The evolution of Maxwell remains ‘unfinished business’ as he seeks Test recall
Far from the bash and crash brute he may have been painted as through his career, Glenn Maxwell is actually one of the most thoughtful cricketers in the country.
A player whose technique, mentality and personality have faced more scrutiny than most, he has overcome periods of uncertainty within himself to emerge a much more complete cricketer.
Maxwell's Sheffield Shield record this season — 590 runs at 73.75, including an unbelievable 278 against New South Wales — is the best in the country, and reflects the transformation of the player and the man.
And yet, a Test recall eludes him. The selectors had two opportunities to recall Maxwell this summer and both times looked for a Marsh.
In days gone by, these snubs may have rocked Maxwell's confidence, but now it has only steeled his resolve.
"I think I've got a lot of unfinished business with the Baggy Green," Maxwell said during a spell in the Grandstand commentary box.
"I think I've made some big improvements this year with my technique and the way I've batted.
"We've had a long run of Shield cricket where I could actually concentrate on what I need to do.
"It's been nice to be able to concentrate on trying to get better, I was able to go away and change some things technically and mentally to get ready for the Shield season."
Maxwell's technique has long been a point of contention, but as Steve Smith continues to plunder runs at an alarming rate, more people are accepting that "technique" is a fluid concept.
For a player who once claimed the reverse sweep was to him as natural as the cover drive, convincing people he was suited to the longer forms of the game has been a challenge — one he admits he is yet to conquer.
"I still think there's a long way to go, I don't think I've quite done that yet," he said.
"I'd like to think I am [a red ball player], I've been pretty public in the way I've talked about how I think I'm a red ball cricketer who has been given chances with the white ball."
Still, the discussion inevitably turns back to technique. But now, instead of sticking to his guns and defending his instincts, Maxwell can speak openly and with great insight about the changes he has made.
"I noticed in a bit of footage, my stance was very wide," he said.
"That was affecting the way I could move forward and back, so my footwork was more dependent on my hands and my natural hand-eye coordination.
"I wanted to use my feet more, so I tightened my stance which gave me a much better chance."
Drop-in pitches and 'uninspiring' cricket
The Victorian favourite is rather familiar with an MCG pitch that has been painted as the villain of this Ashes Test, facing criticism from many parts for its lack of life.
Having played plenty of cricket on this field already this season, it's an educated opinion that Maxwell shares.
"I 100 per cent agree," he said.
"The way we've seen the Shield games go this year as well, we've seen some pretty uninspiring draws that haven't looked like getting a result. Teams have batted comfortably for days.
"It just doesn't break up, the rubble doesn't go anywhere. When you have drop-ins it seems to hold firm."
It seems Maxwell's natural disposition towards entertaining cricket overwhelms his own interests, as he longs for pitches with more life and more movement for the bowlers.
"Yeah bloody oath, I think it would be a great challenge, and it just brings everyone to the game," he said.
"You won't see so many dull periods. When everyone is in the game, and the catchers are in the game, I think it makes it more entertaining for everyone."
With Shield cricket put on the backburner for the summer months, it's all about the bright lights of the Big Bash for Maxwell and his domestic colleagues.
It's a setting that has always suited a player of Maxwell's mercurial abilities, with his propensity to make headlines for both the sublime and the ridiculous part of the growing folklore of the fledgling tournament.
And even though his Test aspirations burn most fiercely, the Big Bash holds a special place in Maxwell's heart.
"I tell you what I would like to do is play Big Bash for the next 20 years," he said.
"I'll be like Brad Hogg, might be playing in a wheelchair in 20 years time. You can't get enough of playing in front of those big crowds."
The most important question for both Maxwell and Australian cricket fans — could we see him in action in a Baggy Green in South Africa?
"I have absolutely no idea."
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