Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney

Australia include Glenn Maxwell for Sydney Test

Brydon Coverdale

December 28, 2012

Comments: 108 | Text size: A | A

Glenn Maxwell cuts during his half-century, Victoria v Tasmania, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne, 3rd day, October 25, 2012
Glenn Maxwell has been part of Australia's ODI and T20 squads in the recent past © Getty Images
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The allrounder Glenn Maxwell is in line for his Test debut after being named to replace the injured Shane Watson for the Sydney Test against Sri Lanka starting January 2. Watson has been ruled out due to the calf injury he suffered while bowling on the first day at the MCG and the captain Michael Clarke is also in some doubt due to the hamstring injury he sustained in Hobart. While Clarke expects he will be fit to play at the SCG, Usman Khawaja will remain on standby as Australia assess Clarke's recovery.

Maxwell is almost certain to play as the Australians look ahead to the tour of India, where they will require a second spinner, although Clarke also raised the possibility of bringing Mitchell Starc back in for Watson, to bowl alongside Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird. Whatever happens, Clarke has declared Starc a certain starter, but a four-man pace attack along with Lyon appears unnecessary in Sydney conditions.

"Shane is out of the Sydney Test and Glenn Maxwell comes into the squad as a replacement for Watto [Watson], being the allrounder," Clarke said after Australia's win in Melbourne. "The other person on standby is Usman Khawaja for me once again. I have got a bit of extra time now, winning this game in three days, to give myself every chance to be right for Sydney and I'm really confident I'll be fit for Sydney. But Usman is on standby just in case.

"Maxwell comes into the squad as the allrounder, so it is a squad of 13 and then we wait and see what the conditions are like in Sydney. I think the other allrounder sits beside me right here [Mitchell Johnson] as he showed with the bat in this game. So we've got options. If you think the wicket is going to spin you've got the option of Maxy [Maxwell], if you think there's enough in there to play four fast bowlers and a spinner, you've got [Johnson]."

The uncertainty over Clarke's fitness and the absence of the vice-captain, Watson, also means Australia's selectors will need to decide who would be captain in the event that Clarke is ruled out. The logical replacement for a one-off Test would be the veteran Michael Hussey, although David Warner would be another option after the selectors indicated his leadership potential last summer by briefly naming him vice-captain of the one-day side.

"I haven't had that conversation with the selectors, not to say they haven't thought about it, I'm sure they have," Clarke said when asked about the captaincy if he was to sit out. "But I haven't. I don't know the answer to that question."

"I don't think [my hamstring has] got worse, that's for sure. The thing with my injury, it's about how you pull up as well. Yesterday I batted for a fair bit of time and made a hundred. I really need to assess over the next 24-48 hours how I pull up, continue with my strength programme, continue with my maintenance work to make sure I'm 100% right for Sydney. I think it's more precaution than anything else."

The most likely scenario is that Clarke will play and Maxwell will come in for Watson, to bat at No.7, with Matthew Wade to move up to No.6. Clarke confirmed that if he was declared fit he himself would bat at No.4 in Sydney, with Hussey at No.5. The inclusion of Maxwell would give Australia two offspinners, but Clarke was confident both Maxwell and Nathan Lyon could work in the same side.

"They're two very different bowlers," Clarke said. "Glenn brings that allrounder package. He's scored plenty of runs for Victoria with the bat, I think he averages over 40 with the bat in first-class cricket, and he's had success with the ball. He's the full package and he has that X-factor about him. It's now about assessing conditions and making sure we pick the best XI."

Maxwell, 24, has played 15 first-class matches and collected 27 wickets at 33.81, and has scored 924 runs at an average of 42. He made his ODI and Twenty20 international debuts earlier this year and is viewed as a player of enormous potential by John Inverarity's selection panel.

The absence of Watson will also raise further questions about his ability to perform the dual roles of batting in the top four and bowling in Test cricket, after calf and hamstring injuries ruled him out of the whole of last summer and the first two Tests against South Africa this season. Clarke said there were times when he held Watson back from bowling too much due to his batting commitments, but he said any decision to give up bowling would have to be made by Watson alone.

"That's really decided by Watto," Clarke said. "He wants to be an allrounder. If you're an allrounder you've got to be able to bat and bowl. Unless that changes in his mind, it won't change in mine. We speak about it often. We're very lucky to have such a good player who can do both, he could be in the team as a bowler, he could be in the team as a batter."

Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Claydo78 on (December 31, 2012, 0:07 GMT)

This obsession Australia has in finding a all rounder is becoming laughable! I do admit its such an advantage having a great all rounder in your team line kallis or flintoff but we don't have one anywhere near the quality of those two so why pick one? Watson has been put everywhere in the batting order to accommodate his bowling but he has only made runs opening the bat so why move him? The bloke has made a career out of getting injuried so why bowl him more? Maxwell bowling avg is 33 in state cricket not anywhere good enough to play for Australia! Pick 6 batters, a keeper and 4 bowlers if we don't have that quality allrounder, it's not rocket science!

