FORMER Hampshire and South Wilts all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is “waiting to blossom” into a quality Test cricket performer.
That is the view of Maxwell’s Victoria coach Greg Shipperd after the 24-year-old was called into the Australian squad for this week’s third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney.
Maxwell spent most of last summer playing in the Southern Electric Premier League for Salisbury-based South Wilts, before making a big impact in a handful of t20 games for Hampshire.
Now his meteoric rise is set to continue with a Test debut in place of the injured ex-Hampshire man Shane Watson.
Shipperd said Maxwell had the capacity to bat in any position from 4-7 based on his “beautiful technique”.
“When he plays within himself, as a technician he’s as good a player as Victoria has,” Shipperd explained.
“He has the potential to deal with fast or spin bowling – he’s waiting to really blossom.
“I’m really confident that in a Test match he won't be a shrinking violet.
“He’ll take risks, hopefully calculated ones with both bat and ball, and give a good account of himself.
“He’s got a personality that's very thirsty for cricket and the contest.
“He’s a really good student of the game. He’s got an appetite to learn and adjust and is a thinker about the game who looks to find the recipes that work in all three forms of the game.
“Glenn is going to have to make those adjustments, but Test cricket certainly won’t hold him back.”
Maxwell was called up to the Test squad after two impressive performances for Australia A.
Playing against the touring South Africans at Sydney in early November, Maxwell struck 64 off 89 balls while batting at No 8.
He then dismissed Jacques Rudolph and Alviro Petersen in taking 2-70 off 24 overs.
Maxwell, promoted up the batting order to No 5, then struck 91 off just 77 balls while playing for a Cricket Australia Chairman’s Select XI against Sri Lanka in Canberra a few weeks ago.
Maxwell belted 11 fours and two sixes and was in sight of a century when he was bowled by Nuwan Pradeep. He didn’t fare so well with the ball, taking 1-127 off 26 overs.
“In the two Australia A games Glenn played, he stood out and batted the house down,” Shipperd enthused.
“There were a couple of hundreds in the offing, but he showed enough with both bat and ball to whet the appetite of Australian selectors who’ve made another call with great initiative.”
Maxwell’s ability as a slow bowler has no doubt helped him win a call-up for Sydney, a ground with a reputation for spin.
And if he does well in helpful conditions he could book himself a spot on Australia’s subsequent tour of India, and beyond that to England for next summer’s Ashes series.
“Certainly with his spin bowling, matched with his quality play of spin (as a batsman), Glenn is going to be a strong candidate always for those pitches,” Shipperd continued.
“Obviously the selection has an eye to perhaps an Indian tour or others as they come along.
“But if he gets in there and competes strongly and bowls well, he’s certainly got some great batting skills and he’s a quality fielder.
“With his potential and capacity to learn, it’s over to him as to how far he can take it.”