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The pros and cons of selecting Glenn Maxwell for the third Test

Tim Miller Roar Guru

By Tim Miller, Tim Miller is a Roar Guru

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    As Australia ramp up their preparation to take on India in the third Test, at Ranchi, all eyes are on the selectors. Pat Cummins appears a like-for-like swap for the injured Mitchell Starc, but replacing busted all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is less clear-cut.

    Glenn Maxwell is the prime candidate to replace Marsh, given his x-factor ability in the middle order and handy spin bowling. But is he the best option to slot into the number six spot?

    Let’s look at the pros and cons of picking ‘The Big Show’.

    Pros
    Maxwell can win you a game in a session. His hell-for-leather batting approach can demoralise bowling attacks, force defensive field changes, and turn a position of weakness into one of strength.

    In the second Test at Bengaluru, Australia, led by Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh, did supremely well to bat out the entirety of Day 2 on a devilishly tricky wicket. But a collapse on the morning of Day 3, losing 4/7, saw them take just an 87-run lead into the second innings.

    A rapid-fire 30 or 40 from Maxwell at the end of the innings could well have given Australia the buffer they needed to prevent India’s comeback.

    There’s also his spin bowling, which, while not world-class, is certainly useful enough to fill in a few overs to give the frontline bowlers a rest, or even serve as a partnership-breaker.

    With Nathan Lyon’s finger a concern, having a third spinner to give him a chop-out, especially with Stephen O’Keefe unable to consistently threaten without the huge spin on offer in the first Test in Pune, would certainly come in handy.

    Maxwell’s fielding is world-class standard, and with Australia dropping a number of costly chances this series, most notably by David Warner at leg slip, having Maxwell prowling the covers or around the bat would definitely improve the standard.

    Melbourne Stars player Glenn Maxwell

    Cons
    The thought of Maxwell walking in to bat with the score at 4-140 or similar, with the match evenly poised, fills me with dread. There’s no question he can bat, but his application at the top level has been wanting in his three previous Tests.

    The memory of him batting at second drop in the second Test against Pakistan in 2014 with the team 2-34, having conceded 570 in the first innings, belting 37 from 28 balls before being bowled going for a heave over the top (all the with nightwatchman Lyon showing admirable restraint at the other end) is unlikely to leave the minds of the Australian public for some time.

    Australia have made a considerable effort this series to play defensive, determined cricket, a blessed relief to fans tired of the overly aggressive approach that failed so miserably in Sri Lanka in 2016 and in the UAE against Pakistan two years earlier.

    Even Matthew Wade has said in the lead-up to this Test that he is unsure whether Maxwell will be willing or able to tone down his naturally aggressive game to suit the team’s needs. If his own teammate isn’t sure, then how can the Australian cricket-loving public have any faith?

    Additionally, Maxwell’s offspin isn’t even up to the standard of a fifth bowler. Yes, in one-day cricket, he’s proved useful at getting through some quick and reasonably economical overs, even snagged a few wickets. But in a Test match, against batsmen more intent on preserving their wickets than going on the attack, and in conditions where spinners are more crucial than anywhere else on the planet, he’s not up to it.

    His three subcontinental Tests so far have yielded seven wickets at an economy of 4.75 per over, with most of those wickets coming from batsmen looking to take him on with Australia all but down and out.

    His best bowling figures in Tests, 4-127 on debut, came after a 370-run partnership between Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, and with the score at 1-387 before his ‘haul’, his wickets were basically meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

    You might as well pick another specialist batsman and have Steve Smith bowl himself if the main guys need a spell.

    Verdict
    You can probably guess by now that I’m not the biggest Maxwell fan, at least not in the longest format. He’s one of the more talented players going around right now, but can you imagine him playing an innings like Matt Renshaw in Bengaluru or even Shaun Marsh?

    However, with the other options on the tour being Usman Khawaja, whose ineptitude against spin in Sri Lanka bordered on comical, and Ashton Agar, whose batting would be fantastic for a number nine but certainly not a six or seven, Maxwell is probably the best option for replacing Marsh.

    Maxwell will probably get the nod for Ranchi. Personally, I’d choose Kurtis Patterson.

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (60)

    • March 14th 2017 @ 3:05am
      Brasstax said | March 14th 2017 @ 3:05am | ! Report

      “his application at the top level has been wanting in his three previous Tests.”

      The bloke has played 3 tests in 4 years.

      How many more tests does Mitchell Marsh to prove his application and skill to be a number six bat test match bat for Australia? Last count was 22 and if not for the ‘injury’, might have played out the remaining 2 games as well.