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 1:48 GMT)

Mmm Maxwell has taken 6/104 in his last two first class matches. Maybe "straight breaks" are effective against the current crop of domestic cricketers.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 29, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

@Junikamra, Koelme and Stymie i couldn't agree with you guys more on getting Khawaja in and the frustration that he has not been picked but an all rounder who doesn't even bowl good off spin. I think with Hussey's retirement you will see the selectors replace a batsman with another batsman and Khawaja will get his chance to show what he can do.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 29, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

@DavidFong this season Khawaja has scored centruies in vital games this year. In Hobart he got 140 when Tasmania got 90 and 130 on a green deck and against NSW he top scored in both inning against a star NSW attack. I think the frustration around him is the lack of chances given to him when he has done what the selectors asked him which was to bat aggressively, field better and run better between the wickets. GetClue i share your frustration but i think Hussey's retirement now will allow the selectors to get him in before the ashes, so wait and see because NSP panel will reward performance.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 29, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

@Micky.Panda on (December 29 2012, 03:42 AM GMT): the fallacy in your position is not taking the context into consideration. It's a spinning batter that is needed both now and in India. But how can Maxwell assist except for wheeling a few unthreatening overs of straight off-breaks. Better to have someone like David Hussey to do that since he will score runs, too! Of course he's too old but with his brother retiring why not take him to India! At least the average age of the team won't increase if Mike hadn't retired. Make some sensible decisions, NSP!

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 29, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

Hussey's door opens a new door for Khawaja but I am sure they will continue to be 'inconsistent' with Khawaja no matter what.

Posted by mican on (December 29, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

Micky.Panda. Clarke at no.5 and no.6 has 6235 runs at an ave of 61. At no.4 he has 565 runs at an ave of 21. Clarke recently came in at scores of 3 down for around 40 and 50 against the best side in the world, Sth Africa. He made 259* and 230. You were saying..? I suggest you check a few facts before you repeat the thoughts of a fmr captain on Clarke's best batting position. Now answer this: If Watson was fit but only as a batsman would you stand down Maxwell for him? Of course you would. Well you have just replaced a so called allrounder for a batsman haven't you? Well then logically you'd have to pick a batsman for Watson now right? I thought this would have been totally obvious.

Posted by Micky.Panda on (December 29, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

@HyClass The fact that Watson only bowled 8 overs in this match is irrelevant. This match was an easy win and full complement of bowlers was not needed. Contrast that to SA matches where Watson had to bowl a lot. If Maxwell is not a good enough bowler then only discuss who is. The spare bowler who can bat is needed. Mitch's batting has been very inconsistent unfortunately. Maybe Henriques is an option, or McDonald, or even Cutting. Forget Khawaja unless he is replacing a pure batsman.

Posted by Micky.Panda on (December 29, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

@mican Clarke is batting well at No. 5. Is batting at 4 going to make him a much worse player? More superstition than anything. Players like to bat as low as 5 because helps them to improve their averages by more Not Out performances, e.g. Steve Waugh. Batting at 5 doesn't help much when your lose 3 early wickets. If tail should collapse, Clarke can easily run out of partners. Normally the best batsman should be at 3 or 4. Khawaja cannot replace Watson simply because the extra bowler is vital specially with swathe of injuries. Who bats at 4 is of far lesser significance. If you put in Khawaja, some other batsman has to go to make way for a bowler. This is totally obvious.

Posted by Dismayed on (December 29, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

Warner, Watson, Hughes, S.Smith, (D.Hussey) M.Clarke, M. Hussey, Wade(Paine), M.Johnson, Siddle, Richardson, O'keefe. Bird, Henriques. Once again the selectors have Dismayed everyone with a ridiculous selection, if they want another spin option surely someone who takes the ball away like O'keefe, or S.Smith who both have batting averages in line with Maxwells. Maxwell is not the form allrounder or batsmen outside of the current squad. Cricket politics will forever hold back this country.

Posted by Batmanian on (December 29, 2012, 3:04 GMT)

@hris, I recommend 'replacing' Watson with, well, a combination of Maxwell and Johnson the born again near-allrounder. Lyon and Maxwell are not exactly the Warne and MacGill of offies, but they're worth a spin in Sydney. So, two more quicks (rest Siddle and go with Bird and Starc - harsh on Siddle I know) and the team picks itself:

Try to dupe Clarke into showing what he's got at four for a new year:

1. Warner, 2. Cowan, 3. Hughes, 4. Clarke, 5. Hussey, 6. Maxwell, 7. Wade, 8. Johnson, 9. Lyon, 10. Starc, 11. Bird

Posted by madscientist001 on (December 29, 2012, 2:29 GMT)

I like Clarke thinking, Johnson in for Watson, Starc in Johnson. I would bring back Haddin for Wade and let Wade move up the order if Clarke is not able to play. If a second spinner is needed give Warner some more bowling he will develop into a more than useful leg spinner he more he bowls in matches.

Posted by mican on (December 29, 2012, 2:09 GMT)

I'd prefer Usman but there isn't an inconsistency in the selection of Quiney then or Maxwell now in the absence of Watson. Quiney can bowl medium pace at test level as well as Maxwell can off spin. The selectors could argue that Quiney possessed a bowling alternative that Usman couldn't so you can't fault their consistency. You can fault their reasoning however as neither Quiney or Maxwell can seriously replace Watson as a bowler. They should replace him with a batsman and if they need extra overs from somewhere to cover for an injury than you can get them from Lyon (at the SCG) as well as Hussey and Warner and maybe even Wade. There is no conspiracy here. I favour a stuff up.

Posted by getaclue on (December 29, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

oh how i wish AB McDonald was fit. Clearly the next best all-rounder in australia, proven over a long period of time. Maxwell? Wow, the baggy green becomes less and less prestigious. 90 runs for the year in the shield, yes a good overall average but what can you really tell after only 15 games!

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 29, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

Well the company who makes them stupid green hats will have their work cut out, what with the way they aussies are handing them out.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

What's with Khawaja? He's averaging 43 with 11 centuries from 60 FC matches, and 29 from 6 tests. He's not exactly setting the world on fire. Oh... he's from NSW.

Posted by OzWally on (December 29, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

I guess this tells us which way they are leaning for the India tour. 2nd spinner behind Lyon will be a combo package of Maxwell, Clarke & Warner. No need for an all-rounder that bowls pace, both Starc & Johnson handy enough with the bat.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 0:37 GMT)

I know he is injured but Andrew McDonald has done nothing wrong in the tests he played he scored runs got wickets if anyone been mistreated its him

Posted by Chris_Howard on (December 29, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

When are we going to accept that Watto is not a top 5 batsmen? Top 5 batsmen have to turn their 50s into centuries much more often than Watto does. It's their job. Watto just doesn't have the concentration span to be a top 5. And dont' ask for him back opening - his average may be higher there, but he still failed to turn 50s into centuries there too. His average is around 37 - when was the last time Australia carried a batsman with a Test average of 37? I don't think even the Poms do that! The selectors have to stop this fantasy that he's a Kallis-esque batsman. He's not. His batting would be much more valuable at number 6 or 7 where there's no pressure to score big every time you get a start.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 29, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

Oz might as well field a state team for this test match and they will still cruise home. SL should be barred from test match cricket until improvements are made.

Posted by hycIass on (December 28, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

I personally don't care for the comments on whether Khawaja's background is making a difference as CA is actually very open to brining players from other backgrounds into the game so this won't work against Khawaja so selection has to to be based on merit and what's best for the team. If we got a Faulkner or Henriques or Christian then i would have backed the replacment as they are proven all rounders but not Maxwell so must agree that Warner can bowl his leggies while Khawaja will be the best number 4 replacement given he bats at 3 at shield.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 28, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

Hitman i would agree with you that having an allrounder is good, but Maxwell is not a allrounde, he got smashed in the T20 world cup and is not threatening with his gentle off spin., What we need for the ashes is a solid top order batsman who can handle the swinging ball and i would have Khawaja in my corner anyday over Maxwell when we need that. Saurav Giri sums it up very well, read his comments. Khawaja has to be rewarded for SCG test, and not rewarding him is just dampening his confidence.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 28, 2012, 22:45 GMT)

@land47. Pretty good summation, and a fair one. I have seen Maxwell a couple of times & he appears to be way short of a frontline fc spinner, let alone test bowler. And is he amongst the best 6 batsmen in Australia? Again, having seen him bat a few times, I must have missed something. Spin is the area we are lagging way behind your guys, that is the biggest gap, whether it is going to be significant only time will tell. BTW, great effort in India, that was a good'un!

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 28, 2012, 22:43 GMT)

@ClueGeek i think most of us are starting to wonder if Khawaja will ever get a go. The man has worked on what was asked of him, scored heavily this season and as Saurav pointed out was averaging 52 till the last shield game until he got a dubious lbw call. I am confident Arthur, Clarke and Co will reward him but they need to be fair and not bring in Maxwell ahead of him when he is not yet a true allrounder like Watto was.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 28, 2012, 22:41 GMT)

@featurewriter. Um, Maxwell is Victorian. And why so down on NSW? They have provided 2 of Tassie's reps in the Ausisie team (Cowan & Bord).

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 28, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

ClueGeek well said, i would be happy if they went for a henriques or Mitch marsh if he was fit as they are geniune all rounders but Maxwell is not a all rounder. Khawaja should come in .I don't think his background has anything to do iwith it but he is being mistreated

Posted by mican on (December 28, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

Trouble is hris is that no.4 is batting position. Proof that Maxwell isnot a like for like replacement is that they will bat him at 7. So thats hardly filling in for Watson now is it? Look at it this way. When fit Watson will come back in the side at Maxwell's expense whether he can bowl or not. That is proof that Watson's position is a batting spot not an all rounder's spot. His bowling was only ever a bonus. You can't pick bits and pieces players as (under quoted) insurance for a bowling injury. You pick your best XI which usually mean 6 specialist bats unless you have a talented exception like Kallis. Therefore pick Usman for Watson at 4, leaving Clarke at 5 where he has scored so many runs.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

For heaven's sake Inverarity,Arthur and company, make a clear decision NOW on who will be stand-in skipper seeing that Watson's not fit to be playing in SCG test and admirable as Clarke's "I'll be fit" upbeat chatter may be the Australian captaincy succession MUST be finalised now before the 4 matches in India and the 10 matches played between June 2013 and January 2014 against the Poms BECAUSE Clarke,like all the other players, are not physically unbreakable & if isn't the humidity of India it is the dampness of England that may be the most testing mental & physical exams on ALL of Australia's players. Especially if India wake up from their current form slump slumber on home pitches and the Cook-Trott-Pietersen nexus in the English batting lineup do to Clarke's 2013 bowling attack what Trescothick,Flintoff & debutant Pietersen did to Australia's 2005 bowling attack which was all but toothless if you take away the Warne magician component from that series.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 28, 2012, 17:36 GMT)

Agree @Moppa and @inefekt on (December 28 2012, 06:26 AM GMT). Clarke: "They're two very different bowlers," Clarke said. "Glenn's had success with the ball. He's the full package and he has that X-factor about him." This spin (pun unintentional) is ludicrous. At least Lyon flights the ball. What's the point in Maxwell's darts in Sydney or elsewhere (lol)? At least SO'K's darts will offer variety! Just hope this isn't a return to Hilditch-type selection, Invers. Of course Oz needs to prepare for India, but this is absurd. My sentiments too @ PFEL on (December 28 2012, 07:52 AM GMT) "Imagine Lyon & Maxwell as Australia's spinners in india. Two of the weakest and inexperienced off-spinners in first-class cricket around the world. I will have a sick feeling in my stomach if they are selected to play together." Nicely put, @btron3000 on (December 28 2012, 07:18 AM GMT). The treatment of Khawaja is beginning to smell fishy as @ClueGeek on (December 28 2012 points out.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (December 28, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

I wonder if the selectors have forgotten what happened with Cameron White when he was picked as a frontline spinner in Ind a few years ago. What I've seen of Maxwell he isn't likely to do any better than White did back then.

