GLENN MAXWELL, the man dubbed by teammates the ”Big Show”, wants to prove to his critics he has substance to complement his flair.
Maxwell has been picked as a spin-bowling all-rounder for the Test tour of India but is adamant, with more opportunities, he can show why he considers himself to be primarily a batsman.
The charismatic 24-year-old’s whirlwind 51 off just 35 balls against the West Indies on Friday underlined why selectors have identified him as a project player but failed to dispel notions he was purely a frontrunner.
The litmus test will come on the subcontinent if he is awarded a baggy green and has to lift his team out of trouble batting at either six or seven.
Maxwell has not played a first-class match in 10 weeks and his record with the bat in the Sheffield Shield this summer – 90 runs at 22.5 – does not inspire confidence, though he can boast a first-class half-century for Australia A against South Africa’s high-class pace attack.
”I haven’t played a lot of Shield cricket this year and a few of the first-class games I have played I feel as if I’ve batted really well,” Maxwell said. ”I feel like if I’m called upon I can get the opportunity to bat all day.”
Former Test star Dean Jones wrote in his Fairfax Media column on Saturday he believed the Victorian was a bowler who could bat, but not so Maxwell.
”I feel like I’m a genuine batsman,” Maxwell said. ”I’ve done a lot of work on my technique the last few years and especially with Greg Shipperd in Victoria – he’s been a big believer in my technique.
”I feel like that’s really shone through in Shield cricket, I’ve played some good Shield innings where I’ve played technically really good cricket.
”I’m hoping I can showcase that when the opportunity arises. [Friday] wasn’t the time to do it.”
Maxwell said he would continue to play his shots ”if the time allows for it” in the Test arena although he promised to be more circumspect.
”If I do get the chance to play Test cricket I’ll be a little bit more reserved,” Maxwell said.
That is good news for Australia’s team managers, who can see the talent but want to see it matched by performances before they can be confident of his dependability. Despite Maxwell’s assertions he is a batsman first, it’s likely his off-spin will be the string to his bow that will win him selection in India.
After a lean ODI series against Sri Lanka, Maxwell showed signs of improvement in the ensuing Twenty20 matches, although was not given a chance with the ball in Australia’s cakewalk on Friday.
Conditions in India are likely to suit Maxwell’s brand of spin as he is quicker through the air than most. ”With the wickets and the way they spin you can bowl a lot faster over there and really use your pace variations to your advantage,” he said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.