored 79 hundreds and David Warner’s scored 88.”

Hold up. First of all, Langer completely cooked the numbers by adding their international hundreds to their first-class, List A, and T20 hundreds. Of course the latter categories already include the former. So Smith actually has 48 professional hundreds, not 79, while Warner has 53 rather than 88. This is how nuanced the selection rationale is.

In any case, Langer comparing anyone in his national setup to Warner and Smith is an exercise in futility. Since Michael Clarke retired, the team has been built on two batsmen. Others have made cameos but faded back into the off-key chorus.

And in career stats, Maxwell hasn’t had the opportunities. Who makes hundreds in limited-overs cricket? Openers, maybe first drop. In his early days for Victoria, Maxwell used to bat as low as the bowling spots for a late-innings power assault. For most of his career he’s been the player asked to face 20 balls rather than 120.

As for first-class cricket, Maxwell was often viewed as unsuited despite a strong record, or missed state games with the ODI team. Langer’s interview emphasised Maxwell’s age, but not that he’s played fewer first-class games than most of the squad.

Khawaja is less than two years older but has played over twice as many matches. Head is aged 24 to Maxwell’s 29, but has 70 first-class matches to Maxwell’s 59. Head and Maxwell have each made seven first-class hundreds. But the “not enough hundreds” rule only applies to the one who’s played fewer games.

For Head, Khawaja, and Labuschagne, recent runs will do just fine. Even modest ones. According to Langer, “we’ve got to get back to a point in Australian cricket where it’s really hard to get into the team, otherwise we’ll keep accepting mediocrity”. But Labuschagne is into the squad on the back of a pair in his last Australia A game.

The Queenslander made a couple of half-centuries on that tour, but his total sequence was 65, 13, 17, 60, 37, 0 and 0. It’s less banging the door down than discreetly leaving a flyer in the letterbox. People are praising his 795-run Shield season, but it’s worth noting that came from 22 innings at an average of 39.75. Maxwell and another discard in Joe Burns each made over 700 runs, but from 15 and 14 innings respectively, each averaging over 50.

In the end, it’s just another episode in the extraordinarily poor man-management of Maxwell. When he starred in the 2015 World Cup, he might have thought he’d proved himself. Instead he’s spent every season since being undermined.

There’s no guarantee that Maxwell would succeed in Tests. The frustration is that one of the country’s most talented players has never been given a proper shot. All the back and forth has led to years of hope and disappointment and this coming domestic summer, it’s likely he’ll see every innings as a chance to make or break his career. With that in mind, there’s a worry he’ll be so self-conscious he may stuff it up.

Perhaps missing the UAE is a blessing in disguise. It’s a tough tour that might not leave reputations enhanced. A much better Australian side was crushed there in 2014. That would leave Maxwell a chance to come in for the home summer. But on the truer, harder pitches of Australia, where he is at his most comfortable and his most damaging, the batsman has still never been picked to play a Test.

More likely, when that opportunity comes around, there will be another excuse, another postponement, another set of requirements, another vague encouragement to strive harder, and another spot handed to someone else. As to why, we’ve never been given a straight answer. Nor has he. Things this year have changed and gone nowhere. Maxwell may never make it as a Test player. But the people controlling his career might end up being the ones who’ll make that come true.


#8824

Really surprised they would discourage him from playing county cricket, not just for his own form but for a good hit out before the ashes and World Cup next year.

In the end, it good be a blessing in disguise as the article suggests as Australia are most likely to get smashed so it’s better for him not to be there and be the fall guy


#8825

Chris Lynn has maybe let everyone know what is going on when he was asked about Glenn:

“Not every coach is suited to Maxie. He’s got strong opinions.”


#8826

By which time he’ll have gone months without any FC action.
Madness.


#8827

How can he hate his coaches if he never goes to training?


#8828

#8829

Old news.


#8830

If you are gonna come out with these types of allegations I think you should be man enough to name the player as it just puts a cloud over everyone that toured on 2015


#8831

I suspect it was Warner, I seem to remember something about it previously.


#8832

Didn’t Warner deck Root because he dressed up as Amla?