Embattled Maxwell sets sights on Test spot

‘I’m looking more to the India series now having missed the boat for this Australian home summer’ – Glenn Maxwell © Getty Images

Allrounder Glenn Maxwell has conceded that batting below wicketkeeper Matthew Wade in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield side this year has been “a little bit painful”, especially with a potential Test recall on the cards. Maxwell has his sights set on winning a place on Australia’s Test tour of India in February-March, and he could be a viable candidate if the selectors decide a fifth bowling option is required in the XI.

Maxwell’s first-class batting average of 39.92 stacks up well compared to several other batting candidates, although he has spent little time batting above No.6 and even has a first-class hundred from No.8. Controversially left out of Victoria’s side for the first Shield round of the summer, Maxwell then found himself at No.6, behind keeper and captain Wade at No.5, and made 81 in his first innings of the campaign.

“That’s probably a little bit painful at times,” Maxwell said on Thursday in Sydney, where he is part of Australia’s squad for Sunday’s first ODI against New Zealand. “I think probably batting below the wicketkeeper is also a bit painful as well. I think the wicketkeeper should be batting at seven unless you’re trying to squeeze an extra bowler into your line-up.

“I’ve been just trying to bat wherever I can and trying to make as many runs as I can. I got a hundred from No.8 for Victoria so there is always opportunities to get runs wherever you are in the order but the way the Vics have been going you’re generally coming in trying to set a total up or trying to win the game with not many runs to get.”

When asked why he had batted below Wade, Maxwell said: “I think because he’s captain and he chooses the batting order. That’s my view on it.”

Wade was recalled to Australia’s side for the Adelaide Test against South Africa and Maxwell, under the captaincy of Cameron White, moved up to No.4 in the most recent Shield game against South Australia. He had also been bumped up to No.3 in the second innings against New South Wales in a round that was effectively a Test audition, and fell for 3 trying to help Victoria gain quick runs to set a target.

“Everything I did in that game was trying to make sure we won the game,” Maxwell said. “In the second innings, going out there and getting told team up, there was no way I was going for a not out. I know there’s a lot of other cricketers who probably would have poked around and tried to get the not out. That’s not the way I play.”

Glenn Maxwell hammered an unbeaten 145 in the first T20 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele © AFP

It has been an up-and-down year for Maxwell, who in January was named Australia’s ODI Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal ceremony, yet lost his place in the one-day side on the mid-year tour of West Indies and then his place in the squad for the ODI series in Sri Lanka. However, he was part of the T20 squad in Sri Lanka and struck an outrageous 145 not out in the first game.

Preparing for the home summer, Maxwell said he had worked on some technical and mental aspects of his game, notably in an effort to start his innings more steadily and reduce the risk of throwing it away early. He said he was disappointed not to have been picked for the Adelaide Test, where Nic Maddinson slotted in to the No.6 position on debut, but was eyeing off the India tour next year as his next Test goal.

“I thought I might have been a chance,” Maxwell said of the Adelaide Test. “I thought the way I batted in my first game back, at the MCG against the reverse-swinging ball against Queensland, I thought that was a really good sign of the improvements I’ve made in my defence, in my technique, in the way I leave the ball. I thought that was a really good sign of the work that I’d done over the last couple of months. I know one score probably doesn’t show it enough.

“To not get picked was a little bit disappointing. But as I said there are plenty of Tests on the radar. They’ve made it quite clear the direction they’re going to try and go. In saying that they picked an absolute gem in Peter Handscomb and he played absolutely beautifully. Unfortunately for Maddo he came out at probably the toughest time to bat which was against Rabada bowling 145 and above, under lights and swinging the ball.”

Being part of the squad for the three-match Chappell-Hadlee Series means Maxwell will not be playing in the Shield for Victoria next week in a pink-ball day-night game against Tasmania in Hobart. However, Maxwell said he would have been more concerned had he been missing a Shield game on a turning wicket at the SCG.

“I’m looking more to the India series now having missed the boat for this Australian home summer, with the way that selections have gone,” he said. “Whether that comes from white-ball cricket or any sort of cricket I’m playing, whether they come down and watch me at Fitzroy-Doncaster and see how I’m going in club cricket it doesn’t matter.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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