Posted by KingofRedLions on (December 28, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

@SirViv - the difference being Australia don't have a spin team of similar quality to Swann and Panesar lying aorund.

Posted by D-Train on (December 28, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Maxwell scores plenty of runs in FC cricket and deserves his shot. I'm a little bit worried that they're doing what they did to Steve Smith and they're trying to turn a part time spinner into a frontline bowler. He's never gonna be more than a handy part timer, so let him focus on his batting

Posted by raghavan88 on (December 28, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

Maybe Aus require a 2nd spinner at the spin-friendly SCG to prepare for India.But still an odd selection.If CA really need an allrounder,why not Ben Cutting,averaging 38 with the bat and 18 with the ball this season in the Shield and some good allround performances in the BBL.He is good enough for a no.7.

Posted by landl47 on (December 28, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

Clarke has made it quite clear what the options are. He will bat #4 unless he's unfit, in which case Khawaja will come in. The last spot in the team will be between Johnson and Maxwell, depending on the look of the pitch. That's a bit hard on Johnson, who I would have thought has earned his spot above Bird, but with Starc already in the side I guess Aus might only want one left-hander unless it's a seamer's wicket.

The problem with Maxwell is that he's not a good enough bowler at test level. He's barely good enough at FC level. He's like Sammy Patel, useful in short formats but not a test bowler. He'll be slaughtered in India. If Aus needs a spinner, pick a spinner. A #7 who bowls a bit isn't the answer, especially as he's another off-spinner. Panesar showed that India are vulnerable to a good SLA- in the absence of a test-class leggie, that's the way to go.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (December 28, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Seems a rather odd selection to me. I can only think that the Oz selectors are thinking of taking GM to Ind & considering him as the 2nd spinner behind Lyon. GM stats are much like that of Samit Patel(albeit having played a lot less games). In the end Samit's role in the Eng team became redundant due to the fact the selectors finally realized they needed 2 frontline spinners to win test matches in Ind. I know Aus won a test series in SRL last yr with 1 frontline spinner but SRL are weak right now as demonstrated by the current series. Us (eng) even managed to win a test there with only 1 main spinner earlier this yr. If oz are thinking of a role for GM in Ind they should forget it now. The rotation policy doesn't make much sense, surely they should be giving Lyon a rest at the SCG & having a look at Beer, O'keeefe or even Doherty especially seeing the series is won. If they are to win in Ind they will need A, 1 of these guys to play & B, 1 of them to perform.

Posted by DylanBrah on (December 28, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

I wish Pattinson and Starc were fit/in the team - they provide plenty with the bat and ball. I don't see any point in playing Maxwell as he is a part-timer with the ball and unproven with the bat. Best to bring in Khawaja. I don't believe in all-rounders for Test cricket, because if your specialists can not take 20 wicket then your team is not good enough to win. Australia has plenty of part-timers to fill in an over here and there. Warner's leggies are nearly as good as Maxwell's bowling anyway.

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

@Rahul_Ashok

A very good point that selectors picked Quiney for Watson but won't pick Khawaja for Watson citing the 'all-rounder' for an 'all-rounder' reason. Also don't forget that Quiney came out of nowhere while Khawaja was already on standby.

This point alone exposes the 'inconsistency' or 'hypocrisy' at play. Regarding Khawaja's chances of playing SCG, I think decision has already been made and he is not under consideration.

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (December 28, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

Also meant to add to my earlier comment. What about Ben Cutting? He'd be a bowling all-rounder and his form with the bat lately has been rather good so there's always the possibility of becoming a genuine all-rounder.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

Really should have been Steve O'Keefe I reckon, with one eye on the Indian tour. I think this may just mark a permanent move up the order for Clarke and Hussey as having a revolving door at no.4 is not the way forward. I don't think Johnson is going to hold down a #7 spot long term either. Time to push Clarke and Huss up and cast the net for a long term solution at no.6, preferably a batting allrounder.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 28, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

@Saurav Giri you are correct in that Khawaja is the man we need for the ashes. Micki Panda read the comments from Hyclass in that if we want an allrounder then Henriques would have been the guy however given we need to primarily replace a number 4 batsman in Watson it has to be Khawaja. Edward_A take your point that its frustrating what's happening with regards Khawaja's selection but the NSP panel is smart and i think they will get him in for the Sydney test. Bottom line is that if we got Quiney as a replacement for Watson then we should get Khawaja as Quiney was not a allrounder otherwise theere is some serious issues with selection consistency.

Posted by A_HTIMAN on (December 28, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

The situation of Khawaja vs Maxwell is much similar to Prasanna J vs Chandimal. Many people want Chandimal because he is a better batsman. But what SL want there is a keeper and therefore they stick with PJ. The same applies here. If u want an allrounder then it should be an allrounder(Maxwell). Not the better batsman, (Khawaja). Kudos for selectors for getting it right

Posted by Micky.Panda on (December 28, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

Khawaja should not be discussed as a replacement for Watson as is not an all-rounder. Clarke would not like him if he considers him to be lazy or slow. He would have to replace Cowan, in which case I prefer Rogers or D Hussey with greater long term consistency. Age of players should not matter as long as there recent form is reasonably good. Rogers averages more than Khawaja 1st class in both short term and long term. Obvious replacement for Cowan who may be gritty but only has a big score recently when 5 players scored centuries. A big score on a tough wicket is much more impressive.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

clarke was always gonna play just a big drama in a tea cup, could never understoud why the the best bat in australia play more tests in brad hodge bet no one can answer that one???

