Maxwell feels he is up for Test cricket



Maxwell feels he is up for Test cricketChennai: Having created a lot of buzz after becoming the only player to command million dollar in the last ILP auction, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell today expressed confidence about playing long innings in Tests.

"I think what I have done in Shield cricket has been good for the team. Whenever I have had a long time to bat, I`ve generally batted pretty well," Maxwell said at the open media session, two days ahead of the first Test against India here.

"I think nine half-centuries and a century in 13-14 matches, which is fine at this point in my career, because I mostly batted with the tail. When I started my career, I batted at seven or eight and soon as we lost the wickets, I was back with the ball.

"A lot of the time I was battling time when I was batting in the middle. I feel I`ve done well at this stage of my career. I`d love to have more hundreds but I don`t think I`ve had opportunities to score hundreds," he added.

The 24-year-old is happy to be part of the Test squad.

"It`s nice for Australia to earmark me as a Test player by giving me this opportunity and I hope I`ll do the right thing for them.

"It`s been quite easy for me (to switch formats). My game is probably more suited to Twenty20 cricket, but my one-day cricket and longer-form cricket is quite similar. I like to play my shots. I am a middle-order player, so my game is to play my shots and be positive.

"It`s not about hitting sixes every ball like in a one-day chase, but to be positive and do my job Australia, which is to be an attacking middle-order batsman."

Maxwell said he is focussed on the Test series and is not thinking much about the million-dollar tage he has earned.

"Haven`t really thought about it too much. With the Test series here, I`ve been trying to avoid thinking about it. Obviously the IPL is after this, and it`s a long way away. There are four Test matches that I really want to be a part of. So that`s my main goal at the moment.

"I feel flattered that they (the franchises) wanted me. A bit overwhelmed as well. I didn`t expect it."

Maxwell said he is mentally prepared for the allrounder`s role in Test XI.

"Definitely, I think I have had more than enough practice over the last week. I`ve been practicing for more than an hour everyday in humid conditions, facing upwards of 200 balls. I feel I have been batting really well. This is my fifth time in India so I feel I am very well prepared."

Maxwell is not bothered about being branded as the x-factor despite moderate success in T20 and ODI formats.

"I don`t really read the media too much, so a lot of people asking about it, but I don`t know what they are talking about.

"It doesn`t bother me too much. I see my job as... To do a job for Australia, and not to make massive hundreds and get massive hauls of wickets, but to take a wicket here or there and make an amazing stop in the field or get a good half-century when Australia needs it.

"My job as an allrounder in this side is to fill the hole and do the job Australia needs me to do."

Maxwell is confident of playing the Indian spinners on turning pitches.

"(I am) very confident. I`ve faced a lot of good spinners over the last year. I faced (Saeed) Ajmal and (Shahid) Afridi and (Mohammad) Hafeez in Dubai and I felt I played them well. I`ve played against Ashwin in Australia and he spun the ball a lot there and I am looking forward to playing him again.
"Also, playing the IPL last year, I was exposed to a number of good Indian spinners. I have had enough opportunities to play in Indian conditions so I think I have enough experience here for a guy who is only 24."

Asked about the duck in the warm-up match, he said, "It`s a shame I nicked one early. It happens and I don`t want to beat myself up for that one performance. I`ve done so much hard work over the last six months that it would be silly of me to be angry about one game where I nicked one.

"The batting coach is also pretty happy with how I am going, so I feel pretty good. Being around the Test group is an amazing experience. I have only been part of one Test, which was the Sydney Test. Just seeing the guys and seeing how they go about their work, I am learning every day.

"You`re only going to get better after an experience like this. Hopefully, it will lead me into England as well -? I hope to be part of the Ashes tour as well."

And why was he in such demand in the IPL auction, Maxwell said, "In the IPL, I suppose you look for players who can do everything. Allrounders are useful in many ways, and my spin bowling has come on a bit too in the last year or so.

"I didn`t have too many opportunities (at Delhi Daredevils) because we had so many great overseas players. I`m happy to have been picked up by Mumbai (Indians) and I hope there are some opportunities for me.

"Sachin, Ricky -? that`s a lot of good guys in the change room also. I`m really looking forward to that, but I have got bigger fish to fry at the moment with a Test series I really want to be a part of."

Maxwell said he is hoping to get Sachin Tendulkar out a few times in the Test series.

"It`ll be nice to bowl to Sachin in the Tests and, hopefully, get him a few times so I get some bragging rights when I play with him. I was lucky enough to bowl to him a few years ago when he came over and I was playing for the Chairman`s XI in Canberra.

"Bowling to him was an amazing experience. At that time I was developing as a spinner and he took me to the cleaners. Looking forward to getting my own back now that I have improved."

Asked if the IPL will help boost his career, Maxwell sounded positive.

"I look at it as another opportunity to play an amazing standard of cricket. I`m looking forward to being part of a successful Mumbai Indians team and that`s going to be the best thing for my career going forward.

"If I`m part of winning teams I`m going to look back at the end of my career and be very happy."

He said he does not lose his sleep thinking about batting and bowling averages, and money.

"That doesn`t bother me too much. I don`t care about money too much. I just want to play cricket and enjoy it. That`s why I haven`t thought of the million dollars too much and everyone else has been reminding me about it."

Maxwell said that he`s got a hang of the SG balls, which are used in India.

"I`m looking forward to that if I get my chance. I`m used to the SG balls now, so hopefully I`ll get a crack.

With the money he has earned through IPL, Maxwell said he will "buy a house straightaway", adding : "I need to get my money into some property back in Melbourne."

Maxwell is hoping that good performances in T20 would earn him a place in the squad for Ashes.

"I think any form is good form. Like the way Shaun Marsh has been picked over the last few years. He hasn`t probably done as well as he`d have liked in Australia but has done well in the IPL, which saw him picked, and he`s done well in the T20 side as well.

"He`s opened the batting in One Day cricket, so I think they take these performances in to account as well."

About the doping controversy in Australia, he said, "I think it`s a pretty big issue. I think it`s a mix up with the physios. I don`t think the payers would intentionally do that.

"I think it was a muck-up by the staff. I don`t think it had an impact on our sport. Most of our guys aren`t ripped except maybe Shane Watson or Mitchell Johnson. I think it`s been a backlash on the sporting staff and not the players."

PTI