Maxwell's ankle woes adds World Cup's precariousness

By Real11 - Sep 4 2023 343 Views

Maxwell's ankle concerns causes headaches for Australia ahead of the ODI World Series

Glen Maxwell recently said he will have to cautiously manage his preparation ahead of the ODI World Series and may miss the lead-in series against India after he was ruled out of the T20I series against the Proteas due to soreness in his ankle arising from his previously broken leg. 

Maxwell remained in SA for less than a week (4 days) after experiencing soreness in his left ankle while running a lap at his first training session. It also is the same leg that he described “snapped in half” in a terrible accident last November. His ankle still has screws following the surgery but this soreness stemmed from a separate spot to the pain he experienced earlier. 

Addressing at the Aus T20 League overseas draft on Sunday night where he was a Melbourne Stars’ member, Maxwell confirmed that he is on a cortisone injection and disclosed that he was uncertain how much of the games he will play against India as he and the Australian Cricket Board strength and conditioning unit try to devise a program to have him completely fit for the World Series.

"I still want to play some part of that India series," Maxwell said. "But I'm not feeling any pressure on it. The selectors and the staff have been brilliant with me as well. They don't want to put too much pressure on me to sort of set that date because they know they've got a bit of extra time before the World Cup. So instead of rushing it and probably putting myself a week or two behind, being able to give myself extra time and make sure we get through the whole tournament."

The Australian Cricket Board took a stable approach by ruling him out of the just concluded T20I series in South Africa. Australia managed to clinch that by 3-0 on Sunday. The One Dayers will now commence from Thursday which the decorated all rounder was already set to miss due to the impending birth of his first child. 

Maxwell is anticipated to be a part of Australia’s initial 15 player World Series squad on Wednesday, although there are numerous other injury woes including Steve Smith (wrist)n, Mitchell Starc (groin), Ashton Agar (calf) and Pat Cummins (wrist) walking into the World Series. Australia do not have to provide a final call until September 28, after the three matches against India. 

CA’s medical team will meet with Maxwell on Monday to chalk out the schedule for the next couple of weeks leading into travelling to India. 

"I don't think I could have predicted how sore I was going to be once I got to South Africa," he said. "But it was one of those things. Even when I went to train that day, I still felt fine. There was nothing wrong. Something just got impinged. I think one of the tendons around my ankle was a little bit inflamed, there's a bit of swelling, so it kept on catching which meant it just gave me a bit of pain. Hopefully, the cortisone takes care of that and I can get back up and running to where I was just before I went to South Africa.

"We've probably just got to be a bit smarter going forward. Making sure that my preparation is a bit more managed, I think leading into a flight like that. I'm already back in the gym, so I'll probably get back into full training this week, so it won't be a long turnaround. It's just knowing that I'm not over the hurdle of the original injury yet."

To further complicate the matters is the birth of his first child. Maxwell knows he faces an intricate balancing act across all fronts over the coming weeks. 

“It's going to be a busy fortnight," Maxwell said. "I suppose I'm trying to manage my program and I'll sit down with the strength conditioning crew tomorrow and nut out of a genuine plan but obviously there's some distractions as well.

"I'm trying to manage obviously a pretty special time in my life with a pretty big time in my career, trying to manage those two and work out the balance."

Since returning from injury, Maxwell has played a lot of cricket this year. He has made 28 T20 appearances in the Indian T20 League and the England T20 League and two first class games for Victoria and Warwickshire, but he has only mustered one 50-over fixture in that time. He withdrew from the Hundred prior to the South Africa issue to rest ahead of the ODI World Series. 

He remains an essential part of Australia’s World Series plans with his off spin particularly crucial in India as Australia do not have many spin bowling all rounders in their squad. Smith and Travis Head are proficient but neither have bowled much in recent ODIs. Head has only bowled in just four out of the last 20 ODIs, and a total of only 13 overs in that time, while ex skipper Smith bowled only 5 overs in his last 73 ODIs. Marnus Labuschagne has been excluded from the initial 18-man World Series squad although he is the side for the SA ODIs as a replacement for the injured Smith. 

Australia’s selectors have named Tim David in the SA ODI series to give him some exposure and game time in the event Maxwell is not fit for the World Series. David can’t replicate Maxwell’s all round prowess but Maxwell believes he can translate his T20 form into the ODIs.

He's a wonderful addition," Maxwell said. "I think the way he batted in that first [T20I against South Africa], showed great maturity, and a great level head and I think any time you bring a player in who's in good form, he's got a history of great power hitting the back end, but what we probably haven't seen a lot on the international stage from Tim is that style of play where he is able to get through a tough time. He's is a very good player spin. He bats well in India. It doesn't surprise me that he's been added to that squad." 

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