Australia coach Justin Langer has challenged what he labels "careless whispers" around an assertion an unnamed member of Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel provided messaging to Glenn Maxwell prior to Australia A’s tour of India last year that led to the allrounder opting not to pursue an opportunity to play county cricket.
Maxwell said in September he felt "a little bit" misled after being overlooked for the two-Test series in the UAE against Pakistan having knocked back a county cricket offer and missed the Australia A tour of India to remain fresh.
When asked on Wednesday around whether information given to Maxwell by selectors thwarted his chances of taking up a county deal, Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns said: "I’m not sure what the instruction was or who it came from but players are free to make up their own decisions on what they go and play."
"Glenn has chosen to go and play county cricket again this year and a lot of that is one-day cricket leading up to the World Cup.
"He has also chosen not to put his name in for the IPL so that’s all credit to him for doing that.
"He is genuinely trying to improve himself and give himself the best possible opportunity to have some practice in England leading into the Ashes if he is chosen leading into the World Cup. Full credit to him for that."
It’s understood that while there was messaging provided by CA’s team performance unit in April last year - prior to Langer’s appointment - that Maxwell should prepare himself for white-ball tours in England and Zimbabwe, along with the A tour of India, to give himself the best chance of selection on the UAE Test tour that it was not a selector that provided this communication. This formed part of regular player development plans that are completed and updated for each national contracted player.
When Maxwell was subsequently left out of the Australia A squad it was explained to him by the selection panel they opted not to send him to India because they were aware of his body of work in the sub-continent and wanted to see what other players with less exposure to the conditions could achieve there.
Maxwell also never formally requested a No Objection Clause from Cricket Australia to take up a county offer.
After sharing a forthright exchange with the reporter who raised the topic on Thursday, Langer maintained he had "zero knowledge" of any directive given to Maxwell by selectors last year that led to him not taking up a county offer.
"Are you certain that happened?" Langer said.
"I'm asking, did it happen? I've got zero knowledge of that ... careless whispers, eh?
"Sorry for getting grumpy. I don't like getting grumpy but there's so many stories that go around about so much stuff.
"The truth is a beautiful thing."
Earlier in the same media conference, Langer had addressed Maxwell's omission from the Test squad to face Sri Lanka and the "false" reports about the right-hander's personality as a contributing factor to his selection chances, reinforcing the message Hohns delivered on Wednesday.
"Glenn is crystal clear from me and the selectors what he needs to do to get back in the Test team," Langer said.
"He's crystal clear and … he's shown he is brilliant around the group in white-ball cricket.
"There's been some reports about personality. It is literally false. It's not true.
"He's crystal clear what he has to do and that's important that he knows that and I know that as the coach and one of the selectors.
"All the conjecture about it, that's all part of the noise. Glenn knows exactly what he has to do."
Maxwell says a lack of first-class cricket is what has hurt his chances of playing Test cricket and is why he signed a County cricket deal with Lancashire this season that will see him play one four-day match before six one-day games.
While the 50-over World Cup is the priority for Maxwell in the selectors' eyes, the 30-year-old says he hasn't given up hope of playing Test cricket in the Ashes.
"I've certainly made it clear that I wouldn't have gone to England this year if I wasn't still trying to play Test cricket," Maxwell said on the latest episode of The Unplayable Podcast.
"There's a big thought from my side that I'm not getting enough first-class cricket in Australia and that's probably shown by this summer – I'm only going to play two Shield games for the whole season.
"And when you play more white-ball trying to get ready for that World Cup it's going to hurt your chances of pushing forward your Test selections.
"So, I've taken it out of their hands and signed with a County early so at least I can give myself some sort of red-ball cricket and some sort of longer-form experience, because for a player who's played as long as I have I certainly haven't played the amount of first-class cricket as everyone else has.
"Let's just hope I can make enough runs in the one-day format, wherever I'm batting, and it's good enough to show them I have the technique and temperament to play Test cricket.
"Because I feel like I'm doing everything I can and I'm trying to make all the right moves off the field by getting red-ball cricket elsewhere and showing I'm 100 per cent serious."
Gillette ODI Series v India
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa
India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
First ODI: January 12, SCG (D/N)
Second ODI: January 15, Adelaide Oval (D/N)
Third ODI: January 18, MCG (D/N)