The moment Maxwell ran out of World Cup lives
MATTTHEW Wade's remarkable redemption story was on a knife's edge on Wednesday night as Australia reconsidered its bold plan to dump Glenn Maxwell for Thursday night's semi-final against England.
It can be revealed coach Justin Langer first discussed axing Glenn Maxwell hours after Sunday's 10-run loss to South Africa, which cost Australia top spot on the World Cup ladder.
Usman Khawaja's hamstring injury opened the door for Victorian Peter Handscomb to make his cup debut, and Wade's inclusion hinged on Langer pulling the trigger on Maxwell.
Maxwell skipped optional training session as Langer and captain Aaron Finch refused to guarantee his place in the XI.
"Maxi's someone who probably 50 per cent of the time comes down to optional sessions," Finch said on Wednesday night.
"Most of the bowlers aren't here, Davey's (Warner) not here - you're reading too much into that. We'll name our side at the toss."
Wade, 31, has not played international cricket since 2017 and was told by selectors he had to bat higher in Tasmania's order last summer to be considered for a Test recall.
But after constant snubs, the clean striker was summoned to Birmingham from Australia A duties on Sunday and has trained with the cup squad every day this week.
At 7.41pm on Wednesday night paperwork was lodged with the ICC to officially bring Wade into the 15-man World Cup squad.
Maxwell is averaging 22.1 runs and has faced only 95 balls in nine games.
While Langer has been left frustrated by Maxwell's weakness against short balls, there was a feeling last night that he would still get the nod.
"He is the sort of guy we all know can click and win you a World Cup semi-final," former Test captain Mark Taylor said.
Langer said Wade was "in career-best form" after making 355 runs in four one-day games for Australia A, at a strike-rate of 182, albeit against pop-gun county attacks.
"He's a like-for-like replacement for a No.3 or 4 who can score hundreds," Langer said.
"He's played a lot of international cricket and he's a real seasoned pro," Langer said.
"He's had an unbelievable 12 months in domestic cricket, he's had an unbelievable few games for Australia A, he's confident, he's had a little baby, so he's pretty happy with life."
If Wade plays then Smith will bat at No.4 and Handscomb at No.5. If Maxwell plays then Smith will bat at No.3 and Handscomb at No.4.
Finch said Wade belonged only in the top order, a hint he could only replace Khawaja at No.3.
Smith's brilliance at No.3 at the 2015 World Cup has given selectors confidence he could also play there.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey is likely to be promoted to No.6, above all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who will play with two side strains after bowling at full pace at Australia's main session.
Without Maxwell's off-spin, Australia would need 10 overs out of Stoinis, Finch, Smith and possibly Wade.
AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch (C), David Warner, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Patrick Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon
ENGLAND: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood