Revealed: The surprise date earmarked for mercurial Maxwell’s return
White-ball wizard Glenn Maxwell is eyeing a shock return to the Sheffield Shield next week, despite the door back to the baggy green being all but shut by his broken leg.
The mercurial all-rounder is nearing a comeback to competitive cricket, and though it will almost certainly come too late for him to be ready for the Tests against India, he is gearing himself to be match-hardened for the three One-Day Internationals at the end of that tour which are vital leading into the World Cup later this year.
Glenn Maxwell had been firmly in selectors’ plans for the Test tour of India before breaking his leg.Credit:Getty Images
Victorian cricket officials consider the next round of the Shield, starting Thursday week, as a realistic aim for Maxwell, but his fitness will be closely monitored after his gruesome injury, following which he said he needed to relearn how to walk.
Though Maxwell has resumed batting in the nets, his ability to confidently slide and dive in the field will be a key factor in when he is cleared for a return to topline cricket.
Maxwell, who has not played a first-class game since October 2019, is only a minute chance of getting a call-up for the series in India, even if head selector George Bailey has said changes can be made mid-tour if required.
He would require a dramatic form slump or injuries from a member of the middle order to come into consideration for a call-up, not to mention impressing with bat and ball himself for the Vics. Squad members Peter Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw are ahead of him and both have the advantage of match practice, and have runs on the board in India.
While spinners Adam Zampa and Matthew Kuhnemann have been told they’re on standby for India, Maxwell has received no such indication from selectors.
Having been called up on standby for Travis Head in Sri Lanka last year, Maxwell was in selectors’ plans for India before his untimely injury and had been a genuine chance of playing if the South Australian cannot find a solution to his woes against spin in Asia.
Maxwell made his only Test century on the 2017 tour of India when he came in as a replacement at No.6 for Mitchell Marsh.
With Australia not due for a Test tour to the subcontinent until early 2025, Maxwell’s best chance to add to his seven appearances has likely passed him by. It explains the 34-year-old’s devastation at his missed opportunity.
“[It] probably will nag at me for the rest of my life,” Maxwell said during a Big Bash League commentary stint for Fox Cricket this week.
That Maxwell is this close to returning to the field is a testament to his around-the-clock commitment to his rehabilitation, which has involved using an ice compression machine on his foot three to four hours every night. He has also trained at the headquarters of his beloved AFL team St Kilda, using the club’s antigravity treadmill.
Maxwell has said he is using the disappointment from the injury to set himself up for the final few years of his career.
“I started looking forward, thinking I will make the best recovery possible – I’ll come back early, and be stronger than ever,” Maxwell said.
“I started using it as a motivation factor rather than “oh no, why has this happened to me?”
“I tried to turn it around and think “how can I finish the back end of my career, be the fittest and healthiest and most motivated I have been?”
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