Maxwell is Australia’s one-day man. Someone tell Steve Smith

Alec Swann Columnist

By Alec Swann, Alec Swann is a Roar Expert

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    If Glenn Maxwell was intent on making a point then his unbeaten century in Australia’s five-wicket T20 defeat of England the other day probably wasn’t the worst way of going about it.

    He was omitted from the recent ODI series for a lack of consistency according to national selector Trevor Hohns: “No one is in any doubt about Glenn’s ability or his potential to produce match-winning contributions with the bat.

    “What we have wanted from him is more consistency but in his past 20 matches in this format he has averaged 22 and we need more than that from a player in the side’s batting engine room.”

    And for leaning too far in favour of the unorthodox in Steve Smith’s view: “We’ve all seen the way he can come out and play and do all his funky stuff and be pretty cool with that, but when he puts his head down he’s actually a really good batsman, as we’ve seen in Shield cricket – he’s got some big runs there.

    “If he keeps his head switched on and trains really well and focuses on basic things probably more than the expansive things then I think that will help him have his consistency.

    “If he’s having those consistent performances he’s certainly a person you want in your team.”

    Pretty damning assessments from those doing the choosing and both views would be hard to disagree with if you look at numbers on a piece paper and watched some of Maxwell’s more, shall we say, eccentric efforts with the bat.

    But while the 20 and 50-over formats aren’t quite one and the same as some would have you believe, a place needs to be found for the Victorian if another of Smith’s quotes is anything to go by.

    After defeat in the ODI opener at the MCG, he said: “It just looks like the way they play is for everyone to go hard and Joe Root is sort of the rock in the middle.

    “That works for them and it’s something that we might have to think about as well.”

    Of course, this could be taken with a pinch of salt and treated as a bit of a throwaway line but Australia’s batting was second best to England’s over the course of the series with Eoin Morgan’s side utilising a style others may be tempted to emulate.

    There was a slight caveat to Smith’s remarks.

    “When you do that, you’re going to have days where you get bowled out for not many. But you back your players to come off maybe more often than not and get those big totals. That’s what the English players are doing at the moment. They’re playing with such freedom.”

    This was perfectly understandable but there is little doubt that foot to the floor attack is streaking ahead of pragmatism in the limited overs batting scheme of things.

    And that is where Maxwell’s virtuoso performance at the Blundstone Arena should have opened the eyes of those in charge.

    If England’s method is deemed to be the way to go, and it has certainly revolutionised their ODI fortunes after the ignominy of an early exit from the 2015 World Cup, then Maxwell is the type of player who could well flourish.

    Glenn Maxwell

    (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    And the ‘you back your players to come off maybe more often than not’ part of Smith’s utterances is worth paying attention to.

    Maxwell is no Virat Kohli where consistency is almost a given but he can shift, or maintain, momentum in a contest and if the desired style is to ensure the accelerator remains depressed, his modus operandi is a nice fit.

    Yes he does the odd thing that is difficult to explain and occasionally his peers may be tempted to bang their heads against a brick wall but if you have a batsman capable of producing what was served up the other evening, it would seem strange if he remains on the outside.

    If Smith intends to upgrade Australia’s ODI game, it would make sense to find those who can fit the mould and as Twenty20 seeps more and more into its longer cousin’s consciousness, certain elements demand to be incorporated.

    In Hobart, Maxwell provided an ideal demonstration and in the process, really did prove a point.

    Alec Swann
    Alec Swann

    Alec Swann is a former Northants and Lancashire opener turned cricket writer. Outside of the joys of a Test match, Newcastle United and golf generally occupy his other sporting interests with a soft spot for the Newcastle Knights.

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    The Crowd Says (69)

    • Roar Rookie

      February 9th 2018 @ 7:23am
      El Loco said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:23am | ! Report

      We marveled at Smith’s composure during the test series but now we’re seeing the downside of it. He’s become obsessed with the ideas of consistency, process, eliminating methods of dismissal; and forgotten about instinct, spontaneity, and raw talent. In truth consistency has never been a demand of limited overs cricket, rather adaptation. Smith would’ve wanted Gilchrist dropped in his current state of mind.

    • February 9th 2018 @ 7:52am
      BrainsTrust said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      Smith and Lehman thought because England were easy beats in the test matches they would win the one day series and they would take mates along for the ride.
      Warner tried to remain loyal to Smith in the T20 by giving Head first bowl then he turns to Maxwell after Head fails.

      • February 11th 2018 @ 12:45pm
        Garry said | February 11th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

        Our selectors have been openly celebrated for their selections in the test series, they should have to wear the blame for the selections in the ODI series. Too many test players, not enough T20 players. Smith was amazing during the tests, but did he make the transition to ODI’s? Is there selection bias against players in the big bash/T20 format?

