Glenn Maxwell hopes to wear a baggy green again in mid-2022 after his best chance of returning to Australia’s Test team in nearly five years went up in smoke over a schedule change.
Maxwell never intended on getting married during the tour of Pakistan, and even went to lengths to avoid a clash when planning the special occasion, which had already been postponed.
But dates for the historic three-Test tour changed and overlapped with Maxwell’s traditional Hindu wedding to Vini Raman, which will consist of three events over a week in late March.
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The details of which have this week been leaked online by Indian actor Kasturi Shankar, who shared a picture of the Tamil invite with her 313,000 Twitter followers.
Understandably, Maxwell chose to prioritise the wedding and made himself unavailable for selection.
Speaking to Fox Cricket on Tuesday, Maxwell said he had settled on a date for the wedding with Cricket Australia only for the goalposts to change.
“Originally when I organised the dates with CA there was a two-week gap where I could potentially have it, so when I sorted that out I was pretty happy I wasn’t going to be missing any series,” Maxwell said.
“Then it came to the contract meeting midway through last year and (CA) said this is the Pakistan series and I said, ‘well that’s obviously changed since the last conversation we had.’
“… But happy wife, happy life.
“I know I was pretty hopeful to be on one of the Test tours this year and unfortunately with all the scheduling changes it (wedding) happened to fall during this one.”
Given selectors had knowledge of Maxwell’s upcoming nuptials since well before the Ashes, a potential Test re-call in Pakistan for the 33-year-old wouldn’t have been discussed at any great length.
As such, where Maxwell stands within Australia’s Test plans after the tour is unclear — but there’s reason to believe that he stood a chance of returning to the red ball set-up next month.
Firstly, and most obviously, is that this is a tour of the subcontinent where Maxwell has made all seven of his Test appearances.
Although Test wickets in Pakistan are a relative unknown to Australia — having not toured the nation this century — Maxwell’s experience in all formats across Asia and ability against spin would have made him a genuine contender.
He scored a century against India in Ranchi in 2017, while he averaged 37 across four Tests in Asia in 2017. For context, only Steve Smith (56.18) averaged more during Australia’s 2017 tours of India and Bangladesh.
Australia has only returned to Asia to play Test cricket once since; in a two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE in October 2018.
Maxwell toured but didn’t feature in either match — and has been kept away from the Australian Test team since.
He eventually all but gave up on his dream of playing more Tests for Australia, withdrawing from first class cricket with an average of 39.81 in October 2019.
But having turned his back on the idea of playing Test cricket again, Maxwell’s tune has changed with Australia embarking on three tours to Asia in 2022.
Given CA is bracing for player withdrawals to tour Pakistan over security concerns, while Steve Smith is in a race to overcome concussion symptoms, Maxwell would have been a strong contender to make Australia’s extended Test squad.
He’s now hoping to be in the equation for the mid-year tour of Sri Lanka, where spin is expected to play a bigger role than in Pakistan.
“I’d love to be available for the Sri Lanka Test matches this year,” Maxwell told cricket.com.au. “There’s still other options and other series that I could potentially put my hand up for.
“It’s just got to be right time, right place and hopefully I can sneak my way into the squad and add to a couple of Test runs and add a couple of Test caps. That’d be nice.”
Australia is yet to name its ODI and T20 squad for four white ball matches against Pakistan in April, while Maxwell will have a chance to impress in the IPL in April.