Glenn Maxwell’s omission from the Australian test squad has divided opinion, but coach Justin Langer has provided a black and white reasoning for the decision.
“I sensed (Maxwell’s omission) would be talked about, if you go below the surface, it’s probably not as big a shock as a lot of people would think,” Langer told SEN’s Whateley.
“At the end of the day, in test cricket and there’s a method to our madness, Glenn Maxwell is 30 years old and everything above A-grade cricket he’s scored 17 hundreds.
“I’ll put that in perspective for you, Steve Smith has scored 79 hundreds and David Warner’s scored 88 so we all know Maxwell’s a terrific bloke, he’s a brilliant fieldsman, he’s got talent to burn, but he’s also a very frustrating cricketer because he needs to score more hundreds.
“He’s had some good periods over the last 12 months or so, I obviously wasn’t in the chair after last year’s selection, but a lot has happened, they’ve been on a few tours last summer and we need more hundreds from him, pretty much simple as that.
“He just wasn’t picked in the test team for two tests against Pakistan and the reason for that, as I’ve spoken to him about, we need guys who can score hundreds in the Australian test team elevating the level of expectation of what it takes to wear a baggy green cap.”
Langer said if Maxwell does start scoring a few more hundreds, he’ll be right back in the test mix.
“We haven’t lost faith in him at all because just remember, I can see the headline in two weeks' time, Maxwell’s back in the Australian cricket team because he’ll be one of our first selected in the T20s,” he said.
“The truth is about Glenn Maxwell, and I spoke to Andrew McDonald the Victorian coach last night, we both agreed, if Maxy’s playing well and making runs, he’s going to be selected because he’s a gun player, he’s a gun fielder, he’s a good guy to have around the team and we know how talented he is.
“But take the name out of it, we’ve got to get back to a point in Australian cricket where it’s really hard to get into the team, otherwise we’ll keep accepting mediocrity and that’s not what we’re about.”
Many have wondered whether Maxwell’s reportedly divisive personality played into his non-selection, but Langer categorically shut that theory down.
“I was super impressed with Glenn Maxwell. He works really hard, he’s got (Ricky) Ponting-like work ethic with his fielding, he’s a really good bloke around the team and I have not got one millisecond of issue with Maxy’s personality,” he said.
Maxwell wasn’t given a chance to prove himself in the recent Australia A tour of India, but Langer said he and a few other older players were always going to be left out of that series.
“We didn’t send Aaron Finch or Joe Burns either, these guys are a little older,” he said.
“Maxy’s had plenty of opportunities, as a few of the other guys have had and they will have over the summer, so I don’t buy that one.
“Travis Head for example is six years younger than Maxwell and he’s got 15 hundreds and white or red ball, he’s a developing cricketer, he’s a terrific young bloke, he’s a captain of South Australia, has been for three years and incredibly impressive.”
The two-test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates begins on October 7th.