JLT Sheffield Shield 2017-18
Maxwell's emphatic response to Test axing
Told to make hundreds to push his name forward for a Test recall, the Victorian replied with a career-best double ton
AAP & Cricket Network
25 November 2017, 01:19 PM AEST
On Thursday morning, Australia's chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns told Glenn Maxwell to go pile on some runs.
On Saturday afternoon, the Victorian walked off North Sydney Oval with arms aloft and 278 runs to his name, having finally been dismissed after an epic knock.
In a career-best effort and his maiden first-class double-century, Maxwell struck 36 boundaries and four sixes in a devastating knock for the Bushrangers on the opening day of their JLT Sheffield Shield match against NSW. The visitors were in a commanding position at 4-478 against the undefeated Blues when Stephen O'Keefe bowled Maxwell.
On Thursday he had been at the Gabba on standby for batsmen David Warner and Shaun Marsh, both under injury clouds ahead of the Magellan Ashes opener, before the pair were passed fit to take their places in the first Test against England.
Maxwell learnt of his axing from the Test side a week earlier, with Hohns explaining the selection panel had been underwhelmed by a lack of runs from the 28-year-old and fellow incumbent Hilton Cartwright.
"Both those fellas were spoken about and we came up with the fact that they haven’t performed well enough in the early rounds of the competition this year," Hohns said last week after Maxwell struck 200 runs at 40 in the first three opening Shield rounds of the summer.
"We just feel that Shaun Marsh … has performed much, much better and demanded to be chosen."
Maxwell got some further feedback from Hohns in Brisbane this week.
"I spoke to 'Cracker' briefly after the warm up once the team had been announced," Maxwell said after his 257-ball innings.
"He wanted me to go back and make hundreds. That was pretty simple."
Maxwell added with a laugh: "I said, 'I've been trying!'
"They're not talking about technique changes or anything like that, it was just, 'go pile on some runs'."
The right-hander looked supreme all around the wicket on Friday, punishing anything too full or short from a NSW attack that featured four bowlers with Test experience in Stephen O'Keefe, Doug Bollinger, Trent Copeland and Moises Henriques.
Despite his highest Shield score, Maxwell was equally proud of the career-best six hours he spent at the crease.
"Today was a giant step forward for me in this format," Maxwell said.
"I trusted changes I've made in the pre-season and I think I've slowly made progress throughout the year.
"Last week against Tassie, I started to show that a tightened defence was starting to work for me and, starting my innings today (Friday), that was my focus."
First picked for Australia as a limited-overs player, Maxwell has previously insisted he's at his best in the longest format of the game.
An increased focus on his patience and defence paid off earlier this year with a four-hour Test century against India, while scores of 60 and 45 not out against South Australia and Tasmania in recent weeks had also come off more than 100 balls.
"I feel like I've been building towards an innings like this," he said.
"I knew that there'd be a little bit of panic set in the longer I stayed at the crease. It's happened ever since I started my career – the longer I stay at the crease, there's more loose balls I can go after.
"I just played the ball on its merits – if it was full I drove it, if it was short I pulled it or cut.
"That's the thing I was most pleased about as well. I was in a really good technical frame of mind the whole day and I didn't miss the middle too much.
"My technique is starting to become a lot more repeatable which I think, going back a year, it wasn't. I was probably looser and didn't switch on for as long.
"It was just a really comfortable time out in the middle for me. I was almost in that state of trance where batters get to that stage where they can almost be on auto-pilot."