Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said on Wednesday he was wearing his whites and ‘baggy green’ cap when he got the telephone call telling him he had missed out on selection for the test series against Pakistan. Maxwell’s omission from the 15-man squad for the two-Test series, which is being played in the United Arab Emirates due to security concerns in Pakistan, was a bitter pill to swallow for the hard-hitting 29-year-old.
“It took a while to sink in that’s for sure,” Maxwell told local radio station SEN on Wednesday. “It may sound extremely funny but when I actually 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 had the baggy green on and I got the call while it was on top of my head.”
Having played seven tests over a five-year period, his last against Bangladesh in Chittagong a year ago, Maxwell has never been able to nail down a spot in the team. However, suspensions to former captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for ball-tampering, and a dreadful run of form by middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb, had opened vacancies on Tim Paine’s team.
He was omitted from the recent Australia ‘A’ squad that toured India but selectors put that down to the lack of a need to see him bat in subcontinental conditions. In the test squad announced on Tuesday, he was beaten out by a raft of uncapped players, including pace-bowling all-rounder Michael Neser, batsman Marnus Labuschagne and South Australia captain Travis Head, all of whom played on the ‘A’ tour.
Aaron Finch, a 31-year-old opening batsman and one-day international specialist, was also preferred despite having never played a test. Former Australia captain turned commentator Ricky Ponting was bemused by Maxwell’s omission. “That’s all a bit bizarre to me. If I was ‘Maxie’ and I hadn’t been given the chance to play for Australia A, I’d be ropeable,” Ponting told Cricket Australia’s website.
Coach Justin Langer told reporters on Tuesday that he wanted to see Maxwell score “more centuries” and suggested he was not convinced by his powers of concentration at the crease. Maxwell enjoyed a fine summer in Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield competition, averaging 50.50 for Victoria but he said the coach felt his numbers at international level did not stack up.
“I was still disappointed, don’t get me wrong,” added Maxwell, who has scored one century from his seven tests and averages 26.07 with the bat. “I just need to make more runs and hopefully I can pile on enough runs this summer to keep pushing my case forward.”
The first Test is scheduled to begin on October 7 in Dubai with the second match in Abu Dhabi from October 16.