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

@LillianThomson on (December 28 2012, 06:13 AM GMT) You are right ! If only Inverarity & co realize that ! Australia MUST go with 2 spin bowlers in India. But I think Lyon along with O'keefe can do the job in India. Maxwell can be a part time bowler along with Michael Clarke.

Posted by KhanMitch on (December 28, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

Saurav Giri sums it up the best. Khawaja was averaging 52 until his last sheffield game where he bagged a pair with at least one very dodgy lbw call which plummeted his average to 40. He is the best batsman against swing bowling and that's what we need for the ashes, not a T20 player such as Maxwell. Sure Maxwell might develop into a very fine test player in time but for now Khawaja with all the runs under his belt in tough shield pitches is the guy to go to and very surprised that wise heads such as Arthur, Clarke, Marsh and Inevarity have missed this.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 28, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

@Masud, Cluegeek and RahulAshok - you have stated some solid facts on Khawaja. our top order is the real concern. We have 3 openers in the top order and we added another one in Hughes. Khawaja would have been the ideal number 3 or 4 and with Watto injured what better time to try him in that position. Whats most frustrating is that Khawaja just went home after almost replacing Clarke in the boxing day test and now when a definite opportunity comes in the top order the selectors just throw him aside, where is the fairness in that.

Posted by hycIass on (December 28, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

@hris if we took Henriques or Mitch Marsh then it would make sense as they are geninue allrounders but not Maxwell. Khawaja is a solid top order batsman and that's what we need with Watto not there.

Posted by hycIass on (December 28, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

ClueGreek and Pete_au i agree with you guys. Fact is that with Watson not there we are looking for a number 4 batsman as Watson bowled less then 8 overs in this match. I would have understood if they took Henriques or a Mitch Marsh who are geniune all rounders but not Maxwell. Khawaja has made huge strides under Lehman this year. His game is much more aggressive and alot more intent in his fielding and running between the wickets. As Inevarity rightly acknowledged Khawaja has scored in some very difficult conditions and that is a must for the Ashes as we will get tough conditions there against their bowling attack. Now lets get him in.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 28, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

@clueGeek, Moppa and MaximPayne make good points on Khawaja. The fact is that Khawaja was asked to improve on 2 things, fielding and running between wickets, he has done both in abundance this year. Furthermore he has scored on extremely difficult tracks against Tasmania where he outscored Tasmania and also against a star NSW attack where he outscored the likes of Clark, Warner and Watson. The fact he is captain against the Sri Lankans in the warm up game shows the selectors are seeing the improvements they wanted but now its time to reward him at the top level. He is in the squad and i hope he gets the node to play for Watson.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Marcio, Khawaja was averaging 52 until his last sheffield game where he bagged a pair with at least one dubious lbw which plummeted his average to 39....and the reason people want him in the team is because of his technique against the swinging ball....your comparing someone who can bat on swinging decks vs maxwell who is a nice timer of the ball but plays a shot every ball....after 15 games (1.5) seasons and one hundred it is way to early to be saying he deserves his spot because he averages more then Khawaja batting at no 6/7. Say we collapse in England do you think Maxwell has the game to put away shots weather the storm vs swinging ball etc? I think he has a lot of potential but it is way too early to pick him as a test batsman. Btw if anyone truly thinks his an all rounder please go watch him bowl on youtube..his similar to gayle/ samuels.. handy but not at the level where you would pick him in a side as a bowler but a pt time offie who can throw a few down.

Posted by featurewriter on (December 28, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

What a surprise, another New South Welshman. What does Luke Butterworth have to do to get a call-up? (Move to Sydney?) I'm still not convinced that Khawaja is ready for the Test arena. I think he needs a few more first-class seasons under his belt. I'd go Warner, Hughes, David Hussey, Clarke, Mike Hussey, Butterworth, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Bird, Lyon. (Cowan has to go, and I'd sooner get two or three good seasons out of the right guy - David Hussey - than try three or four wrong guys over the next three seasons.)

Posted by Junikamra on (December 28, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

aus selectrz r doing injustice with khawaja...

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 28, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

@ClueGeek is stating the facts. Khawaja deserves a chance and given he was the backup last game it makes no sense for him not to play. i was critical of Khawaja earlier in the season but this year Khawaja's top scores in shield came against Tasmania on a green deck where he scored 138 and Tasmania got 95 and 140 which included batsman asuch as Doolan, Bailey and Cosgrove. He also got 2 half centuries against a star NSW attack(Starc, Hazelwood, Bollinger, Copeland, O Keefe) in Bulls win at the AB Oval where both teams scored less then 200. Inevarity also said in the announcement last week that Khawaja is next in line and on the rigth track under Lehman,. Boof has improved this aspects in his game and rest can see for themselves. Watch the Ryobi games or Big bash games and you will see what i am referring to.

Posted by skkh on (December 28, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

Very strange decision by CA to include Maxwell as a replacement for Watson. With due apologies he is another version of Steve Smith who is neither a batsman nor a bowler. The previous selectors blundered by selecting Steve Smith and now the present selectors are doing the same with Maxwell.

