Big Show goes on as Maxi survives the chop!
AUSTRALIA have veered at the last second, performing a sensational U-turn on their bold plan to dump Glenn Maxwell for Thursday night's semi-final against England.
It can be revealed coach Justin Langer discussed axing Maxwell just moments 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, but starting late call-up Matthew Wade hinged on Australia leaving out Maxwell.
While early indications were that Langer had run out of patience with Maxwell because of his recent inability to cope with short balls, it is believed the coach has decided to grant the Victorian an extra life.
Captain Aaron Finch refused on Wednesday night to reveal the starting Australian XI.
"Maxi's someone who probably 50 per cent of the time comes down to optional sessions," Finch said.
"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 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 matches.
While Langer has been left frustrated by Maxwell's weakness against short balls, there is now a feeling 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.
"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 even Wade.
Aaron Finch (c)