Glenn Maxwell Australia Pakistan UAE 2018
Glenn Maxwell Getty Images (file photo)

Australia included five uncapped players Aaron Finch, Brendan Doggett, Michael Neser, Travis Head, and Marnus Labuschagne and recalled Peter Siddle for the upcoming two-Test series against Pakistan in UAE. However, they chose to leave Glenn Maxwell out, which was somewhat counter-intuitive, more so as Maxwell can chip in with his off-breaks on Asian tracks.

Maxwell’s omission surprised the likes of former captain Ricky Ponting (who assisted coach Justin Langer in the England tour this summer) and Darren Lehmann (who stood down as Australian coach earlier this year).

Langer explained that Maxwell needed to score big more consistently for a Test cap. However, Maxwell was never given a chance: he was not picked for Australia A’s recently-concluded two-‘Test’ series against India A.

“If I was Maxi I’d be thinking, ‘why didn’t you give me the chance to actually go there (to India) and push my case to get myself into the team?” Ponting told “That’s all a bit bizarre to me. If I was Maxi and I hadn’t been given the chance to play for Australia A, I’d be ropeable. I’m not sure what the message is, but it’s a bit confusing to me.”

Head and Labuschagne, both uncapped, played for Australia A on that tour, and have both made it to the squad for UAE. While Head top-scored for Australia A in the series with 206 runs (4, 87, 60, and 47), Labuschagne got only 97, including a pair in the second ‘Test’.

Lehmann, on the other hand, told Macquarie Sports Radio: “I would have picked him. It was a tough one with Glenn, he made a ton the last time they toured India and he made a lot of runs in the Sheffield Shield. He plays spin quite well and it was an interesting decision. They see Head and young Marnus from Queensland as real long-term prospects.”

National selector Trevor Hohns, however, announced that Maxwell had a chance of making a comeback alongside Joe Burns and Peter Handscomb, neither of whom made it to the squad: “All three remain on our radar for Test cricket, but we want them to perform for their states and continue to push their case ahead of what is going to be a big Australian summer.”