Maxwell key to Langer’s ODI combinatorics

Cricket Sports News

Glenn Maxwell has been going through a rough patch of form © Getty
Australia head coach Justin Langer remains hopeful of Glenn Maxwell rediscovering his best form in the forthcoming five-match ODI series against England. This despite the flamboyant batsman’s recent struggles with the bat, the latest of which saw Maxwell managing just 3 runs in an otherwise comfortable Australia win over Middlesex on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, Maxwell was dismissed for 1 against Sussex which followed a dismal IPL season in which he aggregated 169 runs from 12 journeys to the crease. His Delhi Daredevils head coach Ricky Ponting will once again be part of the support staff here and hope to inspire a turnaround from his ward. Langer, however, is impressed with the work put in by Maxwell to turn the tide.
“He is (a worry) but that said I have been super impressed with Glenn Maxwell, his preparation has been literally outstanding,” Langer said. “I would be very surprised if he doesn’t get a very big score.
“There’s been a lot of talk about Glenn Maxwell but I have been incredibly impressed with the way he goes about his business and even the way he has been batting in the nets. I am sure a big one is not far away from him.”
The importance of Maxwell is not lost on Langer, who also has to contend with the loss of David Warner and Steve Smith (suspended). Mitchell Marsh, out with an ankle injury, is another big-name absentee from an ideal Australian XI. Langer has hinted at a possible rejig of the batting order, a move that could see Aaron Finch relinquish his openers’ slot to become a member of the batting spine in the middle. It was a move that worked in the Middlesex game with Finch making a fifty and Travis Head scoring a hundred at the top.
Such a move and Langer’s own desire to play Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis at Nos. 3 & 4 could force the management to pick one of the two IPL stragglers – Maxwell and D’Arcy Short.
“I love the idea of Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis batting at three and four. They’re like two gladiators aren’t they, they’re big strong boys, we know they can get hundreds, we know they can bat for a long time,” Langer said.
“Aaron Finch’s record opening the batting for the last five or six games for Australia, and against England, is just brilliant. It’s hard, but the way he batted [at Lord’s], one of the areas we need to get better at over at least the last year or so is in that middle order. Particularly against spin. We’re all aware of it. He’s as fast as anyone between the wickets, which is a key focus for our one-day cricket. He’s fearless. He actually changes momentum of the game. There are plenty of options and I’ll have bags under my eyes by Wednesday trying to work out the best.

“I’ll guarantee now I am not going to sleep for the next two nights working out what the best XI is going to be for the first game.”