David Saker, Australia’s stand-in coach, defended the decision to axe Glenn Maxwell for the fourth ODI stating the latter is going through a bad run of form, which didn’t augur well for his selection. Saker has also heaped praise on Adam Zampa's "aggressive" mindset and wicket-taking prowess.
Australia had only pride to play for in the fourth ODI in Bengaluru as they had already lost the series after the conclusion of the first three games. However, riding on a David Warner century and some precise death bowling by their pacers, they pulled one back from India to show some signs of competitiveness in the series. For the match, Australia decided to jettison Maxwell from the squad, who had scores of 39, 14 and 5 in his previous outings. The decision triggered criticism as former batsman Brad Hodge questioning the move to bench Maxwell on Twitter. However, Saker defended the decision stating his non-performance as the main reason.
“We were looking for people to perform, and in his last 20 games, he (Maxwell) probably hasn’t done that for us. In his position, the way he plays, he’s a big match-winner. But it’s been a while he’s done that for us, especially in any consistent form,” said Saker after Australia’s 21-run win at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, reported Cricbuzz.
In 80 ODIs for Australia, Maxwell has 2035 runs at an average of 32.30 and crossed past fifty-run mark only two times in his last 21 matches before being dropped. And it wasn’t only Maxwell, who took a back seat during the series, as Australia had dropped wicketkeeper Matthew Wade for the third ODI in Indore before bringing him back in Bengaluru in place of Maxwell. Saker provided a similar reason for his snub as well.
"We really wanted Wade to keep through the series but we made that change the game before but Mattsy [Wade] just has to get some numbers to justify getting picked," said Saker.
Adam Zampa was taken to cleaners by Hardik Pandya in the first ODI in Chennai and lost his place in the team after that. However, the leg-spinner who got back his place in the playing XI after Ashton Agar injured a finger and had to fly back home. Saker also justified Agar’s better control over the game that had helped him the edge over Zampa in the previous two matches while hailing the leggie’s aggressive mindset.
“We just thought we needed a bit of a change because when we picked Ashton we thought Ashton can control the game a little bit better than Adam. But Zamps is a really good wicket-taker and quite an aggressive bowler. We thought we wanted someone a little bit more defensive. He came in today and bowled some really good balls and good stuff for us. Against (Hardik) Pandya, who is a dangerous hitter, if you get it a little bit wrong, he hits you out of the park. It’s a learning curve for him, and for all of us bowling to him. He is a very good talent and he particularly likes to play against spin, by the looks of it,” Saker explained.
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