LEHMANN DENIES MAXWELL RIFT
AUSTRALIAN cricket coach Darren Lehmann has denied Steve Smith’s public rebuke of Glenn Maxwell forced selectors into a corner.
Lehmann was asked yesterday in an interview on ABC’s Offsiders, if selectors were forced to pick veteran Cameron White over Maxwell because Smith had just last week come out publicly to criticise Maxwell’s training standards when the 14-man ODI squad was announced.
Maxwell was first overlooked for Chris Lynn before the big-hitting Brisbane Heat star was ruled out through injury.
He was then again overlooked in favour of White, who will play his first ODI for Australia in almost three years this series.
Aussie legend Shane Warne told Channel 9 Maxwell had been overlooked because an apparent weakness when facing spells of short-ball bouncers had been exposed by rival bowlers recently.
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Michael Slater and Rodney Hogg both suggested there must be more to Maxwell’s squad omission.
Slater said he could not help but feel Maxwell had not been gelling with his Aussie ODI teammates.
Hogg gave voice to a conspiracy that Maxwell was out of favour because he was not among Smith’s mates in the squad.
Lehmann yesterday denied Smith’s public criticism of Maxwell made it impossible for selectors to turn back to Maxwell – even if they wanted the Victorian all-rounder to replace Lynn.
Lehmann said Maxwell’s axing from the squad was simply a case of Australia looking to find more runs in its middle order.
“No, not at all, it was a case of trying to pick the best team we think will win for this series and Cameron White is in career-best form,” he said when asked about the impact Smith’s comments had on Maxwell’s selection fortunes.
“For us to go down the form line, for example, Tim Paine and Shaun Marsh, a little bit different, a little bit left-field. Cameron is a very good player.
“Over the previous games, (Maxwell) hasn’t been good enough. We are trying to get it right and see how we go.
“Selection is always tough and there are so many different views out there, but Cameron White has been fantastic over three or four summers with Victoria in the one-day arena and obviously started really well with the Big Bash, in good form, and that’s what we want.”