Australia’s coach Justin Langer has brushed off Glenn Maxwell’s suggestion he wants to bat higher up the order in the ODI team following his match-winning displays in the Twenty20 series victory over India, pointedly stating that management would “do what’s best for the team” in their penultimate assignment before the World Cup in England.
Maxwell was the difference between the two sides in Vizag and Bengaluru, with a pair of destructive innings that demonstrated his potential to be a key player for Australia when granted a specific and consistent role. But his No. 4 spot in the T20 team seems unlikely to be replicated in the 50-over format, after he batted at No. 7 in the recent series against India in Australia.
When asked about whether he wanted a promotion, Maxwell outlined how it was difficult to play hard-hitting knocks from low down the batting order in places like India and the UAE, where pitches are slow and low and spinning. Langer, however, seemed set to deliver more tough love for Maxwell, asking for a consistent run of good scores before he entertains any changes.
“We’ll wait and see,” Langer told reporters in Bengaluru. “We’ll do what’s best for the team I reckon. We’ll see how we go.
“He’ll be the first to say it, that’s what we’ve been crying out for some time from him. It just goes to show what he can do. When he does things like that, he elevates himself to a world-class performer.
“He wants that, we want that and the more he becomes a world-class performer, the more games we win and the more he gets recognised as a great player.”
The switch from Alex Carey to Peter Handscomb as wicketkeeper for the T20I series sent the strong message that Langer and the selectors are still weighing up their many options for the white-ball challenges to come. However Langer was adamant that the captain Aaron Finch will be persevered with despite his struggle to switch between formats upon his promotion to, and then dropping from, the Test team in the absence of the banned David Warner.
“He’s such a good player, such a good person, captain of the team, we know he’ll come good,” Langer said. “We’ve just got to keep giving him plenty of care and support. We know he’ll come good. There’s no more destructive player in the world – we talk about Maxy, Marcus Stoinis, a number of our players who can be so destructive – but when he’s going, he is as destructive as a player as there is in white-ball cricket.
“We know he’ll come good and we’ll be patient with him. Another important part about leadership is that he’s really consistent. We haven’t see any real change in his personality or his attitude around the group, so that’s a real credit to him. That’s why he is the captain of the team.“My experience of every captain, the most important thing is they’re playing really good cricket. He’s got to keep his attention on that. He’s got lots of support around him. Like I say, he’s such a good person, he’s got to be Aaron Finch, be himself. He’s doing that. He’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We’ll just keep encouraging him to be himself. His runs will come, keep encouraging him to be himself and I’m sure he’ll come good soon.”