Did the Australian selectors pull a fast one on Glenn Maxwell?
As Australia gets set to contest Pakistan in a two-Test series at the UAE, the team roster will have an empty seat.
There are T20s too but who knows what might happen?
Surely, a month back, Glenn Maxwell would’ve thought that seat would have his name on it.
Instead, he’s confessed to fighting hard to reclaim his spot. And to that regard, there seems no other way possible- according to the Victorian himself- than to plunder lots of runs in the forthcoming domestic season.
Thankfully, for Maxwell, at 30, he’s still got a lot of years in him to forge a way to come back. And that said, he seems not short of any confidence whatsoever about his abilities as a batsman.
But a question remains.
Selection of Young Players: A Move towards future?
Are they buoyed by the right hander’s self-conviction that gives him the strength to believe he can forge a way back into a side that, on current makeup, seems rather reliant on the promise of the youth?
There’s little doubt about the selectors rallying behind uncapped players and rising young talents.
There’s Marnus Labuschagne, who’s debuted only in T20s and has collected 2 hundreds and 3 fifties from 12 first-class games.
Then there’s, Michael Neser, who’s also only debuted in T20s and has compiled 4 fifties from 25 first- class games, apart from taking 68 wickets and 1 five-for.
Finch also gets a Test call-up while Maxwell, with a personal best of 104 against a Kohli-powered India is hoping, and who knows maybe against hope, to be considered soon again.
Selectors Leave Plenty of Unanswered Questions
While fundamentally Maxwell’s drop- which it clearly is instead of it occurring as a ‘rest’- appears in a positive intent of the side picking youngsters to give them a handy experience of rigours required at the highest level, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
For starters, does this inexperienced side boast of the power to contest Pakistan in a five-day contest especially when the team misses out two of its foremost run-scorers?
To that end, does leaving out Maxwell, who seemed among the few experienced names having been around the circuit for a good 6 years come across as a sound move?
Secondly, if a Test selection is at the back of consistent recent scores then does Finch’s call-up, the right-hander, having been in and out of the Aussie line-up provide enough justification?
Surely, Maxwell is no game changer across formats. To his demerit, he’s not struck big daddy hundreds in the first class outings. But what he does have, in fact, are 3700 List A runs including 4 centuries from 137 games.
In fact, his List A average of 37 is better than his Test average of 26.
Test cricket: Experience is as Important as Numbers
And Maxwell carries a reputation that arguably justifies the clamour in lines with his ouster.
You know there’s something seriously amiss when Ponting, not the most critical in his views, begins to fret at the news of Maxwell’s ouster.
And here’s something that may surely have left Maxwell underwhelmed a bit. Most of those who’ve made it to the UAE tour were touring India on an ‘A’ Tour.
That, inarguably, seems to have been Litmus Test.
And therefore, Maxwell, who was keen to play, but was deliberately rested as the selectors, who haven’t picked him now, stated that they were aware of Maxwell’s abilities in the sub-continent. Consequently, it seems the non-selection has come as a bolt from the blue.
Can Maxwell be blamed for being cushioned?
Surely, Maxwell would’ve thought that he was being told to focus on the larger series ahead and that clearly was against Pakistan and not the ‘A’ tour to India.
But while Maxwell’s omission is only about as clear as visibility levels during hazy weather, there remains a threat of a bigger jolt.
Someone will need to reply whether Maxwell’s mediocre Test run- if that is what it is- is to be blamed for his axe?
And, in here lies the catch. Of the 7 Test appearances he’s had, he played 4 games as of 2017, from which he gathered runs at an average of 37. This is the best he’s managed since debuting in 2013.
So is Maxwell’s recent Test run that bad to warrant an axe? Thankfully, the question isn’t on our table.
One wonders what might become of the Big Show if he’s left out of T20s too, where he enjoys an average of 32, which happens to be his best rate across the three formats!
Can Australia look to safely counter a capricious Pakistan, who’ve just consumed the Windies in T20s as a breakfast meal (in April) by leaving out a player who collects runs in the format at a strike rate of 163, that includes 2 hundreds and 4 fifties?
While treading on the lines of siding with the youth isn’t a disastrous strategy, it remains to be seen whether Australia can completely rest on a strategy that has primary inclusiveness for only uncapped youngsters and less space for experienced hands.