Maxwellgate: Cricket Australia now as much to blame as anyone

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    I honestly thought this Glenn Maxwell-Matthew Wade thing would’ve blown over by now, but by not picking him in the first two one dayers against New Zealand, Cricket Australia have poured fuel on the fire.

    In what was largely a state issue, CA bought into the saga when they – and not Victoria – decided to hand down the ‘thou shalt not wail on a teammate batting too high’ fine last weekend.

    The only ‘national’ crime that Maxwell committed was that he was wearing a CA shirt and cap when he gave his now infamous press conference responses when asked about his chances of a Test recall.

    He was left out of the Australian side for the first ODI of the summer in Sydney on Sunday, though the mail even by the time the first ball was bowled was that Maxwell would play the second match in Canberra on Tuesday.

    This was CA’s opportunity to kill the matter dead. Playing Maxwell would’ve turned the heat directly back on the player himself, with a clear message to put up or shut up.

    But by Tuesday morning, the pre-match scuttlebutt had switched to Australia ‘will likely name an unchanged side’ for the Manuka Oval match. They ultimately played allrounder James Faulkner in place of spinner Adam Zampa, and Maxwell was consigned to net bowler duties while the bowling group commenced their pre-game stretch.

    And in doing so, the impasse remains.

    Maxwell may well play in the third and now dead rubber match in Melbourne on Friday, but regardless of his status in the XI, the awkward line of questioning remains.

    Glenn Maxwell Sad

    “Will Maxwell and Wade play in the same side?”

    “Did the selectors or the leadership group make the decision to leave Maxwell out?”

    “Is Maxwell effectively serving two sentences?”

    Who should Maxwell have played for in Canberra? Aaron Finch? George Bailey? Mitch Marsh? Honestly, it doesn’t matter who made way, the point is there was an opening for Maxwell to come in and back up his words and that opportunity was missed.

    If he played and made runs, then the team probably still wins. If he played and failed with the bat, well not too many would’ve argued if Maxwell was made to be the scapegoat for a loss, or even if he was subsequently left out of a winning team.

    But until Maxwell plays again, the story lingers.

    And while ever it lingers, you can’t help but think about what has been said.

    In case you’ve been living under a rock, Maxwell was asked last weekend if batting at no.6 for Victoria had hampered his chances of a Test recall in Adelaide, to which he replied, “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.”

    As it was, national coach Darren Lehmann poured cold water on a Maxwell recall, saying, “No [he was no chance for Adelaide]. Because he hasn’t made a hundred for the last two years. You need to make hundreds.”

    Presumably, Lehmann meant Sheffield Shield hundreds; surely the national coach with a selector’s cap stuck in his back pocket wouldn’t overlook Maxwell’s T20I 145no against Sri Lanka in September.

    And while it’s true that Maxwell hasn’t made a Shield century in two years, but he did make a First Class hundred for Yorkshire in July 2015, in the middle of a fruitful stint with the bat in all forms of the game for the White Rose.

    Going back to the start of that 2015 English summer, Maxwell actually has three centuries and 20 fifties to his name in all forms of the game, and in teams ranging from the Yorkshire seconds to the IPL and BBL, to Shield cricket and limited overs internationals. It could be better, sure, but it’s hardly the record of a bloke with barely a run to his name in two years.

    So far for Victoria this summer he’s managed a fifty during the BBQ Cup, of which he missed several games while on ODI duty, and he made 81 versus Queensland in a Shield game last month. I don’t think he was ever a realistic chance of a Test recall, for what it’s worth, but I’m not sure his record deserved the criticism Lehmann delivered.

    Regardless, the heat remains on Maxwell to deliver on his words, but until he’s picked he can’t do that. The sooner he performs, the better off everyone will be and the story will be quickly moved on from.

    But the longer it lingers, the more the obvious strain remains. And only Cricket Australia can control how long that strain lasts.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (84)

    • December 8th 2016 @ 8:20am
      George said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      Lehmann always shoots his mouth off. Except when Australia is touring overseas and losing – then he stays silent, seamingly clueless as to how to improve performances. How his contract got renewed is beyond me.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 9:34am
        Felix said | December 8th 2016 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        Because not that long ago, he oversaw the transition from the depths to get the side to world number 1?

        • December 8th 2016 @ 10:24am
          George said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:24am | ! Report

          It was quite a while ago, actually. Four series defeats since then.

          His mantra of ‘play your natural game, hit hard and bowl fast’ only goes so far. Seemingly no improvements were made during or following the losses in the UAE, England or Sri Lanka. If the coach was, say, a South African who wasn’t best mates with the CA fraternity, he’d have been replaced by now.

