Maxwell hits straps ahead of SL T20s

maxwell_getty0612Australia A allrounder Glenn Maxwell has found form at just the right time, producing a man-of-the-match performance in his side’s thumping of South Africa A in Mackay.

Maxwell, who will now fly out to Sri Lanka to join Australia for the two-match T20 international series, claimed 1-35 from 10 overs of off-spin as Australia A rolled the visitors for 134.

The Victorian was then in devastating touch with the bat, blasting an unbeaten 46 from 31 balls and enjoying some valuable centre-wicket practice in the process.

“To put on 100-odd with ‘Lynny’ (Chris Lynn, 56no) and finish the game two down was a good way to go out,” Maxwell said.

“I needed a bit more time in the middle before I went over and to get a few runs out there, and hit the ball cleanly, was something I’ll take a lot out of.”

Maxwell and Lynn will both add some serious firepower to Australia’s T20 squad, which plays matches in Kandy and Colombo on September 6 and 9 respectively.

In Steve Smith’s absence, David Warner will lead the side that hasn’t played since they crashed out of the World T20 in the Super 10s phase, following a defeat to hosts India.

Maxwell has been a key figure for Australia in the game’s shortest format in recent times.

In the past two years, the 27-year-old has been the team’s third highest run-scorer (308 in 13 matches at a strike-rate of 143.92), behind only the retired Shane Watson (388) and opening batsman Aaron Finch (314).

The allrounder has also picked up a handy six wickets – fifth among Australians since August 2014 – conceding a relatively miserly 7.26 runs per over.

Maxwell will have added incentive to perform in the T20 format after he was dumped from Australia’s ODI squad last month, ahead of the current series against Sri Lanka owing to a disappointing run of form with the bat.

The right-hander has batted six times for Australia A since that axing, making first-class scores of 0, 38 and 13, and one-day scores of 0, 10 and today’s 46 not out.

At the time he was dropped, Maxwell conceded the never-ending merry-go-round of international cricket had gotten to him.

“I’ve never questioned my commitment to my country and trying to do as well as I possibly can, I think just going from tournament to tournament to tournament, and playing so much cricket, all you’re thinking about is game day,” he explained to cricket.com.au in July.

“You’re probably not concentrating so much on training days or gym days or recovery days, and (instead) just making sure you’re ready for game day.

“I was so much in game-day mentality that I was probably starting to miss those little things – I wasn’t quite as focused on those little things as much as I should’ve been.” (cricket.com.au)

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