Maxwell and Wade at the crossroads

Eddie Otto Roar Guru

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    It’s not often a side loses 12 straight road matches without significant repercussions, and the Australian ODI side find themselves at that juncture right now.

    Two players that a few months ago found themselves as vital cogs in both Test and ODI sides, Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell, must wonder where they stand before a huge summer of Ashes cricket.

    Wade has already felt the axe, after he was dropped in favour of Peter Handscomb for Australia’s loss in the third ODI against India.

    The keeper has struggled mightily of late, failing to post a double-figure score in his past five ODI innings and past three Test matches. Given his keeping remains inconsistent, despite close to a decade on the scene, Wade needs to be scoring runs consistently and he has looked frazzled in the mind of late.

    He is a scrapper and a fighter, so naturally when he is out of form, Wade looks particularly ugly with the willow.

    Despite not firing with the bat, the Test side had a significant reversal in fortunes when he was recalled, reeling off five straight victories, including a series sweep of Pakistan and a shock opening-Test victory in India.

    However, now that the side has won just one of its past five Tests, including an unconvincing 1-1 series draw in Bangladesh, Wade’s numbers are under the microscope.

    At 29 years of age, he should be in the prime of his career, however the prospect of Australia recalling Peter Nevill or even looking further afield for the upcoming Ashes series is real.

    The more interesting case is that of Maxwell.

    After a majestic, breakthrough hundred in India in the third Test, his form has petered off badly. Maxwell has made enough starts in his past few Tests to keep the wolves at bay, however having finally been granted a prolonged role in the ODI side higher in the order, he has failed to deliver.

    The No.5 batting role carries significant responsibility, and Maxwell’s numbers are underwhelming since Australia won the 2015 World Cup in Australia, making just 668 runs in 31 matches, at an average of 27.83, including just four half-centuries and no hundreds.

    In 22 ODIs outside Australia since the World Cup, Maxwell averages a paltry 19.11, with a solitary half-century, coming in 2015.

    With Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Callum Ferguson, Kurtis Patterson, Peter Handscomb and Mitchell Marsh around the traps, Maxwell now finds himself playing for his position.

    The Indians got inside his head in this ODI series, where his shot selection was questionable – with Australia having lost captain Steve Smith on Sunday, to see Maxwell stumped off a wide the very next ball was poor.

    There were times you expected the free-spirited Maxwell to attack, but instead he poked about. of course, when you’re under pressure as a batsman, sometimes the more you think about it, the worse it gets.

    Glenn Maxwell Sad

    AP Photo/Jon Super

    Both Maxwell and Wade head into the summer relying on strong Shield form to hold onto their places come the first Ashes Test, in Brisbane.

    The pair will no longer be domestic teammates (if that’s what you could call them, given Maxwell’s recent remarks about Wade batting above him), Wade having departed for his home state of Tasmania after 11 years in Victoria.

    If forced to make a call for Brisbane now, I would stick with Maxwell, given his reasonable Test form at No.6, and dispense with Wade.

    However, there is still plenty of water to go under the bridge before November 23 and a century for either player would probably get them over the line.

    When push comes to shove, subjectivity is hard to find in cricket. Your recent runs, wickets and catches are there in black and white, and are your only real currency when under pressure.

    For Wade and Maxwell, it’s time to deliver, or they could find themselves on the outside looking in for good.

    There have been upsets aplenty in the World Cup so far, so be sure to check out our expert tips and predictions for South Korea vs Sweden, Belgium vs Panama and England vs Tunisia and get the good oil on who to tip tonight.

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • Roar Guru

      September 27th 2017 @ 7:41am
      Chris Kettlewell said | September 27th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      “Despite not firing with the bat, the Test side had a significant reversal in fortunes when he was recalled”. This is a bit misleading when you consider he was one of about half a dozen changes to the team at that point. Should they recall Nic Maddinson because they’ve never lost a test in which he played? I’d say it was always about the other changes that made the difference despite those two poor changes.

      Wade just looks cooked. When he was selected it was all about the fact Nevill’s batting hadn’t been up to what had been hoped and they picked Wade hoping his batting would be superior. But that ignored the fact that his record at state level since being dropped from the Australian side was not great. Pretty sure he only averaged mid-20s in first class cricket in that time.