    • Roar Guru

      February 9th 2018 @ 8:41am
      The Bush said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      The real contrast I’ve read over the last few days is the difference between Ponting and Lehmann.

      When Ricky was a player he never seemed that astute in reading he game etc, but listening to him commentate in the BBL has revealed just how wrong I was. Lehmann has never displayed that sort of total insight to me. Just “play your natural game” and “bowl fast”. But more importantly it was refreshing to hear Ponting talk about how he has Maxwell’s back “no matter what”. Whenever I listen to Lehmann all I hear is complaining about commentators and umpires and unsupportive comments about players that aren’t his favourites. To some degree it’s my concern with Langer replacing Lehmann, he seems to play favourites too.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 9:33am
        jameswm said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        Maxi spoke in a very positive manner about the influence Punter has had in a short period of time. He has jusy helped get his head in the right space and help him with how and where to focus.

        Punter does seem a guy you want around the team.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 11:08am
          matth said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

          If there is one area where Ponting excelled it was the respect and admiration from his teams.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 11:52am
            The Bush said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

            This is true, no matter what criticism people had of his captaincy, you couldn’t say his players didn’t have the highest respect for loyalty to him. He certainly seems a “leader of men”.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 9:37am
        Adam eels2018 said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        The whole wa side gonna get debut when he’s coach.

        • Roar Guru

          February 9th 2018 @ 11:52am
          The Bush said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          M Marsh (c)

          • February 9th 2018 @ 1:07pm
            Adam eels2018 said | February 9th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            Yeah probably JL will have Shaun marsh in the side for the next 5 years.And like I said earlier JL definitely Favor’s WA players and who are Lehman’s favorite’s exactly.

            • February 10th 2018 @ 7:57am
              JohnB said | February 10th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

              Although to be fair that has been while he’s WA coach and he obviously sees part of his role as being promoting his players. He might change if he was Australian coach. If nothing else, every coach has a strong interest in having the best possible side on the park, assuming he wants to keep his job.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 9:37am
        JamesH said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Yeah, I never thought of Ponting as a great tactician but his insights are fantastic (although he doesn’t have much competition in the commentary box). In hindsight it might just be that he was a more defensively-minded test captain than Clarke, rather than a problem with his tactical ability.

        I recall reading something to the effect that Langer has a good relationship with Maxwell and is seen as a more patient manager of people than Lehmann, which would be a good sign.

        • Roar Guru

          February 9th 2018 @ 11:54am
          The Bush said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report


          It’s also true that captaining and commentating are two different things. For example I had great admiration for Clarke’s captaincy, I thought he was the best since Taylor. But his commentary is really quite poor (the only thing ‘saving him’ is that KP, Healy and Slater are so bad, he doesn’t seem entirely incompetent).

          • February 9th 2018 @ 2:03pm
            Bob Sims said | February 9th 2018 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

            The Channel 9 commentary is cringeworthy at best and has almost reached the point where on-field events play second fiddle to the sideshow!

          • February 9th 2018 @ 11:41pm
            Don Freo said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

            There you go. I say Clarke’s commentary is outstanding. Just tall poppy stuff here.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 11:12am
        Ouch said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        Agree with all of that. Ponting’s insights are excellent. He understands the T20 game far better than most of the others who never played the game.
        Langer seems like a good coach but comes across as a stereotypical, parochial West Australian.
        I heard a replay of an interview on Grandstand last weekend that Langer gave to WA radio(kim Hughes) and it was pretty cringeworthy in it’s parochial-ness. He got stuck into Andrew Tye for daring to leave WA and play for another state.

        • Roar Guru

          February 9th 2018 @ 11:58am
          The Bush said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

          I think that’s what makes the Ch9 commentary seem so bad, only Clarke and Warne even played it and Clarke barely played it. Yet I can’t recall hearing Warne commentate on the current T20Is. Listening to Taylor, Healy, Mark Nicholas and Slater talk about it just seems odd – these guys played in a time when 250 was a good score in ODI cricket, how can you take them seriously when they talk about T20s?

          • February 10th 2018 @ 9:54pm
            Bakkies said | February 10th 2018 @ 9:54pm | ! Report

            Get Dizzy in as coach and Ponting working on the batting and fielding.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 12:48pm
          Peter said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          He’s a great asset Punter. Let’s face it, he’s basically coaching the T20 side and Boof’s staying for the ride.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 6:38pm
          George said | February 9th 2018 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

          WA cheerleader. And refers to himself as ‘JL’. Sheesh.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 6:37pm
        George said | February 9th 2018 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

        Spot on re Lehmann. Apart from a conflict of interest and simplistic tactics, have never been sure what he brings.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 11:44pm
          Don Freo said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

          That says everything about you and nothing about Lehmann.

