Victoria‘s Glenn Maxwell was called up to the Australian squad for the New Year test, starting on Thursday at the SCG, with Shane Watson pulling out due to a calf injury. He has been named 12th man, however.
The younger generation of cricketers is now getting a go due to the retirements in the Australian side. The likes of young bowlers James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc are really establishing a name for themselves.
Now, with the batting order still in a state of flux, and selection headaches all round, Maxwell has been tapped on the shoulder.
He is not a stranger to the Australian team atmosphere either. He played in three one-day internationals against Pakistan in August, making 56 in the final match.
The one thing that really makes me see Maxwell as the one is his maturity for someone who has only played a few handfuls of matches at first-class level. His technique, all-round behaviour on the field, and above all, his composure during his 56 in Sharjah indicated Maxwell could hold his own at the top level.
Maxwell also presents a very handy spin option to support the front line bowling attack. He is more than capable of bowling not just two or three overs, but a sustained spell, and also capture wickets.
On the subject of selection, with Usman Khawaja banging on the team door, Maxwell cannot be given one test to prove his selection. He should be given the opportunity to go to India in February. While Khawaja has certainly proven he could play at the top level this season, Maxwell could easily slot into the middle order.
The persistent injury niggles to batsmen and bowlers alike has sent selectors digging deep into the state ranks. Khawaja is in the same boat as Maxwell, still building up a first class career.
The real test for Maxwell, when he gets that coveted baggy green, will be to apply his form for Victoria. In order for Australia to really get back to its dominant ways, they need to ensure that the future of the side is rock solid. That means giving Maxwell time to apply himself to the top level.
Unfortunately, we will not find out until at least India whether Maxwell will get given a chance. When he does though, I will be watching.