          • December 8th 2016 @ 12:10pm
            Don Freo said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

            His coaching in this series is also just lucky. To turn around Marsh’s batting was a fluke and the bowling of Hazlewood and Starc is accidental and has nothing to do with Boof.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 1:24pm
        Pope Paul VII said | December 8th 2016 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        The selector coach is a ludicrous position so he’s just hamming it up accordingly.

    • Roar Rookie

      December 8th 2016 @ 8:30am
      Tana Mir said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      145 was in a T20 game not an ODI, against Sri Lanka on 06 September 2016.
      Scored 66 next game on a tough wicket chasing 130, which we nearly lost once he got out and batting collapse followed.

      Was declared man of the match in both games and man of the series as well.

      I agree with most of what author says, Maxi has scored plenty of runs in last few years all over the world. He is must for Tests series in India. The only batsman that intimidates Ashwin.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 9:25am
        Dom said | December 8th 2016 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        He’s hardly a “must” for any Test series while his Test batting average is 13 and he isn’t one of the best bats in the Victorian Shield side.

        Maxwell’s supreme slogging ability isn’t that valuable in Tests when Australia struggle to bat out a day against India’s spinners.

        • Roar Guru

          December 8th 2016 @ 9:54am
          JamesH said | December 8th 2016 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          I actually think he IS one of the best bats in the Vic side. Definitely one of the most consistent, which is at odds with the public’s perception of him as an irresponsible slogger.

          He shouldn’t have aired his grievances publicly but he’s 100% entitled to be pissed at batting behind Wade in the Shield. Does anyone really think Wade put himself at 5 for the benefit of the Victorian team?

        • Roar Rookie

          December 8th 2016 @ 10:22am
          Tana Mir said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          Really!… 3 Tests played, avg of 13.33, that certainly shows batsman’s capability.

          There is a serious issue with Victorian team, with Maxi and White batting at 5 and 6. No way Wade is better batsman than either of them. Shield cricket needs to be taken seriously not just a place to push your claim for Test Cricket.

          You say “Maxwell’s supreme slogging”, mate you need to watch a little more of Shield Cricket, if you did you would know not long ago Maxi scored more than half the runs of team’s total across both innings for his State in very challenging conditions.

          • December 8th 2016 @ 11:12am
            Dom said | December 8th 2016 @ 11:12am | ! Report

            Sure, I’m not saying he’ll average 13 in Tests forever, I just said he’s hardly a “must” for the team. The only real “musts” in that batting line-up for India are Smith and Warner really – Khawaja’s established himself in the team but his record on the subcontinent is pretty rusty.

            Maxwell’s obviously a super talented player, but there are good arguments for leaving him out of the ODI team, let alone the Test side – and even his biggest fans must admit the limited overs formats are his stronger forms of the game.

            • Roar Guru

              December 8th 2016 @ 12:20pm
              Magnus M. Østergaard said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Also his last test was 2 years ago, so hard to base it off that. First class average of 40isnt bad tho.

            • Roar Rookie

              December 8th 2016 @ 12:20pm
              Tana Mir said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              His last two short form performances are 145 and 66 ( which is bat v bat after all). If that does not deserve a start what does….

              You said it, he most definitely is super talented and guy like him needs an arm around his shoulder not constant public criticism. Surely we should be able to get the best out of him, and one way of doing that is get him in the team and give him room to grow, something like what they did with Mitch Marsh in Test cricket.

    • Roar Guru

      December 8th 2016 @ 8:31am
      Michael Keeffe said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      I disagree with Maxwell’s fine, but you’re talking as though he was the incumbent who hasn’t been selected because of this issue with Wade. Maxwell played in last summer’s ODI series against India and did reasonable well with a top score of 96. Then in ODI series in New Zealand & West Indies Maxwell in 7 innings had 6 single figure scores including 3 ducks and his only other score was 46. He was subsequently dropped towards the end of the West Indies tour and didn’t play a single ODI in Sri Lanka or in South Africa.

      Maxwell’s 145 not out you refer to was not in an ODI as you suggest but was in a T20 match as Maxwell did not play in an ODI in that series and hasn’t played once in Australia’s last 13 ODI matches. Are you suggesting that they should drop Head, M Marsh or Bailey just to prove that there isn’t an issue with Maxwell and Wade??? Maxwell was dropped for poor form in 50 over format and hasn’t exactly banged down the door with runs to get back in the side.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 8:46am
        madmonk said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Spot on MK. Travis Head played in South Africa and has delivered in both of these ODI’s. Maybe Maxwell was to play in Canberra but after Head did well in Sydney the decided not to change.

        This is no story. When we play a T20 Wade and Maxwell will be in the same side.

