Glenn Maxwell admits he can rub people up the wrong way and is not “everyone’s cup of tea” and the disconnect between the maverick Victorian and n set-up has been laid bare by his shock axing from the one-day squad.
The selectors delivered their latest curveball of the summer by including Chris Lynn at the expense of Maxwell for five ODIs against England despite the Queenslander being unable to throw with his dominant hand due to a shoulder injury and battling a hamstring problem.
If that was not a sufficient slap for the 2015 World Cup winner, n captain Steve Smith gave the 29-year-old a smackdown, questioning how he trains.
There is a back story beyond the numbers as to why the all-rounder is on the outer 18 months out from the next World Cup and Smith alluded to it on Wednesday.
“I think just looking at the way he trains, I think he could train a little bit smarter,” Smith said. “We’ve all seen the way he can come out and play, do all his funky stuff and be cool with that. When he puts his head down he’s actually a really good batsman, as we’ve seen in Shield cricket, he’s got some big runs there.
“If he keeps his head switched on and trains really well and focuses on basic things more than the expansive things, I think that will help him have his consistency. If he’s having those consistent performances he’s certainly a person you want to have on your team.”
On top of queries about his preparation attitude, the other issue burning behind the scenes is whether Maxwell’s outspoken manner, and often polarising personality within the team, has hurt his chances.
Fairfax Media reported on this after his career-best Sheffield Shield score of 278 against NSW at North Sydney Oval, in November, after he had been overlooked for the first Test. And speaking on ABC Grandstand during the fourth Test in Melbourne last week Maxwell opened up briefly on the subject.
“Maybe sometimes I rub people up personally a little bit different,” he said. “I am a bit outspoken and a bit opinionated.”
The public flashpoint of that came when he was fined by the n leadership group for questioning at the SCG last summer why then Victoria captain and national wicketkeeper Matthew Wade was batting above him at state level.
In a refreshingly honest interview last week Maxwell confronted the perceptions about him.
“I might not be everyone’s cup of tea as far as what they like to watch but I’ve always tried to play the game how I wanted to play it and how I’d like to see it played,” he said.
But Maxwell’s approach to training was on Wednesday defended by his batting coach at Big Bash League team Melbourne Stars.
Trent Woodhill, also a batting coach of Smith who helped hone the modern-day great’s game, believes Maxwell is unfairly maligned.
“In my time with Glenn, closely over the last 12 months, he’s developed a training routine that allows him to become more consistent with his ball striking,” Woodhill said.
“We’ve seen that with his performances in Shield cricket, his (Test) hundred in India and his performance in the IPL last year. His performances would illustrate that he’s on the right track.”
The powers that be in the n team, however, would appear to have a different view.
Dropped during ‘s most recent ODI series in India in September, Maxwell was left out of the squad to face England because he had not scored enough runs, national selector Trevor Hohns said.
“No one is in any doubt about Glenn’s ability or his potential to produce match-winning contributions with the bat,” Hohns said.
“What we have wanted from him is more consistency but in his past 20 matches in this format he has averaged 22 and we need more than that from a player in the side’s batting engine room.”
n squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.