Glenn Maxwell has seemingly been given a pre-Ashes warning by Australia's selectors, axed for the fourth ODI against India in Bengaluru.
The allrounder was a shock omission for the match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday and his absence has been questioned by former skipper Michael Clarke and former Test and ODI batsman Brad Hodge.
Maxwell made scores of 39, 14 and 5 in the first three games of this five-match series, which India all won, falling to Yuzvendra Chahal on all three occasions.
The manner of his dismissals in Kolkata and Indore in particular, stumped both times having charged at the leg-spinner, may have been particularly frustrating for selector-on-duty Mark Waugh.
And given the first Magellan Ashes Test is less than two months away, and Maxwell is without a half-century in seven Test innings since his first Test hundred in March, the willingness of selectors to discard the enigmatic star indicates he's far from a certainty to hold his No.6 spot for the Gabba Test.
However Clarke, who captained an Australian side featuring Maxwell to the 2015 World Cup title, said he felt the final two dead rubbers of this series would have been a perfect chance for selectors to give the right-hander a chance to prove himself.
"I thought these two games in particular were a great opportunity for Maxi to understand where he sits in the team," Clarke, who on Wednesday called for Maxwell to be elevated to No.3 in the order, told Star Sports.
"I thought it was a good chance to (bat him up the order) and make it clear to him ... that if he doesn't make a big score in the next two games, then you're having a different conversation. Then he could be dropped."
Maxwell found himself out of the ODI side last year as well after a run of low scores and while he posted quickfire knocks of 60 and 78 against Pakistan in January, he averages 27 in 10 innings since his recall.
And with the Aussies winless from their past 13 matches away from home, selectors opted to make more changes in Bengaluru, recalling wicketkeeper Matthew Wade - dropped for the third ODI in Indore - in place of Maxwell.
Beyond this tour, Maxwell will look to post some significant runs for Victoria in the first three rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield in order to hold off the likes of Hilton Cartwright and Marcus Stoinis and secure his spot in the Test side.
Clarke added the 28-year-old is too good a player to not be playing international cricket.
"I know he hasn't performed as well as we would have liked and I think everyone in Australia wants to see somebody so talented be more consistent," Clarke said.
"But I think he's too good a player to now allow him to just go back into the wilderness and go back to first-class cricket.
"I think the leadership in the team needs to find a way to get the best out of Glenn Maxwell."
Maxwell's innings at Eden Gardens a week ago illustrated his ability to both thrill and frustrate in equal measure. He hammered left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who had troubled most of the Australian batsmen, for two consecutive sixes and forced Indian skipper Virat Kohli to remove the bowler from the attack. But just three overs later, Maxwell charged at Chahal, missed a ball fired down leg-side and MS Dhoni did the rest behind the stumps.
Speaking on Wednesday, Chahal said he had a clear plan when bowling to the Australian star.
"My plan to Maxwell is not to bowl at the stumps," he said. “That's a wrong area.
"I tend to bowl outside the off-stump and I vary my pace. I know that if I can bowl two or three dot balls, he will step out and try to play an aggressive shot.
"However, in order to beat the batsman, the line and length has to be perfect."
Australia's Qantas Tour of India
Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.
India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
September 17: India won by 26 runs (DLS Method)
September 21: India won by 50 runs
September 24: India won by five wickets
September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur
October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi
October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati
October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad