With Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft serving bans, Australia must find batsmen of high calibre to fill the gaps ahead of the Test tour of the UAE – to play Pakistan – in October. Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head have stated their ambitions to step up to the plate.
Maxwell is hoping to make the cut to Australia’s squad for the despite not having fully recovered from a shoulder injury he picked up during Australia’s limited overs tour of England in June.
Maxwell played through the pain in his right shoulder during the triangular T20I series in Zimbabwe, where Pakistan were the third team, and is more than willing to do the same should he be selected for the series against Pakistan.
“There was a lot of fluid built up around the bursa, and that was pinching. My range of movement was restricted quite a bit – it still is a little bit. I can’t reach fully above my head consistently. Every now and then it just pinches,” Maxwell was quoted as saying by Australian media outlets on the sidelines of the Victoria state side’s ongoing camp.
Australia haven’t played a Test series since their tour of South Africa earlier this year, during which Smith, Warner and Bancroft were slapped with lengthy suspensions owing to their involvement in ball-tampering during the third match in Cape Town.
Maxwell was flown in as one of the replacement players but didn’t get to play.
Their suspensions combined with Maxwell’s reputation against spin bowling help his chances of making the squad for the tour of UAE. In fact, Maxwell has played all his seven Tests so far in Asia – four in India, two in Bangladesh and one in the UAE against Pakistan.
Maxwell feels he is recovering well from the injury. “I was able to get through with the T20 series in Zimbabwe and just find a way to throw comfortably, and by the end of that series I felt like I was throwing really well. But once I got home it was about making sure I could sustain it for the rest of my career. That’s what this period is about now,” he said.
“As far as UAE is concerned, you can’t really count on selection. You’ve just got to basically get yourself ready for what is in the foreseeable future. If selection goes my way – I really hope it does – I’ll be ready for that.”
Head is well aware of the opportunity at hand too, but the 24-year-old is not going to overthink it.
“In the past, there has probably been small opportunities, probably not as many as there are now, but little gaps where if I did string a couple of scores together there would be an opportunity. But I wasn’t able to do that,” said Head as the Australia A squad wrapped up their preparations ahead of the two-week tour of India – Head will lead the one-day side in Vijaywada.
“In the past, I’ve probably thought about it a little bit and tried too hard and probably overdone it,” he added. “There’s opportunities there. It’s not something that I’m going to try and think about too much. I have probably done that when I was a little bit younger and didn’t quite crack it, and this is a good opportunity.”
Head will have the perfect opportunity to boost his selection prospects during Australia A’s tour of India, where they will play a one-day series, also featuring India A, India B and South Africa A, followed two four-day games against India A.
“I want to [play for Australia] in all three formats of the game, so I’ll be working hard to get as many runs as possible but not try to over-complicate it or think too much about it,” he stressed. “I’m just trying to stay as relaxed as possible, and try and win games of cricket in India.
“That’s the main goal for me. I’m ready to go, so hopefully I can have a nice month over there and put some scores together.”