Why Maxwell will be a Test star

Samuel Gates Roar Pro

By Samuel Gates, Samuel Gates is a Roar Pro

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    Glenn 'Rocks and Diamonds' Maxwell will always bring the surprises. (AAP Image/Mark Dadswell)

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    Glenn Maxwell hit a stunning 95 off 43 balls in the Indian Premier League the other day. My initial reaction, like some of his previous successes, was to brace myself for the backlash from those in the cricketing public who suffer from tall poppy syndrome.

    Despite his obvious profound talent, Maxwell confusingly seems to be one of the most divisive players in world cricket.

    Nearly every horrified cricket purist seems to have an argument as to why his career is eventually going to be dramatically snuffed out.

    I want to boldly predict now, he’s going to become a regular Test selection.

    Much of the objections to ‘The Big Show’, a moniker that was actually given to him by Victorian teammate Matthew Wade, seems to be directed at his brash innovation and apparent arrogance when he takes the field.

    Maxwell often seems to slash at balls with the leverage of Happy Gilmore and the casual façade of a fourth-grade club cricketer.

    At times he has appeared to be lured into the psychological battle for alpha male with a bowler, rather than winning a match or posting a big total.

    He’s at times reversed swept a bowler to the boundary from three consecutive balls to simply prove his dominance, then while trying it for a fourth time has been stupidly dismissed.

    Before we all shake our heads at his immaturity, let’s remember this concept of playing alpha games within a game of cricket has been going on forever. I actually love this X-factor element to cricket.

    When Sir Garfield Sobers, Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in an over, they weren’t necessarily giving full regard to their wicket or even ensuring they post a big total for their side.

    Instead, what could be better than totally humiliating a bowler with six big ones over the rope?

    A young and brave Adam Gilchrist blasted 77 off 88 balls in his ODI debut before he even played a Test and managed to hit Allan Donald for a huge six.

    Donald famously said to him, “Where the hell is the respect in this game?”

    Maxwell often fits this category. He also sometimes reminds me of a young Steve Waugh.

    Waugh was actually told off once by the great Barry Richards in a junior cricket clinic because he continually smashed every bowler out of the nets. To a thirteen-year-old Waugh, there was nothing better to do in the game of cricket.

    Richards frankly told him that if he was to continue doing that he should give-up the game altogether.

    Years later playing for Australia, a still very young Waugh had the hide to bowl bouncers at Sir Viv Richards and the crowd loved him for it.

    I just wonder if Maxwell is a player in the mould of Waugh, who could harness the same grit, stubbornness and arrogance in the face of a feisty opposition and win many Test matches for Australia.

    In spite of any reputation, Maxwell actually has the first class record to suggest he just might have what it takes to be a batting all-rounder in the Test side.

    The likes of Shaun Marsh, Alex Doolan, Ed Cowan and Rob Quiney have all made appearances in the Test side over the past few years. Maxwell’s first class average of 41.04 comfortably beats all of them.

    Maxwell was like a rare diamond in a very rough and forgettable summer for Victoria this past season.

    His class was no more obvious than when New South Wales thumped the Victorians by an innings and 48 runs back in February.

    Victoria plummeted to 6 for 9 in their second dig, the worst ever start to an innings in Sheffield Shield history, before Maxwell blasted a quicker than a run a ball 127 to lift his team to 186.

    Victoria only scored 404 runs in the whole match; Glenn made 221 of them.

    Maxwell is already starting to flourish into one of Australia’s better players in the shorter formats. He is also one of the best fielders in the country and bowls handy off-spin.

    Whether he can turn reasonable first class results into big Test tons remains to be seen, but I sure hope they give him the opportunity to try.

    This rare talent will certainly need a considerable amount of coaching and discipline along the way, but the future looks bright for Australian cricket while the likes of Maxwell are at the top.

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    The Crowd Says (60)

    • Roar Guru

      April 20th 2014 @ 7:36am
      JGK said | April 20th 2014 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      He is a great talent no doubt. And we’ve seem from Warner that T20 sluggers can transfer to Tests.

      But To date, his successes in Fc cricket are when he has been able to play it like a T20 match. I am going to need to see him play a few 4 or 5 hour FC innings before I can be convinced he is able to play Tests.

      • Roar Pro

        April 20th 2014 @ 1:48pm
        Samuel Gates said | April 20th 2014 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

        That’s a good point, JGK. It probably doesn’t help him that Victoria’s batting line-up is very very ordinary at the moment so he might not have the support he needs to make regular big innings. Does he need to switch States to become a regular Test player?

    • April 20th 2014 @ 7:42am
      Simoc said | April 20th 2014 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      He doesn’t need coaching. S Smith is doing great since he stopped listening to coaches. They are paid to coach so they rabbit on. Maxwell intimidates all bowlers already but his spot is filled by Smith at present and that isn’t about to change.

      • Roar Pro

        April 20th 2014 @ 1:15pm
        Samuel Gates said | April 20th 2014 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

        Do you see Maxwell eventually fitting in to number six after the selectors finally give up on Watson?

        • April 20th 2014 @ 6:58pm
          Simoc said | April 20th 2014 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

          In a word , yes.

    • April 20th 2014 @ 8:20am
      Stuart said | April 20th 2014 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      It’s not how they make runs without the pressure for the need to survive and rebuild that makes a Test player as Steve Smith has shown against the poms and South Africa, rather it is the determination to grind out a good score for team and country which sets the great players apart from the good ones. I’ll reserve my judgement on Maxwell until he can turn his efforts against NSW into a regular theme at state level first, then Test level when selected, as many players have scored heavily in T-20 but never heard of at first class level such as the openers for Perth and Hobart(sorry,their names have slipped my memory already)

    • April 20th 2014 @ 9:46am
      Bearfax said | April 20th 2014 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      Two of the most maligned batsmen in Australian cricket at the moment are Maxwell and Hughes. They are where Smith and Warner were about 2 years ago. Both show remarkable talent, but consistency has been an ongoing problem and each at this stage has struggled with the next level, test cricket, as Smith and Warner had in the past. They also each have a flaw in their game that has needed addressing. Hughes with a technique problem that has needed adjustment. Maxwell with an impetuous and seemingly arrogant manner that too often costs him his wicket early. But both are big scorers, both are talented in all forms of the game, and both are among the few younger generation with better than 40 average at FC level, Maxwell at 41, Hughes almost 45.4. And they are almost the same age, 25.5 years.

      My feeling is that both will join Warner and Smith in Australia’s test team within 2 years as the basis of Australia’s future combination. Forget Doolan, S.Marsh, Bailey, Quiney etc. Hughes will either open with Warner or be first drop. Maxwell will be No 6. The remaining two positions after Clarke retires, will be fought out between Silk, Maddinson, Lynn, Burns, Khawaja with Doran and hopefully Bosisto biting at their heels as young apprentice gun blades.

      But Maxwell will be there despite his one day achievements, which I consider irrelevant. He’ll be there because he is an improving FC batsman, an improving spin bowler, and along with Smith and Warner, one of the best fielders in the game.

      • Roar Pro

        April 20th 2014 @ 1:30pm
        Samuel Gates said | April 20th 2014 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        I’d love to see Maddinson eventually open the batting for Australia. I’m a little bias though because I played against him juniors (he’s always had freakish talent). The problem with a lot of our potential Test batsman is they simply don’t have the consistency yet in their First Class careers. Our Test stars of yesteryear such as the Waugh brothers, Michael Hussey or Darren Lehmann all had a First Class averages well into the 50s. These days we have guys like Shaun Marsh making the Test side with an average of 35.

      • April 20th 2014 @ 2:09pm
        Tom from Perth said | April 20th 2014 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

        Wise words Bearfax.

    • April 20th 2014 @ 12:31pm
      Deep Thinker said | April 20th 2014 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

      He reminds me of Andy Symonds – big hitter, super talented, dynamic fielder, handy bowling, volatile.

      He’s got all the tools in his arsenal.

      Hopefully he takes his game further than Symonds did – who I think is the biggest underachiever for Australia I have seen.

      • Roar Pro

        April 20th 2014 @ 1:35pm
        Samuel Gates said | April 20th 2014 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

        Ian ‘The Freak’ Harvey is the other guy he’s often compared to. They’re both Victorian, both all-rounders, both have freakish talent, but Harvey never really full-filled is great potential. Hopefully Maxwell doesn’t end up the same way.

        Symonds was awesome but sadly his lack of discipline was probably his main undoing in the end.

      • Roar Guru

        April 20th 2014 @ 6:08pm
        JGK said | April 20th 2014 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

        Symonds did have a pretty outstanding ODI career and held his own in Tests before causing his own demise.

        Good call on Harvey who promised so much and delivered so very little.

    • April 20th 2014 @ 12:53pm
      Axle an the guru said | April 20th 2014 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

      Both Hughes and Khawaja? There batting at test level seems to have gone backward since there respective dabuts. Hughes burst in the test arena with some grate scores, but he has done sweet FA at test level since. IMO Khawaja looked like the perfect number three when he replaced in injured Ricky Ponting, but has done nothing since. If there not careful there career opportunities will pass them by. I think Maxwell is capable of anything and should be given a go when the time is right.

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