Langer shuts down Maxwell promotion talk, backs Finch

Glenn Maxwell during nets. (Reuters pic)

BENGALURU: Australia coach Justin Langer has effectively dismissed Glenn Maxwell’s request to bat higher up the order in the 50-overs saying the management will do whatever is best for the team.

Maxwell has made a strong case for promotion in the batting order on the tour of India after producing match-winning knocks of 56 in Visakhapatnam and an unbeaten 113 in Bengaluru to help Australia clinch the Twenty20 series 2-0.

Batting at number four would allow the Victorian to gather further momentum ahead of the World Cup in May but Langer wants Maxwell to continue as a finisher at number seven, where he batted in the recent ODI series against India on home soil.

“We’ll wait and see,” Langer told reporters. “We’ll do what’s best for the team I reckon.

“He played really well, didn’t he? He’ll be the first to say it – that’s what we’ve been crying out for some time from him.

“It just goes to show what he can do. When he does things like that, he elevates himself to a world-class performer.”

Ahead of the first of five-ODI series against India on Saturday, Langer has backed captain Aaron Finch to retain his place in the lineup despite failing to record a half-century in his last 19 limited-overs innings for the national team.

“We just got to keep giving him plenty of care and support. We know he’ll come good,” Langer said.

“There’s no more destructive player in the world – we talk about ‘Maxi’ (Maxwell), Marcus Stoinis, a number of our players who can be so destructive – but when he’s going, he is as destructive as a player as there is in white-ball cricket.”

What has impressed Langer during Finch’s barren patch at the crease is how the Victorian has conducted himself around the squad as captain.

“We haven’t seen any real change in his personality or his attitude around the group, so that’s a real credit to him.”

While the imminent return of suspended duo Steve Smith and David Warner may force Australia to reshuffle their top order for the World Cup, Langer has refused to be drawn into speculation and wants his players to focus on winning games.

Both players underwent elbow surgery in January, but Langer expects the pair to be ready to feature in the Indian Premier League, which begins on March 23.

“It’s about us winning games of cricket and then selections and positions usually look after themselves,” Langer said.

“From all accounts, they should both be ready for the IPL, which is really positive.”

Smith returned to the nets for the first time since surgery and posted a short video on Instagram of him having a hit wearing his New South Wales shirt.

“Great to have my first hit back,” he wrote. “The elbow is feeling good!”

Smith and Warner, who were banned for their roles in last year’s Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, are eligible for selection again on March 29.