Glenn Maxwell has not given up hope of a late Ashes call-up, but knows he must have a standout World Cup campaign in order to force the Australia selectors’ hands.
Maxwell is one of Lancashire’s four contracted overseas players for 2019 – all of whom are Australians – and spent the opening month of the summer at Emirates Old Trafford before leaving for international duty.
He was replaced by Jake Lehmann for one-day cricket, then Joe Burns, who returned to Australia due to personal reasons having debuted in the Specsavers County Championship win over Northamptonshire at Emirates Old Trafford last week.
That meant Lehmann had to be brought back from a spell of Surrey club cricket to play in this week’s win over Worcestershire, Lancashire’s third win on the bounce to go top of Division Two.
Lehmann will remain with Lancashire, with Maxwell returning after the World Cup to play in the Vitality Blast, when he will be joined by close mate James Faulkner.
Maxwell is also due to play in the late season Championship matches – as long as he is not picked for the Ashes to play his first Test since September 2017.
“You never know. It’s happened for players before,” he said of potential Ashes selection.
“I’ve certainly not given up hope, but it’s not at the forefront of my mind. There’s bigger fish to fry with the World Cup, and if I’m not successful in that competition you can probably say that I won’t be there.
“I need to concentrate on that. If selection does come my way, great.”
Maxwell is in a confident mood ahead of the World Cup, which starts next Thursday, both personally and from a team point of view.
Australia have won their past eight one-day internationals, away from home against India and Pakistan through March, with the 30-year-old scoring 71, 98 and 70 in his past three innings.
For Lancashire, he reached 20 in each of his five innings in the Royal London One-Day Cup last month without passing 35.
“I said all along that I would be preparing for the World Cup whilst with Lancashire and getting my game up to scratch, and I feel like I’ve made some really good strides,” he said.
“I feel comfortable in English conditions with my technique.
“If you go back 12 months and we lost 6-0 to England, things weren’t exactly looking at the top of the world at that stage. But we’ve made great strides in one-day cricket since.
“We’ve changed a bunch of things about how we play the game and play for each other, and that’s been really evident in the last eight one-dayers that we’ve won in Asia.
“It’s been a really gradual transformation. Even though the results didn’t go our way at home in Australia in our summer, it felt like we were been building towards some good results.
“With the World Cup, it’s about peaking at the right time. Hopefully after the World Cup, we can take some consistent winning form into the Ashes. If you breed a winning culture in whatever format, it can only bring success.
“We’ve won four out of the last five World Cups, and there’s a lot of pride as a nation in that. There’s a lot of expectation.
“Even though we’re not favourites this time around, there’s still a lot of expectation from the fans.”
Australia face England in a World Cup warm-up game on Saturday, and Maxwell added: “It’s going to be an amazing year for English cricket to have both the World Cup and the Ashes. Hopefully Australia comes out on top in both.
“Australian cricket is going in the right direction, so it’s going to be exciting for us.
“Hopefully we can put the cat amongst the pigeons with the Poms!”
Lancashire’s next Championship match is against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham, starting on Monday.