Ambitious Maxwell eyes UAE and beyond
Australia's three-format x-factor optimistic about playing Pakistan and determined to position himself as an Ashes lock
28 July 2018, 02:30 PM AEST
It's rare cricketers, or athletes in general, will admit to thinking too far ahead. The next game, the next innings, the next ball – the mantra is always to focus on the here and now.
But athletes are human too, and sometimes thoughts wander to the horizon, recalling the misty-eyed dreams they had as kids.
Ahead of a summer that offers batsmen more opportunity to break into the Australian Test team than at any other time since the upheaval that marked the introduction of World Series Cricket, Glenn Maxwell has allowed himself the luxury of a little dream.
Now is the time for it: Maxwell is on a rare break from cricket. Players know they live a charmed life, playing a game for a living and being handsomely rewarded for it. But the endless grind of hotel rooms and travel, no matter how luxurious, can wear down even the most optimistic.
Maxwell has a fortnight back at home, catching up with friends and family. Two weeks to relax, to recharge, to dream, before the work starts to turn those dreams into a reality.
"This is going to be a big summer potentially, to hopefully solidify myself in all three formats," Maxwell told SEN's Gerard Whateley this week.
"To have this break before what could be a really big year for me is really pivotal.
"It gives me a great opportunity to work at my game, get myself up to a level that I think I can reach by the end of this season and hopefully be on that Ashes trip straight after the World Cup next year.
"That's the main goal at the end of this, to have such a good 12 months that I can write my name on that team sheet."
Big dreams indeed.
The first step is earning a spot in Australia's top six in the UAE for the upcoming two-Test series against Pakistan.
Then comes the three-format player's eternal juggle. If he goes on the UAE tour, Maxwell will miss the JLT One-Day Cup and opening rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield.
If he's involved in the limited-overs matches against South Africa and India that open the Australian men's international summer, he would have, at best, one Shield game before the first Test against India, with Victoria facing Queensland at the Gabba.
First things first though, Maxwell knows he's got to be in tip-top shape to get a look-in against Pakistan.
Maxwell, Shaun Marsh and Joe Burns are the highest-profile batters who are not going on the Australia A trip to India, which head coach Justin Langer said would be pivotal in deciding the Test top six.
Marsh is a proven performer on the subcontinent and widely regarded as one of Australia's best players of spin. Maxwell, with a maiden Test century under his belt last year in Ranchi, is also familiar with subcontinent conditions, and has played all seven of his Tests in Asia.
"I've been to India 16 or 17 times now, it's not a place where they (Australia's selectors) need to see me play," Maxwell said.
"They've seen me play over there enough. I had a bit of success in the Test series last year, it's not hugely foreign to me.
"I haven't been given any indication (of a guaranteed spot in the touring party) but there has been a lot of positive reinforcement that I didn't need to go on that Aussie A tour.
"Even though there wasn't any specific words, I did feel confident walking away that, alright they're giving me an opportunity to prepare for that Test tour."
Australia A Tour of India
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Matthew Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth
One-day fixtures in Vijayawada
17 August v India A
19 August v South Africa A
21 August v India B
23 August v India A
25 August v South Africa A
27 August v India B
29 August - Quad-Series Final
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Four-day fixtures in Vizag
2-5 September v India A
8-11 September v India A