Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13 December 29, 2012

Maxwell learns value of slow show from Warne


Four months on from his international debut and less than a week away from a likely baggy green cap, Glenn Maxwell is no longer in such a hurry. Maxwell was so outwardly ambitious against Pakistan in the UAE in August he was quickly dubbed "The Big Show" by Australian ODI team-mates. But he has since learned vital lessons at the feet of Shane Warne, among others, and the chief of these has been the addition of patience to an otherwise explosive all-round game.

That quality will be vital for Maxwell should he play in Sydney, where he would be more or less on trial ahead of the Test tour of India, where John Inverarity's selection panel may favour the use of a spin bowling allrounder to augment the pace attack and the teasing off breaks of Nathan Lyon. The SCG pitch has returned somewhat to the slower, spinning days of the past, and Maxwell bowled tidily at the ground for Australia A against the South Africans and Victoria against New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield.

Maxwell's first glimpses of international combat were both promising and chastening. He played fearlessly in the ODIs but haltingly in the World Twenty20 that followed, and left that tournament best remembered for a few self-aggrandising comments before the event. Back in Australia, he was soon made aware of the selectors' belief that he may yet develop into a Test match allrounder, and has spent time on his fledgling off-spin accordingly, despite the hurdle presented by the Big Bash League.

"With the BBL on there's limited bowling opportunities," Maxwell said. "You're only going to bowl maximum four overs in a game and as an off spinner there's limited opportunities so I have been working hard on bowling outside the group, in the nets, one-on-one with coaches and just making sure it's up to standard for when it's going to be next required. With the BBL I have been lucky enough to work with Shane Warne a fair bit over the last few weeks and he's been really good especially with the mental side of the game.

"Probably more closely with [the former Victoria left-arm spinner] Shawn Flegler, growing up in the Futures League he has been my coach and he's seen a lot of me develop from when I had a lot of troubles with my action. I had to change it a fair bit through the academy days and now where it's been at least a little bit more successful at first-class level and a lot more successful in the last few years."

Warne's counsel to Maxwell has been along the sorts of lines that would also be valuable to Lyon, relating to subtle tactics here and there to keep a batsman thinking and not merely batting. There have also been discussions around Maxwell's tendency to chase immediate success when a more considered approach is most likely to glean wickets.

"It's a lot more about patience," Maxwell said. "I'm a cricketer who wants things to happen really quickly and want the game to keep moving forward. He has helped me to slow down and take a few deep breaths, just work things over whether it be moving a fielder two steps over and then two steps back, sort of getting into the batsman's head a bit. He talked a lot about batter manipulation, just simple little things like that. He has been great to work with, just to delve into the mind that is the best spin bowler we have ever produced."

Other lessons were learned in the UAE and Sri Lanka, both in terms of how best to play the game against high quality opponents and also around the look and attitude of an Australian cricketer. Happy to get by looking a little unkempt at times, Maxwell admitted to looking more like a park cricketer in days gone by, until the coach Mickey Arthur made note of it.

"I suppose I have to have a haircut and a shave every now and then," Maxwell said. "I turned up to the squad and Mickey Arthur goes, `Are you going to shave any time soon?' and said, `Oh, probably'. About 10 minutes later I went to my room and had a shave. So it's basically just looking the part as a cricketer, tucking your shirt in when you're told ... I was a little bit country boyish coming into the side, so just looking the part as a cricketer."

"There is a lot less margin for error [at international level]. The professionalism of all the players that you play against and with is a completely different standard. I've had to lift my game from going to play for Hampshire and then straight into the Australian set-up I've had to lift my game up a few levels and really just make sure I'm at least at that standard and looking like I'm at that standard."

