Maxwell’s absence from nets is not a sign all-rounder will be dropped – Finch
The 30-year-old’s place has come under threat.
Aaron Finch played down the relevance of Glenn Maxwell’s absence on the eve of Australia’s World Cup semi-final against England but Australia are still pondering a huge selection gamble.
Maxwell used to be known as ‘the Big Show’ but he was a no show at his team’s final net session on Wednesday.
It was an optional workout, and the 30-year-old was not the only player to sit out, but it fuelled suggestions that Australia were preparing to axe him in favour of Matthew Wade.
The International Cricket Council only confirmed Wade’s place in the squad as an injury replacement for Usman Khawaja less than 24 hours before the match but he is reportedly under consideration for a first cap since October 2017.
That would represent a massive risk but Maxwell is vulnerable after managing just 155 runs in nine innings at the competition.
“It’s a purely optional training session. You’re reading a bit too much into it,” said Australia captain Finch.
“Maxi is someone who probably 50% of the time comes down to optional sessions. Most of the bowlers aren’t here, Davey (Warner) isn’t here. We’ll name our side tomorrow at the toss, as usual.”
Justin Langer broke with that practice on Tuesday though, guaranteeing another injury replacement – Peter Handscomb – would take over from Khawaja in the XI for his first appearance of the tournament. That Maxwell was not offered the same pledge, could be telling.
Whatever Langer decides, Finch made clear he would be happy to have Maxwell’s all-round skills at his disposal.
I think the overall package, the three factors that he brings to the game, is still a very exciting package Finch on Maxwell
“I think the overall package, the three factors that he brings to the game, is still a very exciting package,” he said.
“I think if you look at his contribution in the field he’s up there with most runs saved…he’s bowled some key overs for us that have allowed us to mix and match our bowlers through them middle overs.
“As far as the runs, I’m not bothered about that at all because the way he’s batting, the way that he’s going about his innings. Runs are just around the corner.”
Finch sparked much amusement when he revealed he planned to spend the night before one of the biggest matches of his career watching animated children’s film ‘The Queen’s Corgi’, but will soon have his game face on.
The defending champions are looking for their sixth title and have never lost a semi-final.
“I think World Cups are very special, they bring out the best in the best players, so I think that’s why Australia have had a very rich history in World Cups,” he stated.
“I mean, winning four of the last five has been a great achievement. We are full of confidence going into this game but obviously England have been probably the front-runners in world cricket over the last four years, the way they have changed the game, taking it to the opposition.
“We know how they are going to play, they know how we are going to play. So it will be whoever holds their nerves, whoever takes those half-chances, whoever starts off the game really well in the first 10 overs, whether it is with bat or ball.”