'Big Show' on go-slow in Ashes bid
GLENN Maxwell doesn't want any kind of "X” next to his name. Only a big tick.
The much-maligned, albeit explosive, Victorian all-rounder has played down talk he is Australia's X-factor this Ashes series, starting with the first Test at the Gabba on November 23.
While he does want to stitch up a spot in the middle order, he wants do it with a measured approach, not the swashbuckling style fans have become used to from the "Big Show”.
"I'm not talking about the word 'X-factor' again,” Maxwell said.
"I think (selectors) made it pretty clear that they wanted the top six batters in the country and I want to put my hand up and be one of them.
"I have ability to score quickly at stages but I think the way I've been playing recently, I've been more concentrating on just playing good cricket shots and making sure that I'm there for a longer period of time.”
Maxwell made his first Test century batting at No.6 in India earlier this year.
He then came in at No.5 in Australia's last Test, against Bangladesh in Chittagong, with Hilton Cartwright following at six.
Having tightened his technique, he's been promoted to No.3 for the Bushrangers this season, and put his case forward with scores of 64 and 60 during their second-round draw with South Australia.
"I feel like I'm starting ahead of the pack because I played the last Test (in Bangladesh) and I think I was undefeated,” he said, referring to his scores of 38 and 25 not out.
"Even if it was in a different country, I feel like I batted quite well and I showed some really good signs.
"Hopefully that holds me in good stead.”
WA all-rounder Cartwright, meanwhile, made a pair of ducks against NSW, putting Jake Lehmann, with scores of 103 and 93 in the last Shield game for South Australia, right in the frame for No.5 or No.6.
Such talk was laughed off by one-time Test opener Ed Cowan.
"To have his name in the conversation I think is a bit ridiculous,” he told Fox Sports.
"He played well last week but his three first-class games before that I think he got to 20 once and it was 25.
"He got a hundred last week and a 90 but he wasn't the best player in the game. That was Callum Ferguson and he got 180 ... It was a good wicket.
"All of a sudden we have got this bat-off situation where if you get a hundred, you are in the Test team. It's crazy.
"He will play Test cricket at some stage. But now is not the time.”
Jackson Bird, meanwhile, appears to have beaten off the challengers for a place in Australia's first Test squad.
Bird, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will be rested from next week's Shield round and sent to Brisbane, where they will train as a unit at the National Cricket Centre.
NSW trio Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood are certain to be Australia's first Test attack, with Bird 12th man.
The resting of Australia's first-choice pace trio from NSW's Shield match against Queensland could be good news for Bulls Test aspirants Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja.
Leading runscorers in first two Shield games
Callum Ferguson 222 @ 74
Usman Khawaja 217 @ 72
Steve Smith 215 @ 53
Jake Lehmann 212 @ 53
Cameron Bancroft 197 @ 65
Shaun Marsh 167 @ 41
Aaron Finch 157 @ 39
Glenn Maxwell 151 @ 37