Justin Langer has dismissed suggestions that Test outcast Glenn Maxwell had been misled by Cricket Australia with regards to selection as “careless whispers”.
During a press conference on Thursday, the Australia coach had to apologise for being “grumpy” after losing his cool when pressed on the matter.
Maxwell’s latest omission from Australia’s 13-man squad to face Sri Lanka in a two-Test home series has sparked debate over whether Cricket Australia have mishandled the player.
The all-rounder opted against pursuing a county contract in England in 2018 in the belief he would be selected for Australia A’s tour of India. That selection didn’t materialise and he was also shunned for Australia’s Test series versus Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, with Langer citing a lack of hundreds made by Maxwell.
“I’ve certainly made it clear that I wouldn’t have gone to England this year if I wasn’t still trying to play Test cricket,” Maxwell told The Unplayable Podcast on Wednesday.
“There’s a big thought from my side that I’m not getting enough first-class cricket in Australia and that’s probably shown by this summer. I’m only going to play two Shield games for the whole season.
“I feel like I’m doing everything I can and I’m trying to make all the right moves off the field by getting red-ball cricket elsewhere and showing I’m 100 per cent serious.”
National selector Trevor Hohns insisted on Wednesday that Australia players were “free to make up their own decisions on what they go and play” when asked if there was any directive regarding Maxwell’s playing schedule last winter. Langer added on Thursday that he had “zero knowledge” of any such advice.
CA have since confirmed that an email had been sent to Maxwell encouraging him to take a break between the end of a T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe on July 8 and the Australia A tour several weeks later. This exchange happened prior to Langer’s installation as head coach in May, but, according to CA, did not imply a guarantee of selection.
Maxwell, however, believed that following the advice and rejecting the advances of counties would mean he would make the cut.
“Are you certain that’s what happened? Are you certain that’s what happened?” said Langer when pressed on whether a directive had been sent to the hard-hitting batsman about his county stint.
Langer was angered at the questioning, condemning them as “careless whispers”, before apologising for being “grumpy”. He added: “I don’t like getting grumpy but there’s so many stories that go around about so much stuff,” he said. “The truth is a beautiful thing.”
Langer doesn’t believe Maxwell was given false pretences, or that there had been any personality clashes.“Glenn is crystal clear from me and the selectors what he needs to do to get back in the Test team,” he said. “He’s shown he is brilliant around the group in white-ball cricket. There’s been some reports about personality. It is literally false.”
Maxwell, who has now signed a short-term county deal with Lancashire for the early part of the 2019 English domestic season, was overlooked in Australia’s 13-man squad to face Sri Lanka in the two-Test home series but is expected to be play a key part in their World Cup campaign.