        CA does not have to drop Head just to bury a story.

      • Columnist

        December 8th 2016 @ 10:14am
        Brett McKay said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        yes, that’s my error Michael, see above.

        But I disagree, I’m simply saying that CA made this a national issue by getting involved, and now the only way it can be resolved one way or the other is to pick Maxwell. Which from all reports, they were going to go, but then didn’t.

        They picked him to play this series, so obviously they didn’t consider his form coming into the series an issue. Then Maxwell spoke, and now he hasn’t played.

        CA weighed into this, and they could’ve ended it…

        • December 8th 2016 @ 10:54am
          GJ said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          I find when I think about something too much or for too long “it becomes true”. I genuinely don’t believe there is a conspiracy with Maxwell’s selection. Rightly or wrongly I choose to think that that CA picked a squad for the series that happens to include Maxwell. He wasn’t chosen for the first game. Other players performed and the selectors have chosen to go ahead with the “winning combination” (along the lines of it ain’t broke don’t fix it).

        • Roar Guru

          December 9th 2016 @ 1:59pm
          Michael Keeffe said | December 9th 2016 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

          I agree that CA shouldn’t have got involved and shouldn’t have fined Maxwell, what he said wasn’t a big deal. But it’s a big stretch to say he wasn’t given a game because of what happened when he hadn’t played in the previous 11 ODI’s in South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies. If he was the incumbent in the team then fair enough but he was dropped over 6 months ago.

          They picked him in the squad not the team. Big difference.

      • Roar Guru

        December 8th 2016 @ 12:46pm
        Pumping Dougie said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

        It’s a bit hard to “bang the door down” if you’re not given an opportunity to bat anywhere.

        First he isn’t picked for Victoria this season. Then the selectors are overruled and he gets picked, but has to bat behind Wade (who was selfishly trying to promote his chances for national selection). And now he’s carrying drinks for the national team while Victoria plays a Shield match. How is he supposed to bang the door down?!!

        Maxwell is a super star and should be an automatic selection in the ODI team. He dominated the 2015 ODI World Cup. He’s a brilliant batsman and fielder, and a serviceable bowler. He’s also a match winner. The fault here lies with the national and state selectors for not supporting him and for not disciplining Wade for being selfish.

        • December 9th 2016 @ 4:07pm
          Chris Love said | December 9th 2016 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

          Hit the nail on the head Dougie. If he wasn’t going to play he should be back in Victoria playing shield. That is inexcusable after the over-reaction fro, the coach, captain and selectors. Of course how bad would it have made them, and especially Wade look if Maxi had played for Victoria and made a double ton before the Gabba test team was announced?

    • December 8th 2016 @ 8:56am
      Buddy Holly said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      Maxwells comments were not as bad as CA are making them out to be. In the context of him considering himself a batting all rounder he is probably correct he should be batting above Wade. The problem is 1) he should have said it behind closed doors, I can only assume he has already raised the issue but nothing was done. His frustration has caused him to speak out at an inappropriate time. 2) his form is not great as most commentators have pointed out in shield. He had nothing to back his comments up so it was easy for people to rubbish it.
      I find it a bit ironic people were calling for Wade’s axing, now he is back in the test side and is the golden child!

      • Roar Guru

        December 8th 2016 @ 9:33am
        Michael Keeffe said | December 8th 2016 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        People keep forgetting, he was asked how he felt about batting at 6 for Victoria and had it hurt his Test chances. It’s not like he called a press conference and unleashed a tirade towards Wade. He was at a press CA initiated press conference where he must have the player the Australian team sent out for the press. He was asked the question and that’s when his response came. The fine was a total over reaction. He shouldn’t be rushed back into the ODI team to squash the story, but the fine was ridiculous.

        .

        • December 8th 2016 @ 9:42am
          Buddy Holly said | December 8th 2016 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          The same old media beat up. “We don’t want sports stars to be robots” but then they speak off script and it is utter carnage. Yes he said the wrong thing no need to punish him anymore and agree putting him back in the side is not the answer. Travis head took his chance and deserves his spot.

        • Columnist

          December 8th 2016 @ 10:27am
          Ryan O'Connell said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          Spot on, Michael.

        • December 8th 2016 @ 12:31pm
          vrx said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

          Wrong. His fine was for the following:

          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.”

          He was clearly inferring that his Australian teammate was abusing his authority as state captain for selfish reasons.

          • Roar Guru

            December 8th 2016 @ 12:49pm
            Pumping Dougie said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

            And he was 100% correct.

            Michael is totally right, the fine was a poorly considered, narrow-minded, indignant, insecure, immature over-reaction.