Posted by Junikamra on (December 28, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

it's ridiculous to ignore usman khawaja when he was with team in 2nd test.. if u select the team on merit u can't drop khawaja he must be aus 1st choice to replace watto...1 side aus selector says that khawaja is great talent,he is one of the best technical batsman in aus domestic cricket etc nd on other side they are ignoring him when he has chance to play.. i don.t think aus selectorz are doing justice with usman khawaja..maxwell is replacing a guy who bold 3 overz in match nd aus win by inning nd 201 runs which means that without an alrounder aus can win so why are u giving baggy green to guys in every 3 to 4 test matches.. is bagy green the joke???

Posted by Stymie on (December 28, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

Just what exactly is this mysterious X-factor? I must buy some, whatever it is....

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

@ Rahul_Ashok Agree.. And unfortunately selectors have been ridiculously inconsistent with Khawaja and he doesn't seem to have Michael Clarke's support as well for some unknown reasons. Cricket Australia should get their act together on Khawaja as this whole saga is sending very wrong messages about Cricket culture in Australia.

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

@Stranded_Immigrant - Spot on! It's not about Maxwell, it's about Khawaja being overlooked once more when he had almost earned his way back after a long and hard effort and this time selectors have just gone overboard with their indifference to Khawaja.

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

@ Rahul_Ashok Agree.. And unfortunately selectors have been ridiculously inconsistent with Khawaja and he doesn't seem to have Michael Clarke's support as well for some unknown reasons. Cricket Australia should get their act together on Khawaja as this whole saga is sending very wrong messages about Cricket culture in Australia.

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 28, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

A spinning all-rounder could be a very good thing for this developing Aussie side. I'm interested to see how he copes with Test cricket so lets give him a run and see how he goes.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (December 28, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

Just like India made joke by giving debut to jadeja instead of Rahane or Rohit in Last test vs England, Now Australia are ready to do that in expense of good batsmen Usman Khawja. This bits and pieces allrounder are not good for test cricket you can do with them in ODis, but in Test as well as T-20 you need your genuine bowlers who will take wickets.

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (December 28, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

Maxwell? I think the question isn't why they picked him. The real puzzle might be who's spot is he keeping warm.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

If glenn maxwell is the answer then it was a very stupid question.

Posted by handyandy on (December 28, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

In his current form Johnson could fill the all rounder spot. He could bat at seven and bring in Starc as an extra fast bowler.

Judging from the way the Sri Lankans play pace there is no real need to bring Maxwell into the side unless you just want a look at him ... in which case I would bring him in for Lyons.

Being a dead rubber I would also have Usman Khawaja in for Clarke.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

Steve Okeefe seems like a better option for India going forward, as he is a much better bowler with good batting ability. I don't see Maxwell as good enough in either discipline at test level, he is a good ODI player though. Khawaja should have been picked as he is the next best batsman and that is Watson's primary role. I imagine Khawaja would be an excellent player in England come the Ashes as well...

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

@moppa Khawaja has been released back to Thunder.. He is practicality out of consideration for Sydney test.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 28, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

@Moppa makes a good point, sure Maxwell can develop into a future player but to pick him over Khawaja is a complete joke. I have seen a few of Khawaja's games this year where he has scored on some difficult decks and he is the man to replace Watson if he is injured. Did not look out of place in his appearances at test level, just didn't have enough time to establish himself. His technique does not need to be redone unlike other batsman, he just needs the confidence of the selectors and the captain. @lewisofmacksville i don't think Khawaja being a queenslander is working against him, its just the fact that selectors are showing some serious inconsistency with regards his selection, they had him as a backup for Clarke for all of this week and for them not to replace him automatically for Watto is very dissapointing.

Posted by Nightskyline on (December 28, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

@koelme: Henriques? You're a NSWelshmen right? next you will tell me that Steve Smith is the Australian captain in waiting, haha. Or Nic Maddinson is the next superstar.

Posted by Stymie on (December 28, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

Apart from the infernal, unending injury saga and the second spinner question, it is clear Australia must address the issue of our brittle top-order. IMHO Khawaja is the type of accumulating scorer that needs to be backed and developed. This has been a long-term problem and Watson is not the answer unless he can focus exclusively on his batting. Genuine quality allrounders like the mighty Kallis are rare diamonds. Selection should centre on a player's specialty, and any bowling asset is a bonus. Better to rely on your specialists to get the job done and use part-timers - of which we have Hussey, Warner, Clarke and even Hughes if we're desperate to fill in if a specialist bowler is injured. Let the all rounders stick with the pyjama cricket!

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

would love to see Adam Zampa get a go soon. he is the best young leg spinner ive seen for years. Playing Johnson at 7 is an option and this is why Johnson is so valuable to australian cricket. Jackson Bird is going to be a huge success in test cricket, he bowls with enough pace, line, length, control and movement. Looks like Cutting will be a state player for life as i dont see him getting an opportunity now with pattinson, cummins, hazlewood etc still to come back.

Posted by Moppa on (December 28, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

@hris, you make a reasonable point about Hobart and the role Watson played in that match. And @I-Like-Cricket rightly points out that Clarke won't bowl in Sydney. But the trick with Maxwell is that he'll get carted out of the attack the moment he comes on - so he'll never get through 26 overs! The same was true when Steve Smith was played as an allrounder - his bowling was so poor he hardly ever bowled 10 overs in an innings. I would be happy with Khawaja playing and Hussey, Warner et al (Wade?) rolling the arm over as needed. @Vic Nicholas, Maxwell has 1 first-class century from 15 matches, so you can't compare with Khawaja (11 centuries from 60 matches). If he still averages 40+ in two seasons time, I will happily stand corrected, but picking him as a batsman now is wishful thinking (90 runs at 22.5 in Shield this season). @ClueGeek, Clarke sounds like he's keeping all options open, including playing Johnson at 7. However, the option of playing Khawaja for Watson wasn't mentioned...

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 28, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

@Moppa is correct, Khawaja is getting treated very unfairly. He should be the obvious replacement for Watson given he almost played at the MCG.Watson only bowled 3 overs and we didn't even need him. We might use 2 spinners on the SCG pitch but Warner is still a better bowler than Maxwell.What does Khawaja have to do to represent Australia again.I think there is a selection policy currently in place that Queenslanders are ineligible to be selected for Australia.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 28, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

Maxwell as a front line spinner? I must have missed something when I saw him, I'll wait till he bowls in the test, but something tells me he isn't up to it as a bowler. And no way is his batting up to a top 6 spot in the Aussie line-up, so what gives? SOK gives them a spinning option with someone who can bat. Let us wait & see how the test pans out.

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 28, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

very well deserved. would love to see the big show in the test team. absolute superstar allrounder and will play a big part in india aswell carting the indian bowlers around.

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

@ I-Like-Cricket

Except that Maxwell being an all-rounder is open to debate.At best, he is a T20 all rounder with little or no technique, no temperament and certainly no experience - leaves a lot of questions open.

Posted by Afromop on (December 28, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

If CA is looking ahead for the Indian tour why not bring a specialist spinner instead of an all-rounder and have Mitchell Johnson as no 7, he showed his capable of contributing with the bat. When u tour India u have to have like 2 or 3 specialist spinners so why not experiment in this dead rubber?

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 28, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

More sensible than replacing an all rounder with a batsman and then trying to get that batsman to bowl like Watson.

Posted by koelme on (December 28, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

The selection of Maxwell is ridiculous. Khawaja is the best choice and Henriques the best all rounder in waiting. Why is Khawaja treated so indifferently?

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (December 28, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

@ClueGeek, so I'm to assume that you don't understand replacing one alrounder with another? What happens if Starc goes down injured? Clarke can't bowl with his hamstring, that leaves Siddle, whoever the third paceman is and Lyon, which would mean Warner and probably Wade would be bowling a bit.

That being said, I enjoy the idea of Clarke, Hussey and Wade moving up and playing Johnson at 7 as the all-rounder, especially against a side so injury-ravaged, it couldn't hurt to give it a shot.

Posted by apar151 on (December 28, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

@Sinhya you have got to be joking when you say that the Sri Lankans performed better than India, at least our players didn't succumb to injury easily and at least we fought back to some degree rather than choking.

Posted by PFEL on (December 28, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

Imagine Lyon & Maxwell as Australia's spinners in india . . . that would be just dreadful. Two of the weakest and inexperienced off-spinners in first-class cricket around the world. I will have a sick feeling in my stomach if they are selected to play together against India at home.

Posted by andrew-schulz on (December 28, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

Maxwell has to do better than Lyon at bowling out opposition on a last day pitch.

Posted by Pete_AU on (December 28, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

Surely Johnson is the All-Rounder in the side. With Watson admitting that he may never be available as a test bowler again it is time to move on and select a batsman (Khawaja) in his place.

Seriously, Watson has had far too many chances now. He was never that good at the start of his career but the search for a Flintoff like player after the 2005 Ashes loss kept him back in the side. Anyone with almost carte blanche to be in the side for over 6 years is always going to become better but realistically his batting is barely of a test standard and his bowling, though penetrative, is not able to be used to its maximum.

If we must select another all-rounder into the squad, someone like Moises Henriques should be considered. If you need another part-time spin option Warner is your man. I hope he is working on his leggies because he could be better than a part-timer (like the above description of Dilshan), perhaps even a genuine all-rounder with some development.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

I think Maxwell need to get chance. Don't forget we have India tour after this off-spinning allrounder would be handy on these Indian pitches. Give him a chance if he gets well it would be advantage before India tour.

Posted by KhanMitch on (December 28, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

@nzcricket174 i agree with you, the whole selection policy will not make sense if Khawaja is left out. He was the replacement for Clarke last game and should logically replace Watson if he is ruled out. It would be very dissapointing if Khawaja is not rwarded.He is an Australian and please treat him like one. There are already questions being raised around his background being a factor in the treatment he is being given and your behavior towards is not exactly proving the allegations right. I hope the selectors willl reward performance and get him in for Watson. Clarke always picks the best 11 and Khawaja is a must for that.

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 28, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Can Maxwell be the No.6 for Australia in tests? I think a pure batsman in Ferguson or a all rounder in Christian(Who is showing some good form in shield) or even they can look in at Bailey to fill in that slot. They are good in one department professionally than the bits and piece all rounder(does his bowling merit place in home conditions?) I seriously doubt whether they picked Maxwell as second spinner in the squad!! Saying this, he might succeed like Symonds in the longer format. But as a starter, i would look for better options than Maxi.

Posted by Dubious on (December 28, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

Why are you all so shocked? They're going to use a second spinner in India, and this series is secured, so they're trying Maxwell out. Even if Maxwell doesn't perform, Australia will almost certainly win in Sydney.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

@Moppa: except for the fact that Maxwell's FC batting average is every bit as good as Khawaja's. Maxwell is a future star.

