Smith critical of Maxwell's disrespect
Australia's captain Steven Smith has criticised Glenn Maxwell and the team leadership group have fined him an undisclosed amount for comments deemed disrespectful to the team's gloveman and Victoria captain Matthew Wade.
In what Smith clearly hoped would be the end of an unseemly episode that began when ESPNcricinfo reported Maxwell had tried to leave the Bushrangers for New South Wales outside the approved window to do so, he explained that he had told Maxwell and the team as a whole that more respect had to be shown for each other. Smith also declined to confirm whether Maxwell would be playing on Sunday, stating only that he was "available for selection".
"Everyone was disappointed in his comments, I've expressed that to him myself and spoke to the team," Smith said on Saturday ahead of the first Chappell-Hadlee ODI. "One of our values is respect, having respect for your team-mates, your opposition, your fans, your media.
"I thought what he said was very disrespectful to a team-mate and his Victorian captain. The leadership group got together and we decided to fine Glenn, we thought that was sufficient punishment, so we've gone down that path. I was disappointed with the comments that he made."
Maxwell had stated that it was "painful" batting behind Wade in the Victorian Shield batting order, among sundry other comments about his uncertain role in the state team and his ambitions to return to the Test team. "Wadey was pretty disappointed as well like all the other players," Smith said. "I talk about a respect for your team-mates and particularly the captain of your state, and he was disappointed.
"[Maxwell] was a little bit shattered with what he said. I don't think he thought the words came out the way they actually did, but we've moved on from that now, we've fined him and expressed our disappointment, but moving on and trying to focus on this game tomorrow."
Smith is believed to have been one of the players Maxwell canvassed about moving to NSW during the limited-overs leg of the Sri Lanka tour earlier in the year, but he was not interested in re-opening the discussion on Saturday. "I'm not really concerned with that right now," Smith said. "It's about getting through this season, and if things happen like that at the end of the season we'll deal with that then."
Maxwell's sanction did not meet with universal approval. Notably he was supported in his words by Mitchell Johnson, who has been a critic of punitive action against players since he was one of the four players suspended from a Test match in India three years ago - something the coach Darren Lehmann also criticised at the time.
@wwos A fine, really!! Should be batting in front of a wicketkeeper considering he is a batsman. He was only being honest right??— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) December 3, 2016
Turning his attention to New Zealand, Smith said the combination of cagey experience and pace-filled youth in the visitors' bowling line-up would have to be watched closely. "They've got some quality players in their line-up, a lot of the time they bat around Kane Williamson, he's the glue in their middle order," he said.
"They've got some dangerous players up top in Guptill or Latham if he plays up top. They've got some experience in their bowling line-up in Southee and Boult and some pace in this young fella I've heard about, Ferguson. They're a quality team and we're going to have to be at our best."
One figure Smith is eager to command once more is the fast man Pat Cummins, making his latest return to the team amid a string of injuries. "He bowled pretty quick in the nets yesterday, he bowled beautifully in the Matador Cup at the start of the season, and he's got that x-factor about him," Smith said. "He bowls with great pace and good aggression and I think he'll complement the other quicks really well and hopefully have an impact in this series."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig