Maxwell’s man-of-the-match innings in Dubai on Friday was masterful in that he steadied sensibly after a collapse of 4-45 then teed off in trademark funky fashion during the final 10 overs.
«The challenge for him — and I’ve said this to him — is we’ve just seen Virat Kohli, who is an extraordinarily talented player. He averages 60 in ODI cricket,» Australia coach Langer said.
«In 99 games, Maxi averages 32 or 33. He can be Virat Kohli. He has got the talent to do that.
«It’s obviously a massive challenge, isn’t it?
«His next challenge is to become a great ODI player and then potentially a Test player, so there’s huge upside.»
Maxwell’s ODI strike-rate of 120.58 is the highest in history apart from Andre Russell.
The 30-year-old is expected to be stationed at No.6 during the World Cup but is likely to come in higher when the state of play dictates it’s a good idea.
«He’s such an important part of our team. He brings energy to everything that he does — whether it’s fielding, running between wickets, his strike-rate,» Langer said.
«He’s getting better with his bowling all the time.»
Langer was full of praise for Maxwell’s responsible innings, suggesting the Victorian had been «practising with real purpose».
«He’s getting the rewards for that. It’s great to see,» he said.
«We all see it and everyone talks about it, he’s got a huge amount of talent. His challenge has always been to deliver on that talent and he’s done it in patches.»
Maxwell is yet to be included in a Test squad that Langer has helped select.
It was a question about the polarising batsman in January that prompted one of Langer’s most animated public displays of emotion since becoming coach.
The mentor had a terse exchange with a journalist during a press conference regarding an alleged Cricket Australia directive, bemoaned «careless whispers» then later apologised for being grumpy.