Posted by btron3000 on (December 28, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

Johnson only in as allrounder if the wicket favours pacemen?? What about the Sydney crowd that want to see Mitch Johnson?? Rotation policy doesn't seem to take into account the fact that the spectators want to see the BEST PLAYERS!! Mitch Johnson bowled better than Starc in Perth, was left out for Hobart, then was the best player - with both bat and ball - in Melbourne. His reward? Dropped. Whoops, I mean "rotated".

Posted by vj_gooner on (December 28, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

If and only if Andrew McDonald had been fit!!!!! He would have certainly been a better bet than Maxwell or Hastings!

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

@Moppa.

I don't think it is a speculation. Maxwell seems to have been given the certainty. It is baffling that when Clarke's fitness was in question, they left it to the last minute and left Khawaja with a lot of uncertainty. In the case of Watson, not only they have gone ahead for Maxwell, they have also given him plenty of time. And to add insult to injury for poor Khawaja, he is still being left on standby when chances of Michael Clarke playing the Sydney test and almost 100%.

Some people have started that Khawaja's background may be the reason for what he is being put through. Whether or not that's true, this attitude of selectors towards Khawaja is certainly good for Australian Cricket.

Posted by straight_drive4 on (December 28, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

My goodness. What has the world come to? We're picking a cowboy who only knows how to bowl darts and slog sweep over cow corner!! If we want someone to bowl darts we would pick Doherty and if we want some who can only swing over cow corner then we would pick Steve smith. The selectors have lost the plot

Posted by btron3000 on (December 28, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

So now it's 5 batsmen and an allrounder?! I thought allrounders come after the top 6 batsmen? I thought that Watson had to prove he was one of the top 6 batsmen? Is Maxwell one of the top 6 batsmen? Is Wade?

The selectors are probably preparing for India, and they should, but chopping and changing the team and sending different messages doesn't seem the best way to go about it.

I hope the players are getting told the real reasons...

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

The all rounder Glenn Maxwell is in line for his Test debut...

Very loose with the term all-rounder here.

Posted by Webba84 on (December 28, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

Meh, consider Johnson his replacement and bring Starc back into the team with no other changes. Should go well.

Posted by SamRoy on (December 28, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

Glenn Maxwell is a very good attacking batsman (though he throws his wicket away often) but based on what I have seen of his bowling, it isn't much better than David Hussey's. In comparison to that of say Dilshan, who's better than a part-timer but worser than a regular offie; Maxwell's bowling is worser. Nobody will call Dilshan a batting allrounder. To be batting all-rounder who is an off-spinner one needs to be as good as Mohammad Hafeez with the ball otherwise no point in calling him a batting all-rounder. We saw the bowling ability of Cameron White (what a travesty) and Marcus North (who's bowling was better but only as capable as Dilshan). It's better to consider Maxwell as a specialist batsman who can bowl a bit (like Warner) rather than a batting all-rounder.

Posted by Antir on (December 28, 2012, 6:51 GMT)

Maxwell is not yet a test all-rounder. Henriques would have been the better option.

Posted by ClueGeek on (December 28, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

Are you kidding me?? Bringing a debutant into the test team on his T20 form over Usman Khawaja who was already on the standby for Michael Clarke. It is almost certain that Clarke will be fit for Sydney test after scoring a century in 2nd test and he is probably as fit as anyone else in the team so Maxell is being brought in at the expense of Khawaja who should have gone straight into the team after Watson's exclusion.

Khawaja has to be the unluckiest batman in recent Australian history the way he is being treated by Australians. On one hand, his progress is being acknowledged and on another hand, selectors seems to be going with any excuse they can find to deny him his opportunities. Not sure what Khawaja needs to do to get back into the side after what he is being put through.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Starc in for Watson, Johnson to bat at 7

Posted by wix99 on (December 28, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

Glenn Maxwell is a good choice and he hope he gets the chance to play in Sydney. Australia really need to look for new spinners and also someone who can fill the role of allrounder batting at No. 6 or 7.

Steve Smith is another player who could fill the same role. He has already played a few Tests though so selectors are right to give another player the chance for now.

Posted by Htc-Baseball on (December 28, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

Don't worry boys, we can still be proud of our performance, we have performed better than what india did here last summer

Posted by nzcricket174 on (December 28, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

From what I can gather, Khawaja will only be in the team if Clarke is injured. I thought the whole deal was that the next batting spot which opens up would be taken by him. The current Australian selection process is beginning to confuse me. Do not want a repeat of Hilditch.

Posted by inefekt on (December 28, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

The Aussie selectors insistence on playing an all rounder is quite baffling. Watson bowled only 3 overs this test match yet the specialist bowlers took the required wickets with ease. I would be playing Khawaja regardless of whether Clarke plays. It's our batting lineup that needs to find some solidity and reinforcement. Our bowlers are doing just fine.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 28, 2012, 6:18 GMT)

a group of fast bowlers injured, clarke not fully fit, watson not fully fit, a guy named bird comes in, then maxwell comes in, clearly shows aussie club level players are more than enough to win a test against srilanka inside 3 days

Posted by Moppa on (December 28, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

I hope the author is just speculating on the panel's intentions that Maxwell would play ahead of Khawaja. When Watson got injured before the South African series, we selected a player who is not a Test class batsman ahead of Hughes and Khawaja - and we saw how that turned out. Now Watson is injured again surely we will not select a player who is neither a Test class batsman nor a Test class bowler ahead of Khawaja! If so, Usman must be wondering what on earth he has done wrong!

Posted by LillianThomson on (December 28, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Good.

They will need a second spinner in India, and the SCG Test is the only preparation they're going to get.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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