As for the natural aggression Maxwell has used most effectively in his batting, there has been no indication that he will need to temper it at the SCG. "It's the way I've been brought up, I've always played my natural game, it didn't really matter the situation," Maxwell said. "I felt if I went against it, it would bring indecision and probably cost me with a few iffy shots. I feel if I back myself the best outcome will come out. I don't see that that's going to change if I get selected in Sydney."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ubaid on December 31, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    i think ben cutting is the real option to replace watto...he is the real allrounder who can change the game wid his batting as well as wid the bowling...taking maxwell to tour india will be a big loss...i think aussies have to play with 2 seamers and 2 front line spinners on indian england played with swann and panesar....england played with two frontline spinners and lost nothing...played with a spinner and with a part timer sumit patel and they lost the match....

  • Fazle on December 31, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Be practical. Previous experiment with White and Smith was flop. Now if we select maxwell he should be for batting as we know he cant spin the ball. I believe in India and England, Australia should have 6 bowlers (Strac, Siddle, Ben, Jhonson, Lyon and Xievier) 1 wk (wade) 7 batsman ( warner, cowan, huges, usman, clarke, watson, bailey/dolan/Tim paine)

  • sam on December 30, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    I think Khawaja who struggled against third rate Tahir will definitely struggle against India even though India's spinners are in-experianced and not really all that good (at least not yet).

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Maxwell has big potential to become a Allrounder at international level, He Bats well, He fields brilliantly and his bowling is getting better each season. I think right now he is a genuine batsman and then a 5th bowler, If he wants to stay in the side he needs to play at number 6 and perform with the bat. He is averaging 40+ with the bat in 4 day cricket so he has a good enough all round game to be close to selection

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    Not sure why everyone is down on this guy when his recent first class record is better than Khawaja. His all-round ability is something that can be improved since he is only 24. Happy to see him get a chance at the highest level

  • John on December 29, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    Pick the best 6 available batsmen in the country, the best 4 bowlers and the best wicketkeeper. If you find you've got less than 11 names written down, it's because one of the eleven is a genuine all-rounder. That gives you the freedom to add another player, either a batsman or a bowler according to the situation and to the discipline you think is the weaker of the two. If you've got eleven names, those are the guys who should play. Don't weaken your batting by picking a less accomplished batsman who bowls a bit or your bowling by picking a lesser bowler because he can get you a few runs. If any of the 11 can contribute a bit in their non-specialist area, fine- and have them work at it. Don't pick inferior players because they're all-rounders, that just doesn't work at test level. Is Maxwell one of the top 6 batsmen or top 4 bowlers in Australia? If he is, great. If he isn't it's a selection error.

  • Phil on December 29, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Guys Maxwell is a good player in the shorter format, with Hussey retiring Khawaja will be next in line, if Maxwell is to come in he will have to show that he is a better all rounder then Watto and i am not sure if he is.

  • Mariam on December 29, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    @dunger.bob i agree with you that Khawaja should replace Hussey as a straigght replacement for batsman. I would slot him in at 4 and move Watto to 6. Personally from what i have seen of Maxwell i don't think his off spinners will stand at the top level but he can prove me wrong at the SCG. Henriques or Mitch Marsh would be better all rounders in my opinion. I can also see where RahulAshok and EdwardA are coming from as well, there is just frustration as khawaja always seems to be covering for people's injuries but with Hussey retiring he should get a proper go to show what he can do.

  • rob on December 29, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    @ Edwards_A on (December 29 2012, 11:16 AM GMT): Ussy will replace Huss in India and he may yet get a game in Sydney if Clarke is ruled out. I would say that Maxwell is a direct replacement for Watson, and, as the article says, he is really on trial for India where we will definitely need a second spin option. .. I think the real pressure is now on Watson. If he can't bowl he has to show the selectors that he is one of the top six batsmen in the land. hmmmmmm. I'm not so sure he can do that.

  • Allan on December 29, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Rahul_ashok is right, i think Maxwell is a good prospect for the shorter format but bringing him in as an allrounder for test crickt will fail, neithre his batting or bowling will be good enough at the top level. Khawaja has to be the best option for the SCG test as he has been stand in batsman in waiting for the last few games. Long term i would look at Henriques as the all rounder as he is having a good season for NSW.

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