Ricky Ponting has dashed Glenn Maxwell’s long-held dreams of playing more Test cricket for Australia as the reality of the superstar’s career arc hits home.
Maxwell is one of the country’s most talented batsmen but has just seven Test caps under his belt — and all have come overseas.
The 35-year-old returned from Australia’s Cricket World Cup triumph hopeful that he will pull on his baggy green again one day while understanding that it remains a long shot.
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“I haven’t given up, I think I’ve just got to be realistic about the timings of the way I’ve been playing my white-ball cricket,” Maxwell said.
“You play a World Cup and then you don’t play any (Sheffield) Shield cricket. You play at the back end of summer in white ball (internationals) and don’t play any Shield cricket. So it’s just the way it’s gone over the last 10 years of my career really.”
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After several hiccups across 2020-22, Maxwell’s latest shot at a Test return — on Australia’s tour of India in February and March this year — was scuppered by a broken leg.
The subcontinent looms again in 2025 with a tour of Sri Lanka but the Victorian would also dearly love to play a home Test in his career.
Ponting, however, is clear on where he stands with Maxwell or any player being called up without the red-ball performances to justify it.
Test match opportunities for Australia’s Glenn Maxwell appear to be running out. Credit: AP
“No one deserves a chance unless you’ve got a truckload of first-class runs behind you,” Ponting said in Channel 7’s ‘yes, no, wait’ segment.
“I’m a no, he doesn’t deserve it. But if he gets a chance to go back and make some first-class runs then he can force his way back in.”
Ponting’s former teammate Greg Blewett quickly took issue with the idea that Maxwell could have been — or even should be — scoring Shield runs to deserve another shot.
“It’s a yes for me because it’s not his fault that he hasn’t played first-class cricket,” Blewett said.
“He’s good enough to be batting in the middle order, especially on a subcontinent tour.”
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Maxwell, who raised the bat once in his seven Test matches, has played just one Shield match since October 2019 and only 44 in his entire career.
Australia’s incumbent No.5 batsman Travis Head, by contrast, had played 89 Shield matches before he turned 29 years old.
Ponting and Blewett also answered the question of whether ‘Wild Thing’ Lance Morris should be unleashed by Australia this summer.
The WA paceman is in the squad after recovering from a back injury but missed out on selection for his home Test this week.
Blewett said he would pick the 25-year-old Morris for a genuine look into the future.
Ricky Ponting is seen during day one of the first Test Match between Australia and Pakistan at the Gabba in Brisbane, Thursday, November 21, 2019 (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP Credit: DARREN ENGLAND/AAPIMAGE
“We’ve got to start looking at our bowling stocks so if there’s any opportunity for him to play some Test cricket this summer, yes (he should),” Blewett said.
Ponting was a ‘wait’ because it would force the selectors to make too many changes from the first-choice XI.
“Scott Boland deserves to be first one picked back in so I think it’s going to be unlikely (for Morris) this summer,” the ex-skipper said.
Channel 7 host James Brayshaw thought it could work to unleash Morris at the final Test of the summer on a hard and fast wicket in Brisbane.
But still Ponting was unmoved, refusing to say a word as he pumped his eyebrows at the suggestion.
Another question cheekily asked whether Boland should always be a lock to play in the Boxing Day Test.
“It’s a no for me — that’s probably an unpopular no — but you’ve always got to pick your best bowling attack at the time,” Blewett laughed.
The segment then moved on to a debate on whether allrounders Mitch Marsh and Cameron Green can play in the team together.
“Yes, yes they can, but I don’t think we’ll see it for a while,” Blewett said.
Ponting agreed but “it’d probably be more likely in the subcontinent than it would be here in Australia”.