17 January 2018 08:46 AM

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ROHIT SANKAR | 11 JANUARY, 2018

Maxwell’s Omission Stands Out in Australia’s ODI Team for England Series

It is under Smith’s watch that Maxwell lost his verve


After drubbing England in the Tests, Australia are set to face them in ODIs, a format the visitors have mastered since the last ODI World Cup. To take them on, the hosts named a 14-man ODI team with a few prominent players recalled and a couple of bowlers benefitting from notable shows in the Big Bash.

But what really stood out in the squad named was the omission of swashbuckling all-rounder, Glenn Maxwell, who was apparently omitted on the basis of “training habits”.

Australia ODI squad
Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa

Here we dissect Australia's ODI team selection citing the plus and minus points and decide upon a plausible final XI.

An average of 27.20 in a year (2017) is not what you ideally need from your match-winner in the middle-order. Steven Smith seemed disappointed with Maxwell's returns and questioned his training habits in a statement.

"I think just looking at the way he trains I think he could train a little bit smarter. We've all seen the way Glenn [Maxwell] can come out and play and do all his funky stuff and be pretty cool with that, but when he puts his head down he's actually a really good batsman, as we've seen in Shield cricket he's got some big runs there. If he keeps his head switched on and trains really well and focuses on basic things more so than the expansive things, then I think that'll help him have his consistency and if he's having those consistent performances he's certainly a person you want in your team”, Smith had said.

While Smith most certainly does have a point, Maxwell is an impact player and hasn't been effective in terms of averages. But noticeably, he has failed under Smith's regime. Under Michael Clarke, Maxwell was a beast and having been given ultimate freedom, Maxwell churned out amazing numbers.

Was dropping Maxwell really the right way to go? His Sheffield Shield returns this year were outstanding with 590 runs at an average of 73.75. In fact, he topped the run charts. Australia could have and should have had a blunt talk with Maxwell but dropping him isn't helping him. Neither is bringing in Chris Lynn - who is a definite prospect for the future - but has just returned from a shoulder injury and appeared to have a hamstring issue in his last Big Bash game. There was unnecessary hastiness shown in bringing back Lynn and omitting Maxwell.

It is, however, pleasing to see that Australia have rewarded Big Bash performers, Andrew Tye and Jhye Richardson, for their consistent performances in the shortest format of the game. The series provides an ideal opportunity to blood them in ODIs and see how they go.

Tye has been instrumental in Perth Scorchers success, taking 13 wickets in 4 matches with a four-wicket haul and a five-wicket haul. Richardson, once again from Perth Scorchers hasn't been as impressive but has been a consistent performer for the past two three seasons and rightly gets a call-up.

Richardson's ability to push the pace gun high and nigh has also impressed the selectors. The unavailability of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendoff, both of whom struggle with back problems paved the way for the inclusion of The and Richardson. It is also a welcome sign that the selectors have moved on from Kane Richardson who was abominable in his time with the limited-overs team.

“Jason [Behrendoff] requires an extended period of rest from bowling to allow this pain to resolve and will not be available for the remainder of BBL07 and the T20 series against England and New Zealand later in the summer”, WACA physio, Nick Jones had said as revealed by ESPNCricinfo.

Tim Paine’s selection in the Test team might have created a huge uproar particularly with Alex Carey, Peter Nevill available. But the same cannot be said of his ODI recall for the first time since 2011. Matthew Wade has been sorely lacking in the batting and keeping department and it was time Australia moved past the veteran keeper.

Paine's selection is on the back of his impressive List A record and a continuation to his elevation as T20 keeper last year. Paine can also back up as opening batsman, a role he has donned before, or bat down the order and is a valuable pick in this regard.

Apart from the first Test when he let off a catch, Paine has been impressive behind the stumps for Australia although his batting hasn't probably been upto the levels the selectors expect from him.

It is understandable to get excited about Mitchell Marsh's spectacular rise after being captaincy in the domestic One Day Cup. Justin Langer was lavish in his praise for the once discarded all-rounder and having been given a recall in the Ashes, the younger Marsh justified it with a terrific ton in the company of skipper, Steven Smith.

Marsh may not fulfill the fifth bowler's quota of overs with the ball, but with Marcus Stoinis and Travis Head available, the selectors needn't have worried too much about it.

The squad has a few surprises here and there but it is particularly impressive to note that the few rewarded have worked hard in the past few seasons and deserved a call-up. Although the selectors continue to try and dump pace bowlers, they would hopefully stick to the two picked now and give them a longer rope with the 2019 World Cup in mind.

Possible starting XI - David Warner, Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Steven Smith (c), Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis/Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine(wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa.

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