Marsh Sheffield Shield 2020-21
'Very much in my prime': Maxwell eyes Test return
With Australia scheduled to play multiple Test tours in Asia next year, the right-hander says he's far from done chasing the dream of playing Test cricket
15 February 2021, 08:21 PM AEST
Glenn Maxwell is hopeful a diet of white-ball cricket on the subcontinent will help him force his way back into Australia's Test side for their four scheduled tours of Asia next year.
Despite recent media reports that Maxwell's days playing red-ball cricket for Victoria could be numbered, the 32-year-old still has a burning desire to return to the Test side and insists he's far from done in the longest form of the game.
In high demand for limited-overs cricket all over the world, Maxwell has played just eight first-class games in the past three years and while he hopes to turn out for the Vics in the Marsh Sheffield Shield next month following Australia's Qantas Tour of New Zealand, his red-ball opportunities are likely to again be limited over the next 12 months.
But as he watched day three of India's Test match against England in Chennai, which has been dominated by spinners on a turning pitch, Maxwell says his vast experience in Asian conditions could clear the path back into the Test side.
"I'm certainly keen to still play red-ball cricket and push my case forward to still play Test cricket," he said.
"I'm still very much in the prime of my career. I'm only 32 and there's still a fair bit in me.
"I'm not done and dusted there.
"There's quite a few subcontinent tours (coming up) and I feel like I could certainly add something to that Test squad if I was selected. I'll be certainly doing everything in my power to try and get on those tours.
"If I can somehow get some red-ball cricket at some stage, or some time in Asia to work on my game over there, hopefully that can be enough to get back in the Baggy Green."
The international schedule has been thrown into chaos by the global pandemic, but Australia have away Tests scheduled in 2022 against India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, plus the possibility that their two-Test campaign in Bangladesh that was postponed last year could be re-added to the calendar.
If all those tours are completed as scheduled next year, Australia will play 11 Tests in Asia in just 12 months.
All seven of Maxwell’s Tests for Australia have come in Asia and while he averages just 26 overall with the bat, he scored a century in India in 2017 and is regarded as one of Australia's better players of spin.
He's unlikely to be able to put together a solid run of Shield cricket for Victoria anytime soon given his white-ball commitments for Australia and in the IPL, and concedes making plans to find a gap in the schedule for a solid red-ball campaign somewhere in the world has been compromised by the pandemic.
But he believes simply playing cricket in spinning conditions could give him an edge for those Asian tours.
"Even watching this current Test (in Chennai), you're not facing these conditions in Australia so you're not really learning a whole lot off Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia," he said.
"You're not really getting the gauge of what guys are going to be like under that sort of pressure with the ball spinning square and keeping low and bouncing over your head.
"It's just a different beast completely. To be able to pick a Test side (for a series in Asia) based on Sheffield Shield cricket is a little bit more difficult.
"I think you'd have to go with a lot more specialists who can adapt to spinning conditions and find a way to score in those spinning conditions as well.
"I'm hoping that'd put me in good stead, even if I don't have the time on field with the Sheffield Shield, that I can still find a way to play a few more series in the subcontinent this year or however long and put my name forward, put up some good numbers and show that I'm still a good player of spin."
Qantas T20I tour of New Zealand 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, *Martin Guptill (pending fitness test), Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee. *Finn Allen (on stand-by for Guptill)
All matches will be shown live in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo