Glenn Maxwell may well play in the third and now dead rubber match in Melbourne on Friday, but regardless of his status in the XI, the awkward line of questioning remains. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: I honestly thought this Glenn Maxwell-Matthew Wade thing would’ve blown over by now, but by not picking him in the first two ODIs v New Zealand, Cricket Australia have only helped to fuel the fire.
In what was largely a state issue, CA bought into the saga when they – and not Victoria – decided to hand down the ‘thou shalt not wail on a teammate batting too high’ fine last weekend. As far as I can tell, the only ‘national’ crime that Maxwell committed was that he was wearing a CA shirt and cap when he gave his now infamous press conference responses when asked about his chances of a Test recall.
He was left out of the Australian side for the first ODI of the summer in Sydney on Sunday, though the mail even by the time the first ball was bowled was that Maxwell would play the second match in Canberra on Tuesday.
This was CA’s opportunity to kill the matter dead. Playing Maxwell would’ve turned the heat directly back on the player himself, with a clear message to put up or shut up…
England beat the Wallabies on Sunday morning (AEDT) not just because they were the better team, but because they could play according to their game plan for longer. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: Ah, the Wallabies. They giveth, and they taketh away. Often in the same match.
So it was again, for the fourth time this year, that a chronic lack of plan B proved their great undoing in the final match of the season. A little over a week ago, a 2016 record of eight wins-seven losses looked very possible, and there’s no doubting Wallabies fans would’ve been thrilled after the way the year started.
The sporadic signs of improvement over the back-half of the year would’ve genuinely pointed in the right direction with an 8 and 7 record, and though the Cook and Bledisloe Cups were long gone, the season would’ve finished in much better health than it started. Heck, even seven wins-either losses probably would’ve have been swallowed in time, for much the same reason.
But 6 and 9 doesn’t quite wash, does it?
The of the Wallabies of 2016: excellent on attack when making the gain line and serving up quick ball, but utterly bereft of idea once on the back foot chasing the game. Image: ABC Grandstand
Rugby365.com: For the Wallabies, season 2016 has finished exactly the same way it started: an agonising loss to England in a game in which they’ll rue missed opportunities to convert into points.
The Wallabies, therefore, finish 2016 with six wins and nine losses, and finished the Spring Tour with good lead-up wins against Wales, Scotland, and France, but let the Grand Slam slip away with a loss to Ireland that they could very easily have won if the ball bounced differently here and there.
This latest England loss confirms everything we already knew about the Wallabies this year..
It’s fair to suggest Nic Maddinson’s Test Debut didn’t go the way he dreamed it would. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: This seems like one of those cases where you’d think common sense surely must prevail. Young batsmen trying to find their feet in the Test side should be getting as much in the middle as is humanly and logistically possible.
With the ODI squad named just prior to the pink-ball Test in Adelaide last week, Test players Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, and 12th man Chadd Sayers are all – in theory – free to play the round of Sheffield Shield games starting next Monday.
With the exception of Khawaja – who might have played his best Test innings – all of them will benefit from more First Class cricket, and none more so than Maddinson and Renshaw.