Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc return to the squad ahead of the South Africa clash
Published - Jun 19, 2016 6:55 am | Updated - Jun 19, 2016 6:55 am
Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc and attacking all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will make a comeback in the 12-man squad for Sunday’s tri-series clash against South Africa in Barbados. Starc will replace Nathan Coulter-Nile while Maxwell swaps places with the 22-year-old Travis Head.
Maxwell had a poor start to the series, registering scores of 0 & 3 in his team’s opening fixtures in Guyana. Steven Smith, who also confirmed Starc’s return to the squad after a precautionary rest, said the axing would have forced Maxwell to introspect.
“He sat out the last couple and hopefully that’s been a bit of a wake-up call for him,” he said on Saturday (June 18). “We know what we want from him, it’s a bit more consistency and that’s what the selectors have told him. He gets an opportunity and hopefully he’ll make the most of that.
“I had a word to him the other day just about clearing his mind and going out there and just playing good cricket shots. I think we’ve seen when Maxi (Maxwell) is at his best… he’s actually not thinking too much, so it was just reinforcing those messages. I watched him bat pretty closely in the nets yesterday and I thought he played particularly well, especially against the fast bowlers. So hopefully he’s continuing to learn and hopefully he’ll get amongst the runs in the next couple of games.”
Maxwell, who averaged a healthy 43 with the bat since his return to the Australian side in late 2014 and until the India series in January this year, suffered his slump through the extended Twenty20 run, through the World T20 and culminating with the IPL. A tendency to play too many shots too early in his innings was held against him but Smith reckons that the 27-year-old all-rounder has “turned his head around.”
“I think he was pretty disappointed initially,” he said. “It took him a while to get used to the idea he wasn’t playing. But I think the last week or last couple of days he’s turned his head around, he’s worked very hard on his game in the nets and done a few things in the gym to try to improve as a cricketer. I guess that’s what it’s about, trying to do everything you can to get back into the team.
“It’s obviously disappointing for Travis, he didn’t get a great opportunity the other day. He’s disappointed to miss out, as he should be. But we believe this is the best team for tomorrow, the most experienced team and Maxi’s going to get another opportunity and hopefully he can make the most of it.”
The Australian skipper also shrugged off a quad injury problem he suffered against West Indies in the last game, conceding that while he might not be 100 percent fit, the injury won’t rule him out of the game.
Also, read – Steve Smith backs out of form Glenn Maxwell
“It’s been a bit sore … I think it’s one of those injuries where I might not be able to go at 100 per cent, but I think I’ll be right for the game. You want to be as close to 100 per cent as you can be, but that’s part of playing international sport, particularly playing cricket for Australia.
“You have to run with it and I think I understand my body a lot better these days and I can manage these little injuries. So hopefully I’ll be OK tomorrow. Sri Lanka is still a fair way away, it’s about five weeks until the first Test match there.”