Batting demotion 'valid', says Maxwell

 cricket.com.au  2/12/2019 12:00:00 AM 
Aussie players take to the Black Carpet

T20I men's player of the year Glenn Maxwell believes his shift to No.7 in Australia's ODI team is a "pretty valid" move as the five-time world champs continue honing their preparations for this year's World Cup.

Maxwell was moved to seven in the final Gillette Series ODI against South Africa last November, and stayed in the finishing position through last month's three-match series against India, impressing coach Justin Langer with scores of 35, 11no, 48 and 26 at a minimum strike-rate of 129.

"When 'Maxi' can come in and put the finishing touches on like he does, for me it's the perfect position," Langer said during the India series.

"… it's always a nervous time for an opposition (when) you still know you have got a Glenn Maxwell ... coming in down at seven.

"Maxi will be a very important part of our team if we're to win the World Cup.

"I honestly think, despite the debate, that it is his best spot in our team for us at the moment and we'll flick him in (earlier) every now and then when we need a little cameo."

The move down the order drew some criticism from sections of the media, with suggestions that the Victorian's talents were being under-utilised in a batting line-up that sorely needed them.

At the Australian Cricket Awards on Monday night, Maxwell disagreed.

"The way that we're setting up (as a batting unit), I don't think I'm wasted," the 28-year-old said. "The way we were trying to set up our team, it was pretty valid.

"I hadn't done enough to warrant a place in the top four or five, and I missed my opportunities.

"That comes down to me as a player. I genuinely missed my opportunities to play well for my country and play well for my spot.

"They gave me two opportunities to bat second drop before the England ODI series and unfortunately I didn't make the most of it, and I found myself back down the order.

"That can be how the game goes sometimes."

T20 Player of the Year: Glenn Maxwell

Maxwell cited the 2015 World Cup as an example of the way in which his talents could be utilised further down the order, with the enigmatic allrounder having played an explosive role to build on typically fast starts from the Australian top order.

In a statistic befitting his new status as the country's premier T20 batsman, Maxwell played four standout innings in that tournament (66, 88, 102, 44no) and on each occasion arrived in the middle with fewer than 20 overs remaining in the innings and proceeded to strike at better than 150.

"I played a similar role at the (2015) World Cup and was able to be flexible because of the success of the top order, and the way they scored their runs," he said.

"It's all well and good getting hundreds off a hundred balls, but the way our top order was going back in that World Cup, they were getting fast hundreds, they were explosive starts and we had six-and-a-half runs an over after 25 overs.

"So we had the freedom to (continue that) by sending 'Maxi' in, or we could consolidate with different batters and make sure we got a certain total.

"But we always played the aggressive route back then and that played into my hands by having a successful top order.

Maxwell celebrating his maiden ODI ton in the 2015 World Cup // Getty
Maxwell celebrating his maiden ODI ton in the 2015 World Cup // Getty

"The way we went about one-day cricket in 2015, it was just solid the whole way through. There were big risks, but they didn't feel like risks when they were happening.

"Aaron Finch charging opening bowlers and hitting them over the top for four, and you thought, 'that's not a risk for Aaron Finch'.

"David Warner hitting over cover-point for four – that's not a risk.

"Steve Smith hitting the ball from outside off through forward square leg – that's not a risk. That's just how the players were playing.

"Shane Watson muscling blokes wherever he wanted to, and myself doing my thing.

"The way the whole team set itself up, guys just played their way and played with freedom, and I think if we're going to win this World Cup then we need to be able to play with freedom … and hopefully the bowlers can back us up the way they did in 2015."

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