CRICKET: Playing park cricket, pressure-free apart from helping his team win, turned moody Glenn Maxwell into happy Maxy - and a ticket to India is his reward.
Maxwell credited a pre-Christmas return to club cricket with Fitzroy-Doncaster, after he was overlooked for three one-day internationals against New Zealand, as the pivotal move in rediscovering his love for the game.
The enigmatic all-rounder had been headline material following a public dressing-down from Aussie skipper Steve Smith for "disrespectful” comments about national teammate, and Victorian captain, Matthew Wade.
That was before the series against New Zealand, where Maxwell was the only member of the squad not to play a game.
His standing had already been in question after missing selection in Victoria's opening Sheffield Shield game of the season, when Test spots for the summer were opening up.
But after his recall to the Test squad for the tour of India ahead of Travis Head, with a likely insertion as the new No.6 batsman on the cards, Maxwell said time with family and friends helped him reflect on his place in the game, and his resultant positive attitude had paid dividends.
"It has been (a big summer) but I have had so much time to sit down and reflect and spend some time with family and when you get that time away, away from the spotlight, you think about what you need to work on, think about where you want to be,” Maxwell said on Sunday.
"I was really at peace for a while there and happy with the way my game was going. Instead of putting so much pressure on myself I tried to go out there and enjoy it a little bit more.
"You can get caught up in results a lot as a cricketer and that can drive your mood a lot of the time. I tried to take that out of it and found that I was going out there and enjoying it.
"And the time I spent back at Fitzroy-Doncaster was probably perfect timing. I got to go back with my mates and play relaxed, park cricket.
"To be out there, take the pressure off myself, and enjoy the game, which is why we play, we love it, and to re-ignite that love by playing park cricket was perfect timing.
"And since then I have tried to look at it a bit more positively and try not worry about results so much.”
Maxwell said he had also made some "technical and mental' changes during this summer, which he believed came through in his classy knock of 60 in the opening one-day international against Pakistan last Friday.
His tail is now up but Maxwell, picked because for India because chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said he was "very experienced in Indian conditions”, said nailing down a Test spot was his goal.
Maxwell last wore the baggy green against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2014, the most recent of his three Tests, making 37 and four as the Aussies were smashed.
He conceded he missed an opportunity there to cement his place in the Test team, and doesn't want to miss out again.
"I let some good opportunities slip,” he said.
"I was hoping for a long time that wasn't going to be my last test and I am so happy be back in this fold.”
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