Glenn Maxwell opens up on feeling ‘shattered’ after missing out on Australia Test recall
Simply put, Glenn Maxwell feels that his contributions to the longest form of cricket are not properly valued.
The innovative shot-making and destructive hitting technique have come to define the batting all-rounder’s style, and Bazball is just the last reminder that such flair has a place in the Testarena.
Players have been instructed for years that only in battle time would they reap the benefits of red ball cricket. It’s certainly not the style that helped the 33-year-old become one of the most combative players in the world. Nor is it strange to him to be criticized for what are considered ‘reckless’ shooting.
Glenn Maxwell’s innovative shotmaking has graced the white ball game for many years
But he feels that his destructive technique was never valued in the same way in red ball cricket
“For so long, whenever I played a reverse sweep, it was frowned upon and it’s become a staple of test cricket wherever you play in the world,” he says. Sports post prior to his Hundred debut for London Spirit. “Everyone plays it, so it’s like ‘where was this six years ago'”?
“It would have been nice if I was playing, if people had looked at me and gone ‘oh visionary’. Uzzie [Usman Khawaja] play 300 and he’s a superstar, get 150 and bow to him.’
Maxwell has played just seven tests for Australia since his debut against India in 2013, the latest in Bangladesh in September 2017.
In his stop-start Test career, Maxwell averages 26.07 with the bat and 42.62 with the ball, throwing off-spin. But even five years ago, Maxwell noticed a positive difference in how others perceive him, regardless of his test record.
Maxwell has only played seven tests for Australia, the last of which was in Bangladesh in 2017
“It’s definitely nice to have support where I feel like I probably didn’t have that in the early days of my testing career,” he says. “Probably it was the other way around, where it was like, no, I can’t have this guy on the team.
“So it’s pretty nice to see it change. When I got back on the sidelines in 2017, it felt like a real shift of positivity was coming my way, which was rare. So it’s nice to have that positivity and that shift in your perceptions for a change.
“And I think several things have more or less led to that. I think you can lead the Melbourne Stars, repeatedly use the microphone for that, show your personality, speak a little more maturely in front of groups and be a little more measured in the things you say.
“I know I feel a little calmer and less radical I think, like I did as a young player coming up or even five years ago where I probably still wasn’t settled with either side. It was always like I was always one or two failures away from being under pressure and I feel like that kind of slipped into the shorter formats.
Maxwell spoke to Sportsmail ahead of London Spirit’s first match at the Hundred
“Now it feels like there’s a little bit more confidence in what I’m bringing to the team and that’s what makes for consistency and better performance. So it was nice to have that kind of burden off your shoulders a little bit.’
Maxwell insists the way of running hasn’t changed much over the years, other than a little more confidence to play certain shots. So what triggered the significant uptick?
“I couldn’t be happier with the time I’ve played. I couldn’t be happier,” he adds.
“I just feel that when I talk to people, they seem a lot happier. They just don’t turn their noses at me or ask me a question that might be about my personality or something that went wrong.
“It’s like, ‘We like to see you play’ and it’s suddenly a positive spin instead of looking for a negative connotation or trying to find something [with my game].
“I’ve also become a bit more stable off the pitch and I can just be okay and at home with mistakes and not put so much pressure on myself because I know I’m doing the right things on and off the pitch.”
Maxwell insists captaining the Melbourne Stars has helped him get more measured
By playing by the rules, Maxwell has become a senior figure in the white-ball lineup, and his desire to add a second World T20 crown to the crown Australia won last year is obvious. But it has yet to trigger a Test recall.
Such a situation even seemed unlikely to him in January last year, when he seemingly accepted that his red ball career with Australia was over, saying he didn’t think he was ‘anywhere near’ sidelined.
But he came back to mind after nearly five years of exile in June to play against Sri Lanka in Galle after Travis Head suffered a hamstring injury in the previous ODI series against the same country.
But not for the first time in his career, Maxwell was eventually overlooked, a feeling that, he admits, left him ‘crushed’, despite accepting that the right decision had been made after Head passed a fitness test.
“Just before that test squad was announced, I had no idea I was going to play test cricket or even be involved in it. And I had a kind of peace. I didn’t even think about it.
“When I was told I was going to be involved, it brought back new emotions from the last time I was on the test squad and the excitement of being back in the group and being able to make a difference. I thought, “I feel like I’m ready.”
His desire to add a second World T20 crown to the crown Australia won last year is obvious
“I loved the training aspect of it, I loved working with the coaches and coming up with new tactics to deal with difficult spin bowling and exploding balls. It was just so much fun and I felt so ready to go every game.
“I’m glad Heady passed his fitness test because I wouldn’t have liked to be there because of an injury to one of your players. Unfortunately they have changed the terms and conditions. If it were the same conditions for both tests, I probably would have played.
“But they made a slightly better wicket and the selectors made the right call. But… you still really want to play. As soon as you feel you have a chance.
“I’ve tried not to get too excited or hope too much because I know that because I’ve been in that situation so many times and been on the wrong side, the ups and downs of the roster and the 50-50- calls… but yeah, I allowed myself to get a little too excited.
“And I was devastated when I heard it. It wasn’t that I thought they made the wrong decision, I was just genuinely disappointed. It was like I really wanted to play, but I loved being a part of it and the thought of playing again.”
Maxwell was in the running for a test recall earlier this year, but ultimately missed
Combine his close, but not quite close enough moment in Sri Lanka with failing the squad to win 1-0 in Pakistan, two chances to face major Test playing nations in subcontinental conditions have passed him by.
The only remaining possibility for the foreseeable future is the India tour in February and March next year.
It is the country that is now even more special for Maxwell, not only because it was there that he made his test bow and his first red ball century for Australia, but also because he married Vini Raman, who is of Indian descent, in March.
So how optimistic is he to face Rohit Sharma and Co in 2023?
“Well, I feel like I’m getting closer. And there are no weddings planned for next year! That has certainly been done. Hopefully she [Vini] don’t want to have a one year anniversary. But yeah, I feel like I’m in a good place.
Maxwell married his long-term partner Vini Raman – who is of Indian descent – in March this year
“The selectors have been talking about that subcontinent tour and the next. And they just asked “what do you need to prepare, would screech cricket make a difference”?
“I said ‘no it’s not possible’ because the conditions are so different there and it’s certainly hard to prepare to run circuits in Australia during our premier games.
“I think in Melbourne we can still put up nets that can spin and do different things.
“Last year I had a pre-season at Junction Oval where we would use the same pitches, maybe four or five netting sessions in a row and by the fifth netting session they were basically India, that was and it was great. They were the best net sessions I’ve had.’