Warne grooming Test spin hope Maxwell

By Joe Barton,

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    He might not be coming back for the Ashes, but retired Test great Shane Warne is mentoring the man who could be Australia’s next Test spinner.

    Victoria’s Glenn Maxwell is being strongly considered by selectors for Australia’s tour of India in February as back-up to Nathan Lyon.

    Maxwell, more known for his explosive batting and Twenty20 exploits than his right-arm offspin, has quickly emerged as an option following the season-ending shoulder injury to state teammate Jon Holland.

    After taking on more bowling responsibility for the Bushrangers this season, his numbers are starting to improve, Maxwell taking seven wickets at 25.42 in three Sheffield Shield games in 2012/13.

    That’s a step above his first-class career average of 33.81 and it has led to the 24-year-old being pulled aside by chairman of selectors John Inverarity who made it clear Maxwell would be wise to dedicate more time to this special craft.

    Maxwell and his Melbourne Big Bash League captain Warne have trained together at the Stars for less than a week but, already, Maxwell is beginning to understand what made Australia’s leading Test wicket taker the master.

    “It’s not a lot of technique stuff with (Warne) which is refreshing,” Maxwell told AAP on Wednesday.

    “A lot of guys want to change technique when I feel I haven’t got a lot of deficiencies in that area.

    “You have to take the good advice and sift through it to find what works for you.

    “It’s been hard over the last few months especially with so many people having so many opinions.

    “But Shane’s knowledge of tactics and game awareness is second to none. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of.

    “Working with Shane already, I know what he can teach me … it’s only going to help my game.

    “My father has noticed quite an improvement in my flight and the way I’m bowling,” Maxwell said.

    “He’s probably my No.1 fan and the guy who has seen most of my cricket over my life so, if he’s noticing, it’s a good sign.”

    The ultra-confident Maxwell will get another chance to push himself deeper into the selectors’ minds when he bowls to Sri Lanka as part of the three-day Chairman’s XI fixture in Canberra starting on Thursday.

    And rather than be daunted by a nation, traditionally proficient at playing spin-bowling, this budding tweaker is in his element.

    “It presents another opportunity to play red-ball cricket and put my name back up in lights,” he said.

    “I know that they’re very good players of spin … but I always look forward to a new challenge and the Sri Lankan team are going to be an extremely big one.”

    © AAP 2018

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