McDermott tipped to replace troubled Maxi
JUSTIN Langer has backed Tasmanian big hitter Ben McDermott to fill the void in Australia’s T20 batting order left by Glenn Maxwell’s shock departure.
Cricket Australia made the bombshell announcement yesterday that Maxwell would take an indefinite break from cricket to concentrate on his mental health, with D’Arcy Short added to the squad. But Langer said McDermott would take Maxwell’s place in the middle order to night when Australia attempts to make it a 3-0 series clean sweep against Sri Lanka at the MCG.
“If he comes in at No.4 it’s a great opportunity,” Langer said. “He’s a gun player, he’s got really good numbers, and he’s looked fantastic in the nets these last few days. He’s had a good start to the season so he’ll get first crack at it.”
Langer had suspected for a while that something was amiss with cricket’s great entertainer Maxwell, who will take a break to deal with his mental health issues.
Langer approached Maxwell before Australia’s opening T20 match against Sri Lanka.
The star batsman admitted he wasn’t OK and was struggling to enjoy the game.
“There’s been a few times over the last 12 months where I’ve probably suspected that he’s been battling a little bit,” Langer said in Melbourne.
“The day before the game in Adelaide he didn’t seem to have his normal zip and enthusiasm, though he still worked hard.
“We saw how he played in Adelaide and we saw how he fielded [in Brisbane] but they often put on a mask.
“People in public positions have to put on a mask and that’s the mask he puts on, that’s his armour — his energy and the way he plays.
“He’s the great entertainer, but underneath the mask I could probably just sense he wasn’t quite right.”