          • Roar Guru

            December 9th 2016 @ 2:03pm
            Michael Keeffe said | December 9th 2016 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

            What answer is he supposed to give? The captain does pick the batting order. Is he supposed to say “no comment” or “I don’t know”. Wade is captain and he has promoted himself up the order. And again Maxwell didn’t raise the issue, he was asked about it.

      • Roar Guru

        December 8th 2016 @ 10:02am
        JamesH said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        Compare this to the Khawaja situation. Khawaja publicly criticised the selectors for scapegoating him and Burns, and all he got (aside from a return to the test team) was a light-hearted admonishment from Rod Marsh and a private phone call from Lehmann.

        IMO, what Maxwell said was far less disrespectful but he got fined and publicly berated by the coach. I’m not advocating punishment for Khawaja but this Maxwell thing has been blown bizarrely out of proportion.

        • Columnist

          December 8th 2016 @ 10:14am
          Brett McKay said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          Good points, James…

        • Roar Rookie

          December 8th 2016 @ 10:24am
          Tana Mir said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:24am | ! Report

          Agree 100%

        • December 8th 2016 @ 10:27am
          BurgyGreen said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          It’s really weird how Maxwell gets publicly shamed by CA for everything he does. Do they really think this will get the best out of him?

        • December 8th 2016 @ 10:37am
          George said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:37am | ! Report

          Dropping Khawaja and Burns served no purpose, apart from shoehorning S Marsh back into the side.

          It didn’t help the team, Khawaja, Burns nor Henriques.

          A muddled selection decision which Marsh, Lehmann et al didn’t and haven’t explained.

          Then again, home test wins, with red balls or otherwise,are all the matters outside of the Big Ba$h.

        • Columnist

          December 8th 2016 @ 10:41am
          Ryan O'Connell said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          Well said, James.

          To be honest, Maxwell has been a public whipping boy of Boof’s for some time now. He’s often publicly called him out.

          • December 8th 2016 @ 12:06pm
            George said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            Well, Khawaja’s scoring heavily now, so his laidback attitude and perceived poor fielding can’t be sniped at incessantly.

            • December 8th 2016 @ 2:22pm
              Don Freo said | December 8th 2016 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

              Lehmann, the coach, at work there. Another success. The criticism of Lehmann is staggering.

        • Roar Guru

          December 8th 2016 @ 12:14pm
          DingoGray said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          CA seems to have it’s targets. It once was Khawaja, it seems they’ve now moved onto Maxwell….

          I wonder who’s next?

        • December 8th 2016 @ 1:33pm
          Pope Paul VII said | December 8th 2016 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

          After the dopey treatment of Khawaja in the past, he probably felt justified in giving a bit back. As George said it was purposeless. Just denied him some much needed experience on the subcontinent.

    • December 8th 2016 @ 10:19am
      BurgyGreen said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      He should’ve been in the team for the SA tour but with Head playing well there really is no room for him in the side unless they want to replace Bailey, but even then they would be much more likely to pick a specialist batsman such as Khawaja.

      The Test team is another matter. I have long felt that he should’ve been there or thereabouts for a middle order spot, with he, Handscomb and Patterson competing for three spots. I think he’s right to feel aggrieved when a guy like Nic Maddinson, the true embodiment of the ‘potential player’ and profligate slogger that people often characterise Maxwell as, gets picked.

      He’s been told over and over again through the media that he’s too inconsistent, too irresponsible, too aggressive for Test cricket – and then they pick Nic Maddinson. It’s a stinging blow when you’ve faced an uphill battle your entire career just for people to acknowledge the fact that you are a consistent runscorer in red ball cricket.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 12:18pm
        vrx said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

        Maddinson is shy of 25yo with 8 first class hundreds. Maxwell is 28yo with 5 first class hundreds. On both consistency and potential, Maddinson is a better choice for No. 6

        • December 8th 2016 @ 3:21pm
          Rob JM said | December 8th 2016 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

          Maddinson has played 107 innings to maxwell 75, so their frequency of hundreds is not much different. Maxwell has better average, scores 50 plus more frequently and is a fantastic fielder. That being said he has been out of form so he shouldn’t get picked. Maddinson scored a 100 at the start of the season and is mates with the captain so it was a easy pick between the two.

    • December 8th 2016 @ 10:53am
      jameswm said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:53am | ! Report

      It’s tough to bring him back though. Do you lose a quick and bring in a spinner, and if you do, wouldn’t it be Zampa?

      Does he take Marsh’s batting all rounder spot, after what Marsh just did?

      Does he take Bailey’s spot? All rounder for a specialist bat.

      The obvious change should be Khawaja for Finch

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