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 @ 6:27am
      Dom said | December 8th 2016 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      Travis Head currently has Maxwell’s spot and has been excellent. Marsh is a better bowler than Maxwell and was superb with the bat in Canberra. Finch is a top order batsman (Maxwell isn’t) and Bailey is considered more reliable with the bat (for now). If either of Finch or Bailey went I’d replace them with Khawaja personally.

      Maxwell is obviously a huge talent but it’s hardly an obvious blunder that he’s been left out, particularly after two strong wins. I think people need to get over this idea that he’s owed a spot in this one-day team.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 7:00am
        Darren L said | December 8th 2016 @ 7:00am | ! Report

        Agree Dom. Australia is one in the world and with almost a full squad available spots are hard to come by. Finch for Khawaja is looking like the most likely replacement. Maxwell is now behind Head for a spot in the team.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 7:10am
        JoM said | December 8th 2016 @ 7:10am | ! Report

        Maxwell was a top order batsman when he opened in Sri Lanka and scored 145 a couple of months ago.

        • December 8th 2016 @ 7:18am
          Dom said | December 8th 2016 @ 7:18am | ! Report

          In a T20 game? By that logic Matthew Wade’s a top order batsman as well.

          I’m happy for Maxwell to be in the T20 side, but the current line-up is doing just fine in one-dayers.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 12:09pm
        Brian said | December 8th 2016 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        Maxwell would walk into any other limited overs side in the world: it’s ridiculous that he’s not in the Aus side. Even if you didn’t want to drop Marsh or Head (who isn’t, despite the current hype, better than Maxwell) you could play all three and drop Bailey or Finch who have been in horrendous touch. With Faulkner at 8 we can afford the luxury of having three power hitters in the middle order.

    • December 8th 2016 @ 7:08am
      I hate pies said | December 8th 2016 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Regardless of what Maxwell said, he’s still unreliable and prone to throwing his wicket away. Until he can be trusted to play like a grown up he’ll be a liability.

      • December 8th 2016 @ 8:32am
        Christo the Daddyo said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        Going on recent evidence you could make that same accusation against Finch and Wade.

        • December 8th 2016 @ 9:30am
          Felix said | December 8th 2016 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Yep I agree, all three of them are liabilities at times. Finch is on notice and needs runs soon, Maxwell isn’t in the team so he can sort himself out while peeling oranges and Wade needs to spend less time sledging behind the stumps and more time focusing on his game.

    • December 8th 2016 @ 7:25am
      doc2 said | December 8th 2016 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      CA needs reform from the top administrator to the drink carrier. ALSO every Tom , Dick, or Harry making public statements should stop and we should have only one person talking for all the team. At present to many yap leaving the media to make up its own version of events.

      • Roar Guru

        December 8th 2016 @ 1:28pm
        Cadfael said | December 8th 2016 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Agree, Doc. Too often we see different players front the media. Smith, Warner, Starc, Hazelwood and Cummins have all fronted the media at various times. At media conferences it should be left to the captain and vice captain.

    • December 8th 2016 @ 7:38am
      John360180 said | December 8th 2016 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      The sooner he comes North and has NSW help him reach his potential the better.
      Why hasn’t more been made of his blocked move from Vic earlier in the year?

      • December 8th 2016 @ 8:04am
        I hate pies said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:04am | ! Report

        Because he tried it after the window when they’re allowed to move. They’re allowed to move in April and he tried it on in May. It’s a non story.

        • December 8th 2016 @ 10:49am
          jameswm said | December 8th 2016 @ 10:49am | ! Report

          Is a move outside the window allowed if your state consents?

          If so, and they said no, then it IS a story.

    • Roar Guru

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

      If Maxwell was not going to be picked for the one dayers then he should have been playing for Vic.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 8th 2016 @ 8:33am
        Tana Mir said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Agreed. We need to show bit more respect towards our First Class Cricket.

        • Roar Guru

          December 8th 2016 @ 11:46am
          Joey Johns said | December 8th 2016 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          That’s what I find most perplexing about this whole ordeal.

          Maxwell complains about not getting a chance in First Class cricket.

          Cricket Australia fines him and resigns him to 12th man duties, ensuring that he once again, doesn’t get a chance in First Class cricket.

          • December 8th 2016 @ 2:59pm
            OJP said | December 8th 2016 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

            #highperformanceculture right there Joey

      • December 8th 2016 @ 9:23am
        twodogs said | December 8th 2016 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        Further punishment it seems Rellum. If Maxy doesn’t play the 3rd match, it seems possibly the ‘team’ of match day selectors never intended to play him anyway maybe to further antagonize and ridicule. CA ‘forced’ the Vics to play him after his questionable ommission from the 1st shield match yet if Maxy doesn’t take any part of this series should not CA again ask why? Since it was a public affair, CA should have handled Maxies justified spray. Not his own team mates. Well, probably not mates now.

      • Roar Guru

        December 8th 2016 @ 11:44am
        The Bush said | December 8th 2016 @ 11:44am | ! Report

        But then he’d definitely be batting ahead of Wade and Wade can’t have that happening on his watch!

    • December 8th 2016 @ 8:15am
      Swampy said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      Bring maxie in as keeper I say!

      • Roar Guru

        December 8th 2016 @ 8:24am
        Magnus M. Østergaard said | December 8th 2016 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        Australian ODI now need to ensure they have 2 things:
        – BIG Moustache
        – Floppy Hats
        If we lose Wade we lose the tache.

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