Qantas Tour of Bangladesh 2017
Maxwell given go-ahead by Test great
Former Aussie quick Jason Gillespie has backed enigmatic Victorian to thrive in Test arena
21 June 2017, 10:42 PM AEST
Former Australia fast bowler has backed Glenn Maxwell to continue his Test career in the middle-order after his breakout series against India in March.
But the biggest obstacle standing in Maxwell's way is something he cannot control and an issue he's been fighting ever since he lit up the limited-overs formats for Victoria: the crowded cricket schedule.
A three-year Test exodus was emphatically forgotten during the third Test in Ranchi when Maxwell posted a maiden century in the Baggy Green to prove he had the ability and resilience to perform in the five-day format.
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Now the key for batting allrounder is putting consistent scores together against the red ball, and that starts with Australia A's tour of South Africa next month.
Maxwell has a golden chance to compile an impeccable case for his retention in Australia's Test XI for the two-match series against Bangladesh in August-September, and he's received some strong support from Gillespie.
"I've long been a fan of Maxwell as a long-form player," Gillespie told cricket.com.au.
"I know throughout his career he's been seen pretty much as a one-day and T20 player and while I agree with that – he's a wonderful player in those forms of the game – (but) I feel that he does have the game to succeed at (Test) level.
"He's on the ‘A' tour playing four-day cricket only and this is a good opportunity for him to get some more time in the middle paying the long form of the game in preparation for the Bangladesh tour.
"Here's an opportunity for Glenn Maxwell to pay back the selectors' faith in him. Go out there, put some performances on the board and get himself ready to go, to be in the box seat to be selected for that first Bangladesh Test.
"He's a fine player, he picks up length quite quickly in the longer form of the game. I think he's a better player than what he's been given credit for in the past in the long form of the game."
The two four-day matches for Australia A – in Pretoria and Potchefstroom – are a rare red-ball hit out for the 28-year-old, whose on-field time has been predominantly occupied by limited-overs assignments over the past three years.
It's a struggle the modern-day cricketer has to deal with: sporadically changing between formats and missing matches at state level to press for Test selection.
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That hurdle is one Maxwell might have overcome and Gillespie is adamant the mercurial right-hander can make a fist of his new role in the Test - he just needs a few matches under his belt.
"His biggest issue, to be perfectly honest, has been scheduling and lack of opportunities," Gillespie said.
"He just hasn't had a lot of opportunities to play the Sheffield Shield cricket that he would've liked.
"Then the selectors will look at his numbers and go ‘Well you haven't played a lot of first-class cricket so how could we look at you (for selection)'.
"That's why I think scheduling has probably been the biggest challenge for Glenn.
"I remember a couple of years ago I saw him (as Yorkshire coach) make one the best four-day hundreds you'll see in county cricket for Yorkshire against Durham at Scarborough.
"It was an absolutely special knock in the circumstances of the game as well.
"He played a fine hand against a pretty good attack on a good wicket for the bowlers and he showed his class.
"We've seen glimpses of that. In an ideal world the selectors would like to see more of it.
"The schedule has got to be there so guys like Glenn can play as many long-form games as they can to put performances on the board."