Australian cricket coach Andrew McDonald has left the door ajar for Glenn Maxwell to make an unlikely return to Test cricket on the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka.
Maxwell was last week left out of Australia’s 16-man squad for the two Test matches, but has been named in both the ODI and T20 squads.
While the teams for both Test matches are likely to come from the 16 players originally selected, exceptional performances in the short-form or Australia A games that precede the Tests, along with either injury or COVID-19, could see a player from outside the 16 vault into contention.
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Maxwell has played all seven of his Test matches either in the subcontinent or Middle East, a career that includes a memorable 104 against India in Ranchi in 2017, although his overall average of 26.07 is disappointing.
Speaking on SEN radio, McDonald said nothing is off the table.
“I think with 32 players being there at the one point in time, all options are still open,” he explained.
“Clearly COVID has influenced a lot of tours as well, so you never know what’s going to happen.
“He’s got a great record in the subcontinent – India in particular with that hundred at Ranchi, (and) he can give us off-spin.”
McDonald added that Maxwell was considered for inclusion in the 16-man squad, but selectors felt that those that were part of the recent series win against Pakistan deserved to be retained.
“There was a small discussion around what it potentially looked like, but I think the reward for the team that went to Pakistan, the way that squad that went about its work, it was always going to be difficult to change that way of playing. “
Selectors may decide conditions suit a third spinner, bringing Maxwell’s part-time off-spin into contention.
McDonald admitted that squeezing a third spinner into the team creates a problem.
“It’s how you fit them in … you’re going to be a brave man to leave out either your captain (Pat Cummins) or Mitch Starc to fit in your third spinner,” McDonald said.
“Can Ashton Agar potentially bat one (spot) higher to create a bit of space?
“I think what we’ve done is we’ve given ourselves the option through the squad that we’ve picked.”
Australian T20 squad:
Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade.
Australian ODI squad:
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner .
Australian Test squad:
Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner .
Sean Abbott, Scott Boland, Pete Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee.
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