Glenn Maxwell’s exclusion from Australia’s ODI squad for the tour of India, despite the all-rounder being available for selection after taking a mental-health break, has been one of the talking points after the Australian selection panel announced a 14-member squad. Justin Langer, however, defended the move by reflecting on Maxwell’s form in the last few months.
Not being part of the ODI setup means that Maxwell will now be available to play for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League, with the 31-year-old set to captain the side. Langer is hopeful that Maxwell can make an impact and force his way back into the team.
“We can’t wait to see Glenn playing Big Bash again. As I’ve said many, many times, we love having him in the team, we love his energy, we love his talent. But the truth is he hasn’t performed very well over the last 12 months. We had to take that into account. He hadn’t played much competitive cricket either. He had a brilliant series in the UAE against Pakistan but the World Cup and some series before that hasn’t been his best. We’re sure he’ll get back to his best and we’re looking forward to that,” said Langer.
Another notable absentee from the Australia ODI team is Marcus Stoinis, whose batting performances in the World Cup did not inspire much confidence. “They’re all hard decisions of course but he’ll (Stoinis) be the first to admit he went (to the World Cup) as a batting all-rounder and his batting results haven’t been up to the standard he’d expect and we’d expect. We respect he had a great Marsh Cup, we hope he has a great Big Bash, we know what he can bring to the team but he hasn’t been selected on performance,” said Langer.
Langer is also confident that Marnus Labuschagne’s selection in the ODI squad will work well for Australia. “He’s a very good player of spin bowling. We’re going to India for three one-dayers, he’s a good fielder he bowls leg-spin, he gives us some good options and he’s in the form of his life isn’t he? Hopefully that’s going to work out to be a good selection as well.”
Langer is hopeful that Hazlewood – who has been named in the ODI squad for the tour of India – will be in top shape for the 50-over games with the pacer having had to miss the Boxing Day Test due to a hamstring injury. “It will be nice to have Josh back in the ODI squad. He didn’t make the World Cup squad, which there was a bit of conjecture about, but he hadn’t played much cricket with his back stress fractures. He’s bowling really well. He was the No. 1 bowler in the world not that long ago in one-day cricket. Hopefully his hammy will come up, whether it’s for Sydney or certainly those one-dayers. I know he’s excited about being back in the one-day squad.”
Australia, meanwhile, will be without Langer during the India tour as he’s set to take a break with assistant coach Andrew McDonald to take over the main responsibilities. Speaking about that, Langer said: “I’ve been on the road for 18 months now, and we have a lot coming up. I guess the most important thing about it is… I can’t be telling all our staff to look after themselves and make sure you have time to recharge and have time with your family and then not do it myself. This is a really good opportunity with three one-dayers in 10 days.
“And the other part of it is, I can’t also be wanting to give people opportunities and not give them opportunities. I had the opportunity to do it in the West Indies when Darren Lehmann had a short break. So it’s going to be a really good opportunity for Andrew McDonald and Graeme Hick (batting coach) and a couple of other guys who are going to help out as well. So really good opportunities. Part of leadership is walking the talk and I can’t just talk a good game and not do it. So it’ll be nice to recharge the batteries and get ready for South Africa, New Zealand and everything that’s coming up after that,” he said.