Maxwell set for return to Aussie squad
GLENN Maxwell has booked his ticket to South Africa next month with the magnificent batsman locked in to play for Australia for the first time since taking a mental health break last October.
The Aussies will play three T20s and three ODIs on a white-ball tour that will see Steve Smith and David Warner return to Cape Town for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal.
Maxwell, 31, remains a key weapon for Australia's assault on this year's Twenty20 World Cup. His ODI axing was unrelated to his selection in the shortest format.
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Maxwell - who is in the form of his life as Melbourne Stars captain - will bat at either No. 3 or No. 4 in the T20s as Australia prioritises its white-ball fortunes with T20 World Cups in 2020 (Australia) and 2021 (India).
Maxwell is averaging 79 runs at a monster strike-rate of 170.8 in the Big Bash and playing the sort of mature, match-winnings innings that would please Justin Langer.
The all-rounder is also bowling key powerplay overs for the Stars and has delivered the big wickets of top-order batsmen D'Arcy Short, David Miller, Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja.
But Maxwell's return to 50-over cricket for Australia will hinge on how its new-look middle order fares in India.
If newcomers such as Ashton Turner and Marnus Labuschagne shoot the lights out then Maxwell will have to bide his time playing just one format for Australia.
Even T20 blaster Short has jumped Maxwell in the ODI queue. Short, who's top ODI score after four games is 47 not-out, got the nod to replace Sean Abbott (side strain) for the series in India.
"I wouldn't have thought (Maxwell's) far back in the (ODI) queue," interim Australia coach Andrew McDonald said.
"I think performances over the last sort of 12 months in 50-over cricket he probably hasn't nailed it, and left the door ajar.
"But in T20 cricket it would be a totally different conversation. You'd almost say he'd be front and centre and one of the first people picked. It's just the different format."
"I'm sure that around the corner there'll be some more white-ball 50-over cricket for Glenn Maxwell in the Australian unit, assuming there is an opportunity for him.
"But if these guys perform (in India) and make it hard for him to get back in then that's a great problem to have as well."