Australian Test coach Justin Langer has strongly denied speculation selectors have an underlying issue with Glenn Maxwell’s personality.
In a fiery exchange with a journo on Thursday, Langer tersely shot down rumours there were other forces at play behind the Victorian batsman being overlooked for the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka.
Langer became incredibly terse when quizzed on why Maxwell was discouraged from signing a county contract last year.
Maxwell detailed in a radio interview last year how he turned down offers to play domestic cricket in England.
Maxwell was then overlooked for both an Australia A tour of India and Test tour of the UAE, denying him a rare chance to play some red-ball cricket.
Langer, arguably showing the strain of a taxing month in which he and his team had copped widespread criticism on a range of issues, asked the reporter twice “are you certain that’s what happened?” regarding the county directive.
“You’re telling me it did happen,” he said during the heated back-and-forth.
“I’m asking did it happen?
“I’ve got zero knowledge of that … careless whispers, eh?
“Sorry for getting grumpy.
“I don’t like getting grumpy but there’s so many stories that go around about so much stuff.
“The truth is a beautiful thing.”
Langer echoed the sentiment of chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns, who insisted on Wednesday it was wrong to infer that Maxwell’s character or behaviour was being held against him at the selection table.
“Glenn is crystal clear from me and the selectors on what he needs to do to get back in the Test team,” he said.
“There have been some reports about personality: it is literally false. It’s not true. All the conjecture about it – that’s all part of the noise.”
Maxwell’s Victoria teammate Rob Quiney caused a stir on Thursday morning when he said the selection panel – Langer, Hohns, and Greg Chappell – must have a personal issue with the much-maligned star.
“To be honest mate, they say it’s got nothing to do with his personality, but I do,” Quiney told SEN Radio.
“There’s something there they don’t like about Maxy because he’s ticked enough boxes runs-wise.
“They talk about him needing more hundreds, but no one’s making hundreds. If that’s the case, everyone gets dropped from the four Tests against India.
“The message keeps changing with him.”
‘I’ve taken it out of their hands’
However Maxwell didn’t seem too perturbed by the continual snub, outlining his plan to take the call out of selectors’ hands.
“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 later told The Unplayable Podcast.
“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.
“And when you play more white ball trying to get ready for that World Cup it’s going to hurt your chances of pushing forward your Test selections.
“So, I’ve taken it out of their hands and signed with a County early so at least I can give myself some sort of red-ball cricket and some sort of longer-form experience, because for a player who’s played as long as I have I certainly haven’t played the amount of first-class cricket as everyone else has.”
‘No issue there whatsoever’
On Wednesday, Hohns insisted Maxwell’s omission was solely based on his form.
“When we look at teams now we obviously take into account players’ character, but I can assure you there’s no issue there whatsoever,” Hohns told reporters.
“Glenn hasn’t played Test cricket for us for a while and, I guess, right here and now, we are wanting him to focus on white ball cricket with the World Cup coming up.
“Obviously, when a position becomes available in the batting line-up it depends where that position is and the type of player we require.
“We’ve had several conversations with Glenn about all this and right now he’s just content to focus on one-day cricket and white ball cricket.
“However, he makes it very clear he would like to play Test cricket for Australia — there’s no doubt about that.”