      The keeping position is tough, outside of Nevill there aren’t a lot of other options currently. Carey is often mentioned, but is very raw, and only has a FC batting average of 27, so he’s unlikely to be the one to improve the batting side of things. Whiteman appears out for the whole season with injury. Paine has never been the same since having some major injury issues a number of years ago. And I’m guessing WA, QLD and VIC will probably all be picking rookie glovemen this season.

      So I think Nevill is probably the only viable option to Wade for the Ashes. Other players then have the chance to take this years SS by the throat and toss their name into the hat, but with just 3 SS rounds before the first test you aren’t going to pick a rookie on that. So unless Carey scores some serious runs while being flawless with the gloves, Nevill is forming as the only real option.

      • September 27th 2017 @ 6:38pm
        Eye Of The Tiger said | September 27th 2017 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

        Fair points Chris. My point specifically with Wade was he has bought back to add a bit of niggle and fire to the Australian side many thought had gone a bit soft. A wicketkeeper is very important in the field and Wade bought that bit of mongrel that Australia keepers of the last have always had. Neville was deemed too nice and too quiet by many in the media at the time. The likes of Healy, Haddin and even Gilchrist were not afraid to mix it up verbally. I suppose the difference being they could back up the bluster with runs and catches. I tend to agree that Neville is their best bet, however a Test batting average of 22 in 17 Tests is very underwhelming. He is a better player than that.

        • September 28th 2017 @ 1:47pm
          George said | September 28th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

          Mongrel = being a bogan who sledges players who are far superior to him

      • September 27th 2017 @ 6:45pm
        Eddie Otto said | September 27th 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

        Fair points Chris. My point specifically with Wade was he has bought back to add a bit of niggle and fire to the Australian side many thought had gone a bit soft. A wicketkeeper is very important in the field and Wade bought that bit of mongrel that Australia keepers of the last have always had. Neville was deemed too nice and too quiet by many in the media at the time. The likes of Healy, Haddin and even Gilchrist were not afraid to mix it up verbally. I suppose the difference being they could back up the bluster with runs and catches. I tend to agree that Neville is their best bet, however a Test batting average of 22 in 17 Tests is very underwhelming. He is a better player than that.

      • September 28th 2017 @ 1:46pm
        George said | September 28th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        Well said Chris – Maddinson and Wade were terrible selections.

    • September 27th 2017 @ 9:14am
      Cricketnut said | September 27th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Agree Chris, Whilst I have never been a huge Wade fan when it comes to test player and think that the dropping of Nevill along with Joe Burns to be a very poor decision on the part of the selectors. I do have some sympathy for a guy who has been forced to play in all 3 forms of the game in the subcontinent and probably has only spent a couple of weeks with his family in that time. Wade is exhausted along with many others in the team
      Cricket Australia need to go back to specialist in Test, ODIs and 20/20 and not continue to try and develop all rounder’s that can play in all 3 . All rounder’s can never perform at the top level of all 3 formats unless they are super human like Kholi and there are not to many of them in cricket. To continually have to adjust to a different format from week to week would be very difficult for most.

      As I have always said Nevill is a test purist and should never be played in 20/20 and ODIs. The sooner we change our strategy the better.

      This is now Wades second shot at test, and he has not impressed at all. Pakistan was not really a good comparison when saying he played well. Its Pakistan??? How would he have performed with South Africa and England in the last Ashes. Put Wade back into the ODIs and let him do what he is good at.

      lets hope Nevill gets the test recall he deserves.

      • Roar Guru

        September 27th 2017 @ 12:16pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | September 27th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        Although, this article is written on the back of Wade performing really poorly in ODI’s also. He got that not out hundred in an ODI in Brisbane in January, then 35 the next innings. He hasn’t reached double figures since. His overall ODI record is an average of 25 and strike rate of 80. That doesn’t suggest a great ODI player. Sure, coming in down the order as a hitter you might take an average of 25 as being okay, but in that case you’d expect a strike rate closer to 100, rather than 80.

        In T20’s he’s even worse. His average under 20 and strike rate of just 109, which is a really poor T20 strike rate.

        So, Wade’s record doesn’t suggest he’s a great short-form player either. In fact, the shorter the game, the worse his stats look. His record suggests he’s even worse at ODI’s and T20’s than test cricket.

        • September 27th 2017 @ 1:04pm
          Cricketnut said | September 27th 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

          Again, you are probably not to far off the mark when it comes to Wades performance, The basis of his recall to the test team was that he had scored a 100 , but that was against the Windies and we all know how well we performed against a team that was on its knees at the time.
          It was also on the back of a mediocre performance in state cricket.

          You would have to say the infamous culling after South Africa test by the current selectors was not very well thought through. And if there is anyone who should be coping some of the blame it has to be them for such poor decisions.

          We are regarded as cricket nation and yet our performances and current status in the arena is not rosy. Lets hope we get back on track very quickly or we could see another example of the West Indies woes. They went from one of the worlds best to club level side very quickly.

          • Roar Guru

            September 27th 2017 @ 1:52pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | September 27th 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

            Australia is definitely not going to go the way of the Windies. It’s a very different situation here. But there certainly are challenges for Australia. It is going to go through ups and downs. You have a few really good players come along and suddenly you have a top team for a decade or so, those players retire and those who replace them aren’t at the same level and the team drops down.

            Many people have got used to Australia being absolutely dominant through the Warne / McGrath and co era. But it hasn’t always been like that. You can look back through history and see there are periods where Australia had some absolute champion players and were a dominant team, and then periods where that waned and Australia struggled before some more champion players came along and Australia was on top again.

            We had a significant period of dominance around the time that things like team rankings and the like were brought in. And have been really successful in World Cups since the ’90s. But if you look back to the 80’s things weren’t so rosy for Australia. Australia was really good in the ’70s through the prime of the Lillee/Thompson era, but prior to that not necessarily so dominant.

            So there’s always going to be ups and downs.

        • September 27th 2017 @ 7:34pm
          nickbrisbane said | September 27th 2017 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

          I think the selectors managed Chris Hartley very badly

    • September 27th 2017 @ 9:30am
      AGordon said | September 27th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      hi Eddie

      A really good first article and you’ve summed up the situation for both guys nicely.

      A factor that needs to be considered with Maxwell is team confidence in him as a player. Australian batting collapses are not a new phenomenon but in years gone by, you had players like Steve Waugh, Gilchrist, etc who would stop the rot. More to the point, the players in the shed had confidence these sorts of guys would do the job.

      If I’m a Handscomb, Smith, Warner, etc, I’d have no idea which Glen Maxwell is going to bat in ANY form of the game on any given day. That’s really unsettling for any team in any grade of cricket.

      Personally, I’d leave Maxwell out, he’s way too unpredictable, especially at Test level.

      • Roar Guru

        September 27th 2017 @ 11:46am
        JamesH said | September 27th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        Alternatively, stick him in the top three and just let him go. If he still can’t score when he’s batting without the pressure of a collapse around him then drop him.

        I’d actually like to see Smith batting at about 5 so that we have some stability after losing our first few wickets. Well done to Stoinis on grabbing his chance down the order too. He looks set for a lengthy stint.

        • September 27th 2017 @ 12:46pm
          AGordon said | September 27th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          that’s certainly a thought. If Maxwell bat’s 3, maybe Smith should bat 4 so if Maxwell doesn’t fire, Smith can hopefully stop the rot.

      • September 27th 2017 @ 6:43pm
        Eddie Otto said | September 27th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

        Cheers AGordon. I have long been a fan of Maxwell however he needs to be more consistent and put simply get bigger scores more often. He has often complained that he was never batted high enough up the order in the ODI side or had a decent run the in the Test side. Now he is getting both and outside that hundred in India I don’t think he is delivering.

    • September 27th 2017 @ 11:36am
      Christo the Daddyo said | September 27th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

      Maxwell’s innings (if you could call it that) in the last ODI was dreadful. The frustrating thing about him is that he’s proven he has the ability to put his head down and bat appropriately – it’s just that it happens so rarely.

      • September 27th 2017 @ 1:09pm
        Ben said | September 27th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

        Head hasn’t been any better.
        He has scored less runs in the past 3 games.

      • September 27th 2017 @ 3:37pm
        Nudge said | September 27th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

        I’ve been in Maxwell’s corner for a few years now, hoping with a good opportunity he will come good. But that dismissal the other night would have to be one of the most brainless dismissals I’ve seen in cricket. It was so obvious to the commentators and everyone watching on TV that the Indian spinners were going to bowl wide outside off stump. But Maxwell either didn’t pick it up or just didn’t care. Why not just get on the back foot and smash it through point or late cut it to third man. Instead he falls straight in the trap, runs down the track and looks like an absolute clown and is stumped.
        I’m happy enough if he keeps playing white ball cricket for Australia, because he can change a game pretty quickly but we don’t need his unreliability in test cricket until he can show that he’s grown up.
        Perhaps he could drop all the video clips he does of himself until he actually does something meaningful for Australia.

