Maxwell & the NSP a tale of inconsistency

By Bozza

Misinform. Denigrate. Contradict.

These seem to be the steps the NSP follow whenever they set out to defend a confusing, inconsistent, or controversial decision. It was again on show this week after the decision to omit Glenn Maxwell from the ODI squad.

Just looking at the way he trains, I think he could train a little bit smarter, but when he puts his head down he is actually a really good batsman and as we’ve seen in Shield cricket, he has got some big runs there.

So if he keeps his head switched on and trains really well and focusses on basic things more than the expansive things I think that will help him have his consistency and it he is having those consistent performances he is certainly a person we want in the team.

Steve Smith on Glenn Maxwell’s Omission from Australian ODI Squad

It was an extraordinary observation from the Australian Captain about a player on the periphery of national team selection. With Maxwell averaging 70 in the Sheffield Shield, Smith’s questioning of his consistency was unusual on a number of levels and raised a lot of questions. High on the list being when exactly did the Australian team become concerned with his training methods?

Given that the Victorian All-Rounder was flown into Brisbane as cover for both David Warner and Shaun Marsh, the concerns weren’t there before the First Ashes Test. Perhaps Darren Lehmann may have expressed reservations about selecting him for the Third Test when Peter Handscomb’s position appeared tenuous.

It was just ‘go away and get hundreds’ and he got 200! He did well, it was great.

Darren Lehmann ahead of Third Test

So if he was just an injury away from playing the First Test and still in the frame for the Third, it can only be a four innings period in which he scored a Shield 96 and a BBL 50 that has caused this deeply held concern amongst Smith and the Australian team. While at face value it would appear disingenuous, we should be thankful that we have been offered up a reason that isn’t quantifiably false.

Both those fellas (Maxwell and Hilton Cartwright) were spoken about and we came up with the fact that they haven’t performed well enough in the early rounds of the competition this year.

(The selection panel had) suggested that they were going to be crucial (Shield) rounds for everybody. Everybody knew there were positions up for grabs. So it was up to them to perform and present their case to us.

“We just feel that Shaun Marsh … has performed much, much better and demanded to be chosen.”

Trevor Hohns speaking to reporters before First Test

This is ‘misinform, denigrate and contradict’ at its absolute best here from Trevor Hohns. His explanation couldn’t be any more ridiculous if he delivered it to the tune of the Benny Hill Show. In this one one quote Hohns has suggested that Maxwell, the then incumbent Test number six, had not done enough to keep his job averaging 40 in the Sheffield Shield while Shaun Marsh had demanded selection averaging 39.

Not surprising then that the Hohns used a little bit of logic gymnastics to explain the overlooking of Maxwell for the series against England.

What we have wanted from him is more consistency but in his past 20 matches in this format he has averaged 22 and we need more than that from a player in the side’s batting engine room.

Trevor Hohns explaining Maxwell’s ODI Axing

Hohns choice of words and sample size are interesting given that it includes seven matches prior to the Victorian’s last ODI axing, and that it ignores his extreme consistency since coming home from Australia’s last ODI series in India. Before you yell ‘but that’s red ball cricket this is white ball cricket’, Hohns has consistently used performances in one form of the game to select a player in a different form.

Exhibit A:

“Shaun is playing very well at the moment, having scored consistently in the JLT One-Day Cup and first three rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield competition.”

Hohns prior to first Ashes Test

Exhibit B:

Tim forced his way into the Twenty20 International squad last summer, and after coming back into the Test squad at the beginning of the Ashes series he has made a terrific contribution with bat and gloves.

Hohns explaining Tim Paine’s recall to the ODI Side

So if Marsh’s One Day form can be used to justify selecting him in the Test Team, and Tim Paine’s Test Form can be used to select him the One Day team, why can’t Maxwell’s Shield performances be used to assuage fears of his reliability?

After demanding consistency of their talented all-rounder, the NSP have not returned the favour. In fact, the only thing that can be reliably expected from the selectors is their inconsistency and ever more ridiculous leaps of logic to explain them. That said, at least they went to the trouble attempting to explain Maxwell’s absence. Kane Richardson was afforded no such luxury.

The non-selection of the 26-year-old, who had the best bowling average of Australia’s bowlers on the recent ODI tour of India, passed without explanation. It was left to the South Australian quick to read between the lines of the selection of two other bowlers to understand why he had gone from incumbent to abandoned.

Jhye featured in the Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka last summer, is someone we have had our eyes on for a while and he is the complete package: he bowls with good pace, he has got good variations in short-form cricket, is a good fielder and is a handy batsman too. He was also the joint leading wicket-taker in the JLT One-Day Cup that Western Australia won at the start of the summer and so he fully deserves his spot.

Hohns on Jhye Richardson

Andrew Tye is in outstanding limited-overs form as he is demonstrating in the KFC Big Bash League, is another player who did extremely well in the JLT One-Day Cup for Western Australia and merits his chance to try and cement a spot in the 50-over side after having played in the recent T20 International series in India

Hohns on Andrew Tye

Yep, the two have been selected because they are, in Hohns’ mind, exceptional T20 bowlers who performed well in the JLT Cup. Richardson, of the Kane variety, did not have a strong JLT Cup because he was taking wickets for the national team. While The Sportress welcomes the selectors rewarding performances in the Domestic Competition, it questions how strong performances in it outweighs strong performances in the national team. Surely incumbency deserves more than this level of lip-service.

While many fans would suggest that at the end of a glorious Ashes winning summer the results justify the means, but this is not the way to ensure long-term success. The players whose dreams rest on the selectors whims deserve better, but so too do the fans. It’s time for the era of misinformation, denigration and contradiction to end and for the selectors to deliver the consistency they demand of the players.



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