David Warner knows all about the progression from Twenty20 slogger to Test batsman. After all, Warner played T20 internationals before he had even made his first-class debut, and is now Australia's Test vice-captain and the No.5 Test batsman in the world. Warner believes that allrounder Glenn Maxwell is on a similar path after bringing his batting back a gear in recent times.
Although Maxwell has played three Tests he was far from a success, and internationally has been viewed more as short-form specialist with his magician's bag of trick shots. However, Maxwell has worked hard on refining his batting in the past year, and at the MCG on Sunday night he steered Australia to a series win over India with a composed innings of 96, reaching fifty at a run a ball and pacing his effort to perfection.
It was the kind of innings that arguably neither Warner nor Maxwell could have played at the start of their careers and Warner, who had been away on paternity leave after the birth of his second daughter, was watching with interest on television. He said he had no doubt that Maxwell's progression in recent times suggested he could also become a Test batsman and add to his three caps, which were all won as a spinning allrounder in subcontinent conditions.
"I was very, very excited to see Glenn Maxwell go out there, play a mature innings and get us home," Warner said ahead of the fourth ODI in Canberra. "He's been picking a lot of people's brains and that's the good thing about Maxy, he's maturing with age and I think we're yet to see his real talent.
"We saw a glimpse of it the other night, a mature innings. In a BBL game I think he might have got 50 off 40 balls as well, without taking a risk. That's what we have to keep reiterating with him, is he's capable of doing that, he doesn't need to come out and play that big shot from ball one.
"Like all of us we like to hit a boundary in our first ten balls to get us off and going, but it's exciting to see what he did the other day ... There's a few critics out there and we've all had them before, labelling him a Twenty20 specialist. I believe he can be a long-form specialist too."
Warner has rejoined the squad for the fourth match at Manuka Oval having missed the previous two matches, and he is likely to walk straight back in to open with Aaron Finch despite the success of his replacement Shaun Marsh. At the Gabba, Shaun Marsh made 71 and he followed up with 62 at the MCG, and Warner knows that the selectors face a tough call on how to structure such a successful batting order.
"It is always good when you get time away from the game, but you don't want to miss too much cricket because at the end of the day you're giving an opportunity to someone else," he said. "That's fantastic but you've got to come back and you've got to be switched on and you've got to score runs as well.
"The greatest thing about Australian cricket at the moment is we've got such good depth … There's always pressure on every batter. You've always got to be at the top of your game, you've always got to keep continuing to score runs. It's a fickle game, if you're out of form it can cost your spot for a year or two."