          Here you are, an unachieving nobody, having a go at both Lehmann and JL. Why? Because you don’t know what they have done or who they are.

          ‘I am unsure…’. What a child!

    • February 9th 2018 @ 9:04am
      bigbaz said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      Max has always marched to the beat of a different drummer and conservative people don’t like that and god forbid he is a personality. He’s embarrassing them into picking him.

    • February 9th 2018 @ 9:12am
      Paul said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      I think you’re article almost sums up the situation Alec, but you’re trying to compare apples with oranges when suggesting Maxwell’s performance in a T20 makes him “Australia’s one day man”. No argument he played a great all round game and was clearly the best player on either side, but again, it was a T20, not an ODI.

      I completely agree with your premise he should be given a chance in the ODI side and should play with his natural aggression, but this is different from playing with his natural flair, which is what Smith and co are trying to rein in to a degree. He thinks he can play impossible shots all the time and the record books show he hasn’t been successful too often.

      The other night he simply played great cricket shots with low degrees of risk and looked a million bucks. That’s what Smith wants him to do and if he does, he could change our batting approach for sure.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 11:11am
        Ben said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        They picked lynn on t20 performance.
        To get the best out of Maxwell he should bat in the top 4.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 7:15pm
        Rob said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

        He’ll have better results playing in the top 4. The problem is he has been asked to bat at 6 and come in after the 40th over in ODI’s that means he will have 30 balls on average to face. He averaged 22 striking at 110plus but what is the expected output of a batsmen in that situation with fielders manning the boundary rope? He over all average is well over 35 batting at 5,6,7.
        Compare, Smith in 23 bats at position 5,6,7 he has averaged less than 20 at less than a run a ball. Smith in 53 bats at 3 averages 52.6 at SR 84.
        Smith has never out preformed Maxwell in the death batting department yet Smith has publicly chastised Maxwell’s method of playing the position he has been chosen to bat in.
        Maxwell has hit 2 centuries in T20 by getting to the crease early. His ODI century was scored batting at 5 of 52 ball. Maxwell scored 92 of 77 balls against India when coming to the wicket at 4 for 71.

      • Columnist

        February 9th 2018 @ 8:18pm
        Alec Swann said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:18pm | ! Report


        I didn’t write the headline!

        The intention was not to compare T20s with ODIs but with the way 50-over cricket is going, the kind of T20 batting shown by Maxwell (similar to Jos Buttler) definitely has its place.

        And you’re on the money regarding the aggression minus the foolish shots.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 9th 2018 @ 9:33am
      Pedro The Fisherman said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      One swallow does not a summer make!

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 9:38am
        JamesH said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Oh, hi Pedro.

        I don’t think a thousand swallows would make your summer when it comes to Maxwell.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 2:12pm
          Bob Sims said | February 9th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

          Am I the only one who thinks that it’s not just cricket matters that are behind Maxwell’s omissions this summer? As long as Boof remains coach and/or Smith remains captain, I think it’s unlikely we’ll see him in ODI or Test colours again.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 11:47pm
            Don Freo said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

            Lots think that. You are almost certainly all wrong. Not a conspiracy…just a mistake of judgement.

            Maxi has corrected them.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 9:44am
        jameswm said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        One swallow?

        – 1st T20 – 40no off 24
        – 2nd T20, 103no off 58

        So that’s 143 off 82 – without being dismissed. Strike rate 174.

        That’s right, striking at 174 and not getting out. Extraordinary.

        Sheffield Shield
        – 1st game v Qld – 7 and 20 in a poor batting game for the Vics
        – 2nd game v SA – 60 and 64
        – 3rd game v TAS – 4, then 45no to save the game
        – 4th game v NSW – 278 (off 318 too). Next highest score in the match 76. 16 in the meaningless 2nd innings
        – 5th game v WA – 96

        That’s a total of 590 runs at 73, most of them with the game on the line.

        That’s a lot of swallows this summer, if you ask me.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 11:08am
          Paul said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

          this article is about Maxwell and ODIs. I don’t recall him setting the world in fire in the domestic comp? Happy to stand corrected, though. Completely agree he’s played real good T20 and 4 day cricket.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 11:09am
            matth said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

            He didn’t get to play in the domestic one day comp as he was over in India for another meaningless ODI tournament, where he did not do very well.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 7:29pm
            Rob said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

            Read this for setting the world on fire in Domestic Shield cricket.

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