Mc­Der­mott tipped to re­place trou­bled Maxi

Mercury (Hobart) - - CRICKET - JA­SON PHE­LAN

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.”

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