Glenn Maxwell has been recalled to the Australian Test squad for the first time in five years as the team’s injury crisis in Sri Lanka worsens.
The all-rounder’s recall to the Red Balls squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka was confirmed late Thursday night, with Cricket Australia announcing he was being drafted in as an ‘additional option’ while his teammates were dropping like flies around him.
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Maxwell has played just seven Test matches and is a white-ball specialist who is considered one of the most destructive players in the sport’s shortest T20 format.
The maverick mid-order hitter made his Test debut against India in 2013 and scored his first Test century against the same team in 2017. His skills on the subcontinent against the spin have led many fans have been calling for Maxwell’s inclusion in the five-day squad and the 33-year-old is set to wear baggy green again.
“So incredibly pumped to have this opportunity again!” Maxwell posted on Instagram, along with a photo of himself batting during a test in India in 2017.
“Time to find some white towels and dust off that little green hat.”
Meanwhile, Travis Head will miss Australia’s final one-day international against Sri Lanka while Steve Smith is also a doubt, skipper Aaron Finch said on Thursday on the eve of the dead rubber game.
The head suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday as Sri Lanka took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-game series in Colombo, adding to a long injury list for the visitors.
Smith missed the game with a quad problem and Australia were also without Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson, Mitchell Starc and Ashton Agar.
“There are a lot of them,” said Finch, adding he was “not sure” if Head, who scored a useful 70 paces in the third ODI on Sunday, would be fit for the two-man Test series. matches starting in July. 29 in Galle.
“Especially where he’s playing in the outfield, he gets quite a lot of miles and the pitch is pretty heavy,” Finch said, adding that Head’s absence was “a bit more of a precaution.” He said he doubted Smith would be available either.
“But that could change. I mean he’s going to practice this afternoon. We’ll go over there and look at the conditions and everything. But from what I understand, it won’t be available for tomorrow,” Finch said.
Finch also said Starc was “still unwell” with his finger, which he cut on the toe of his boot during the first ODI.
“Where he is, the seams and things like that (are) just not quite 100 per cent healed. Without being able to play with tape, he will also be out tomorrow,” Finch said.
Finch blamed the “disappointing” series loss on Australia’s failure to build partnerships, but said the games were still good preparation for testing.
“Every time we start to build momentum in the game we lose a wicket and under those conditions once you lose one they come in pretty quick succession,” Finch said.
He has also championed international bilateral series in the era of domestic T20 tournaments like the Indian Premier League which have witnessed huge growth in funding and popularity over the past few years.
Finch said the standard “isn’t the same when you play domestic competitions” and that international bilateral series were always “important to the game”.
On Friday, Sri Lanka head coach Chris Silverwood paid tribute to the players for their first “very satisfying” bilateral series win against Australia since 2010.
“The most satisfying for me has been the progression of a team on this journey so far, just to obviously see the tactics come together, to see the guys in the middle of the points, to see how we chased the totals,” Silverwood told reporters.
“And for me, one of the most exciting things is that we are still far from the potential that we have in this team… If the guys continue to learn and improve like they do, then we will be… .in a very strong position to challenge anywhere in the world.