BEHIND THE SPORTS DESK: Second coming of the Big Show?
CRICKET: After he delivered a historic limited overs series win with the bat for Australia, Glenn Maxwell has cemented himself as a shining light on the international scene.
Maxwell was destructive with the willow in the second T20 international against India in Bangalore, smashing an unbeaten 113 off 55 balls to deliver an emphatic seven-wicket win.
Maxwell's third T20 international century capped off a stellar series which also included a 43-ball half century in the first match, which was also a win-defining knock.
But the career defining effort from the Big Show has raised the question, is he a limited overs specialist, or do the Baggy Greens need him in the Ashes tests?
MOOSE ELKERTON: Maxwell to lead into brave new future
WHEN it comes to Glenn Maxwell, I want him focused on the future, rather than staring into the past.
The all-rounder is a limited overs master, and while there is probably a case to say he should be able to showhis Test ability, it is too far gone.
And Test cricket is not the be all and end all it once was.
T20 cricket is the way forward for cricket, it is the brand that the kids are buying into, and I want the 'Big Show' leading Australia into this brave new world of cricket.
Maxwell proved his ability with a dominant display to help Australia across the line in their two-match T20 series against India this week.
His 113 not out to guide Australia to a seven-wicket win on Wednesday was one of the best displays of short-form batting I have ever seen.
He is also a thinking cricketer, and his knowledge of how to play in the T20 format is invaluable to Australian cricket.
While he appeared on the outer of Australian cricket last year, his performance on the sub-continent has been the shot in the arm we needed as a nation leading into the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.
While at one stage we appeared long odds to win our fifth title in the past six tournaments, we would now be among the favourites and that is thanks to Maxwell.
He holds the key to our success at the World Cup and I think he is a bona fide future captain of the team.
I definitely don't want some belated Test call-up getting in the way of that.
BILL 'NORTHY' NORTH: Maxi is Test squad's missing spark
GLENN Maxwell's demolition of India on Wednesday night was yet another example of his undeniable wealth of talent which has gone under-exploited in longer forms of the game.
Like Dave Warner, the "Big Show" was once pigeon-holed as a short-form specialist; too erratic and lacking the mental toughness to survive five gruelling days of cricket.
But on the contrary, Maxwell, who is now 30, has matured into one of the most brilliant cricket brains in the country, understands himself as a player and person, and has the technical ability to bat for a long time.
With Smith and Warner out of the equation, we saw a succession top order bats given the opportunity to vie to for permanent spots this summer.
But not Maxwell.
One of those carted into the side - and out again - was Aaron Finch, who as Australia ODI and Melbourne Renegades captain is Maxwell's match in the white ball formats, but who has genuinely struggled to prove himself for Victoria at shield level.
We quickly found out Finch should stick to being an expert in the shorter formats and his overall form probably suffered as a result. But I wouldn't put Maxwell in the same boat. I firmly believe he was the missing link in the middle order against India, particularly in the final Test at Sydney where he should have been recalled.
Australia lacked the ability to dominate the bowlers; to throw them off their line and force them to try something different.
Throw in the fact Maxwell is a brilliant fielder and possesses the smarts to be a useful second spin option, it was an opportunity missed for Australia.
Maxwell has not played a Test for Australia since he hit the winning runs with a six in the 2nd Test at Bangladesh in September, 2017. In the meantime he has scored a memorable double century for Victoria, led Melbourne Stars with aplomb, done everything possible with limited opportunities down the order for Australia in ODIs, and most recently won Australia a T20 series in India. Yet he still can't get his hands back on the baggy green.
Put questions about personality differences aside - a lot of douchebags have played for Australia and it seems one is about to have the red carpet blindly rolled out for his return - Maxwell should be in the team. And there is still hope for the Big Show. Here's two reasons why:
Firstly, Maxwell himself has pointed out current scheduling of white ball cricket has starved him of opportunities to prove himself with the red ball this season, in which he will have played a total of two Sheffield Shield matches. For that reason he has signed with county side Lancashire to play both formats with an eye squarely on not only preparing for the World Cup in English conditions, but the Ashes as well.
Secondly, Maxwell already has seven Tests to his name. Mike Hussey was 30 when he debuted for Australia in Test cricket. He went on to play 79 matches, scoring 6235 runs at 51.52 and firmly entrenched his name as one of the great Test batsmen.