Maxwell confirms mixed selection messages
Glenn Maxwell has confirmed he ignored offers to play county cricket in England this year after being first advised by Cricket Australia to rest ahead of the Australia A tour of India and then ahead of the Test series against Pakistan, before being left out of both squads.
The omission of Maxwell from the squad to face Pakistan surprised many on Tuesday, with the coach Justin Langer's official explanation being that Maxwell (seven first-class centuries in 59 matches) did not make big scores consistently enough. However he was overlooked in favour of Travis Head (seven centuries in 70 games), Aaron Finch (seven in 76), and Marnus Labuschagne (four in 35), all with inferior records in terms of hundreds per first-class match.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, Maxwell said he was most disappointed by the fact that he was denied opportunities to improve his record this year by first being asked not to take up domestic offers in England, then by being omitted from Australia A. "I suppose the disappointment from my side is I didn't get an opportunity to play any cricket over the last couple of months," Maxwell told SEN Radio.
"I had a few offers to play county cricket in England and they were initially knocked back with an opportunity to go and play in India in the A series. To get told not to play in the A series and have a rest, and I was understanding of that and their reasoning behind that ... I was hoping that was a positive note to go to Dubai [to play Pakistan]. But obviously that wasn't the case."
Posed the question of whether or not he had been misled by the selectors in terms of their plans for him this year, Maxwell said: "Maybe a little bit. I feel like there were other guys who were able to get a full off-season of cricket into them and hit the A series up and running or be able to put their names forward.
"I think the way they were going with the guys they've picked, they've obviously gone in a different direction and that's fine. I feel like I've still got some really good cricket years ahead of me. I think if I continue to play the way I have been in the last 12 months, the selections will eventually go my way. I feel like I'm getting better and better. Hopefully this is another year where I can prove people wrong and put a lot of runs on the board."
The selection chairman Trevor Hohns informed Maxwell on Tuesday that he had been left out of the Test squad for the UAE, and he said he now understood that he was seen to have missed opportunities to make a spot his own on last year's tour of Bangladesh preceding the Ashes. Maxwell was then called in as a reserve batsman for the first Test of the home summer in Brisbane, and was again flown in as a back-up when Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
"[Hohns explained] the fact that my numbers at Test level don't stand up over the last few years when I've been included," Maxwell said. "Now I just need to make more runs. Hopefully I can pile on enough runs this summer to keep pushing my case forward. I had a pretty good year last year so now I've just got to have another good year this year and hope selections go my way at some stage.
"It may sound extremely funny but when I got the phone call yesterday I was actually wearing the baggy green, as extraordinary as it might sound. I was doing a shoot for one of the sponsors and we were fully in our whites. And I had the baggy green on and got the call while it was on top of my head.
"The drive to wear that cap again for my country is still burning deep within me and I can't wait to hopefully wear it again one day. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen but I'll be doing everything within my power to get back out there and represent my country."
Also speaking on SEN, Langer said he had relayed to Maxwell his message demanding hundreds. "I sensed [Maxwell] would be a shock. If you go below the surface, it's probably not as big a shock as people think. There's a method to our madness," he said.
"He needs to score more 100s. It's almost as simple as that. A lot's happened since last summer and we need more 100s from him. We haven't lost faith in him at all. My message to Maxi, as is to all Australian cricketers, we need you to score runs. It wasn't too long ago you needed to score an enormous amount of runs to get into the Australian cricket team.
"If Maxi's playing well and making runs, he's going to be selected."