      As it is, expect him to be in the starting 11 for the home Ashes batting at six or seven.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 11:35am
        Dom said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        Not sure if “Mitch Marsh is rubbish” is the best argument in favour of Glenn Maxwell, necessarily. Everyone bar the selectors is aware that Mitch Marsh is rubbish.

    • March 14th 2017 @ 4:00am
      Mike Dugg said | March 14th 2017 @ 4:00am | ! Report

      The closest comparison to maxwell is symonds. Capable middle order guy who just needs a chance and some confidence. Even if he fails with bat and ball, his fielding is amazing. Surely he couldn’t do worse than Marsh. I’d be happy if Maxwell could average 35 plus and around the same with the ball.

    • March 14th 2017 @ 5:25am
      Rob JM said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:25am | ! Report

      Maxwell was clearly the right man for the no 6 job in india, however due to lack of form (due primarily to being permently and unjustifiable benched) he probably was the wrong pick. Of course so are M Marsh, Agar, and Stoinis. If they wanted a no 6 based on form they should have stuck with cartwright or looked at Ashton turner. No 6 is a batting position, there only have been a half a dozen players in the history of cricket who have been good enough to hold that position with the bat while also being a threatening bowler. We will continue loosing more matches than we win due to lack of batting at no 6 vs lack of bowling penetration in a 5th bowling option.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 10:08am
        Pedro the Maroon said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        “The thought of Maxwell walking in to bat with the score at 4-140” – hey I fixed this sentence for you:

        The thought of M Marsh/M Stoinis walking in to bat with the score at 4-140

        • Roar Rookie

          March 16th 2017 @ 10:32pm
          El Loco said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:32pm | ! Report

          Ha, now the sentence has really been fixed, he came out at 4-140 and is 82no, gold!

          • March 16th 2017 @ 11:00pm
            Rob said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

            This is a perfect egg on face article written by a hater of talent.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 14th 2017 @ 8:23am
      El Loco said | March 14th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      You’re right, he should be hung out to dry based on one agressive innings three years ago and the disparaging comment of his known antagonist.

    • March 14th 2017 @ 8:35am
      Basil said | March 14th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      Yes, I’m taking the comments from Wade extremely serious there. No personal vendetta whatsoever.
      Nice little swipe by the author toward SOK as well.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 11:50am
        Brad said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        That was my though. I saw him on the news and he was asked the question and he turned around and looked at the media person before answers. He would have been thinking of laying into him

      • March 14th 2017 @ 2:47pm
        Mike Dugg said | March 14th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

        Yep. How well did Lyon do in the second Indian innings? 0 wickets! Okeefe got 3 wickets in the match and always kept the runs down. Probably should’ve bowled alot more overs as Lyon doesn’t seem to have the stamina for long overs

    • March 14th 2017 @ 8:47am
      bigbaz said | March 14th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      I thought Wade had a huge hide to even mention Maxwell.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 10:44am
        BurgyGreen said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        I love it how Wade is transparently backing Stoinis in the media and putting down Maxwell. Why did they even bring Maxi on tour? Are they trying to punish him even further by preventing him from playing for Victoria?

        • Roar Guru

          March 14th 2017 @ 12:08pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          I have to agree. I don’t know why they have selected Maxwell on the tour when it really seems like he had zero chance of ever playing a game. Agar a bit the same, though with him they probably consider him more a serious backup to Lyon and O’Keefe if one of them went down with injury or performed really badly.

          • March 14th 2017 @ 12:26pm
            Dom said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

            Jackson Bird in a similar boat then? The only back-up paceman, but apparently gets leapfrogged by Cummins as soon as they actually need a new paceman.

            I’m pretty sure Maxwell will be the guy to get picked. Don’t see how Wade, of all people, gets any say in who gets picked. After the Maddinson experiment I don’t think Steve Smith should get much say either, to be honest.

            • March 14th 2017 @ 2:24pm
              BurgyGreen said | March 14th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

              Yeah I do feel for Bird and I’ve often supported him. Having said that, if they think Cummins is fit it’s hard to resist playing him (although personally I rate Pattinson higher).

              You could also argue that Bird is more of a backup for Hazlewood, and that to replace Starc we need some real strike-bowling firepower. Cummins certainly offers that.

        • March 14th 2017 @ 7:53pm
          Alex L said | March 14th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

          Dedicated sub fielder.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2017 @ 11:59am
        The Bush said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

        Odd that Wade doesn’t have to pay a fine or cop a team suspension for saying the same sort of thing that Maxwell said about him.

        • March 14th 2017 @ 1:56pm
          matth said | March 14th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

          Agreed

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