Maxwell's 'painful' batting order issue

Allrounder expresses his frustration at having to bat below Matthew Wade in Sheffield Shield

Australia limited-overs allrounder Glenn Maxwell says batting below his Victoria captain Matthew Wade in first-class cricket has been “painful” and potentially hurt his Test selection chances.

Maxwell missed out to teammate Peter Handscomb and NSW’s Nic Maddinson in Australia’s revamped middle-order for the final Test against South Africa in Adelaide, while Wade was recalled in place of incumbent gloveman Peter Nevill on the back of his perceived superior batting ability.

The 28-year-old felt as though he was a chance to be picked after Australia’s heavy defeat to the Proteas in Hobart, but laments batting at No.6 behind Wade in his first two Shield matches this summer.

"That's probably a little bit painful at times,” Maxwell said when asked if batting down the order hurt his chances of Test representation.

“I think probably batting below the wicketkeeper is also a bit painful as well.

“The wicketkeeper should be batting at seven unless you're trying to squeeze an extra bowler into your line-up.

“I've been just trying to bat wherever I can and trying to make as many runs as I can.

“I got a hundred from No.8 from Victoria so there is always opportunities to get runs wherever you are in the order but the way the Vics have been going you're generally coming in trying to set a total up or trying to win the game with not many runs to get.”

Asked why Wade was batting ahead of him, Maxwell said: "I think because he's captain and he chooses the batting order. That's my view on it."

Maxwell has posted scores of 81 and 10 batting below Wade in the two Shield games they’ve played together this summer, compared to the left-hander’s totals of 3 and 6.

The allrounder was promoted up the order to first-drop in the second innings against NSW, but was out for three in search of quick runs as the Bushrangers closed in on a declaration.

Wade was out caught behind for 4 in his return to Test cricket in more than three years, out late on day two to player of the series Vernon Philander armed with a new pink ball under floodlights.

Maxwell, who averages 42.37 for Victoria in Sheffield Shield cricket, says while he’s disappointed he didn’t get a chance to add to his three Test caps, hopes Australia’s selectors stick with the new-look batting order, including Maddinson who made a 12-ball duck on debut.

“I think in that first game (for Victoria this season) in which I missed out, I think I had the best average of anyone on the field ... to not get picked was a little bit disappointing,” Maxwell said.

“But as I said there are plenty of Tests on the radar.

“They (the selectors) have made it quite clear the direction they're going to try and go.

“In saying that they picked an absolute gem in Pete Handscomb and he played absolutely beautifully.

“Unfortunately for Maddo (Maddinson) he came out at probably the toughest time to bat which was against (Proteas fast bowler Kagiso) Rabada bowling 145kph and above under lights and swinging the ball.

“I felt a bit stiff for Maddo at that stage, and to only get one hit in your first Test match, hopefully he gets another chance.”

Rabada gives Maddinson a departing spray

Now Maxwell has his mind set on taking on New Zealand in the three-match ODI series that starts on Sunday at the SCG, before turning his focus on the India Test tour slated for February-March 2017.

“I’m looking more to the India series now having missed the boat for this Australian home summer, with the way selections have gone I’m looking at the Indian Test series and focusing on that,” Maxwell said.

“Whether that comes from white-ball cricket or any sort of cricket I’m playing, whether they come down and watch me at Fitzroy-Doncaster and see how I’m going in club cricket it doesn’t matter.

“I’m just going to be trying to make as many runs and take as many wickets and show the different improvements I’ve made in my batting and bowling.”

And it will be a new Glenn Maxwell that could represent Australia this summer, with the hard-hitting right-hander making changes to both technique and mindset in his time away from the national setup.

“The way I look at the game and start my innings,” explained Maxwell about the changes he’s made.

“That’s going to be a big change heading into this one-day series about starting my innings and making sure I get into the game and not throw it away too early.

“That’s one thing I changed most of all.” 

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Meg Lanning Steve Smith