    • September 27th 2017 @ 1:10pm
      Ben said | September 27th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

      Maxwell should have opened in the first 2 games.
      He partnered Warner in Sri Lanka and did very well

      • September 27th 2017 @ 1:42pm
        matth said | September 27th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        I agree with that. It could have been a game changer.

      • September 27th 2017 @ 4:30pm
        Ouch said | September 27th 2017 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

        For sure.

    • September 27th 2017 @ 1:47pm
      matth said | September 27th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

      Regarding Wade, I have nothing to add. We have a real lack of alternatives at wicket keeper, which must make ex-players like Darren Berry, Wade Seccombe and especially Chris Hartley, absolutely sick. I’m almost inclined to say, “Alex Carey you lucky son of a gun. You are the guy who just happens to be in the right spot at the right time. Here you go, make it your own.” It worked with Ian Healey, who was basically Qld’s second choice keeper when he was selected.

      Regarding Maxwell, I think he’s done enough to finally get a test match outside of Asia, but I am worried. Cartwright and even Stoinis may be able to make a strong case in the first few rounds of the Shield. But I can hear the drums starting to beat in the back of the selectors’ collective mind. Can you hear it? Mitch Marsh, Mitch Marsh, Mitch Marsh. After all he’s a Marsh and he’s a Mitchell.

      • Roar Guru

        September 27th 2017 @ 2:01pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | September 27th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

        Can’t rule out anything the selectors might do, especially when you have a player who ticks both the Marsh and Mitchell boxes, but Marsh the more time has gone on the more Mitch Marsh has worked his way further away from the batting allrounder role to more of a bowling allrounder. He’s nowhere near being among our top 3-4 quicks, a long way from that, but his FC bowling record is good enough to have him in a the WA team purely as a bowler, while his batting record suggests more a better than average tail-ender than a full-fledged allrounder. He’s more a good number 8 than a batting allrounder these days. Unfortunately for him, selector brain farts aside, that leaves him little options for getting into the Australian side. It’s hard to see him any higher than 15-20 in the pace bowling pecking order. And many of those other bowlers in that list way ahead of him are pretty handy with the bat and can make a pretty good #8 themselves.

        Basically, to get into a team as a bowling allrounder you need to be in one of the top 4 available bowlers in the country. To get into the team as a true allrounder you really need to be a batting allrounder, able to make the team pretty much on your batting with your bowling basically being the bonus. He’s getting further and further away from that.

        I suspect that when fit he’s still part of Australia’s best ODI team though. While he’s a fair way off being a test #6, his ODI record is actually pretty good.

      • September 27th 2017 @ 2:26pm
        jameswm said | September 27th 2017 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

        Another for the no.6 spot is Ashton Turner. He had a massive Shield last season, and what happens if he starts on fire again?

        Here are the Shield run scorers and averages from last season. Might be surprising reading for those pushing for Head, Lehman, Patterson or Burns.

        EJM Cowan 959 runs @ 73.76
        HWR Cartwright 861 runs @ 53.81
        GJ Bailey 839 runs @ 59.92, helped by a 200no
        MS Harris 808 runs @ 42.52
        MC Henriques 775 runs @ 64.58
        AJ Turner 742 runs @ 53.00
        JA Burns 724 runs @ 40.22
        JS Lehmann 692 runs @ 40.70
        KR Patterson 668 runs @ 44.53
        TM Head 645 runs @ 43.00
        PM Nevill 625 runs @ 56.81

        • September 27th 2017 @ 2:37pm
          matth said | September 27th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

          I actually think Burns’ stats are alright, given he is an opener, but I hear what you are saying.

        • September 27th 2017 @ 6:03pm
          Adam said | September 27th 2017 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

          G

        • Roar Guru

          September 28th 2017 @ 8:12am
          Chris Kettlewell said | September 28th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

          Have to agree on Ashton Turner. He’s definitely turned out some quality performances. If he starts the shield season with some serious runs he’s got to be considered.

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