Australian cricket coach Justin Langer has strongly denied speculation selectors have an underlying issue with batting superstar Glenn Maxwell's personality and engaged in a terse exchange with a reporter on Wednesday.
Langer shot down rumours there were other forces at play behind the Victorian batsman being overlooked for the upcoming two-test series against Sri Lanka, echoing the sentiment of chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.
"Glenn is crystal clear from me and the selectors on what he needs to do to get back in the test team," Langer said.
"There have been some reports about personality — it is literally false.
"It's not true. All the conjecture about it — that's all part of the noise."
Aside from the rumours Maxwell's personality is the reason he's been denied the opportunity to add to his seven test caps, there has also been speculation about mixed messages coming from the selectors and Cricket Australia (CA).
It's been reported Maxwell wanted to play county cricket in England during the 2018 Australian winter to gain experience against the red ball — but was allegedly blocked by Cricket Australia powerbrokers who wanted him to rest for an Australia A tour of India in August and September.
However, when Maxwell wasn't selected for that A tour, it was seen by many he was guaranteed a seat on the plane to the UAE for the two-test series against Pakistan.
Some saw it as a sign selectors already knew enough about his ability to perform on the subcontinent — having scored his maiden test ton in India in 2017 — and he didn't need to prove anything else to win a spot on the UAE tour.
It then came as a shock when he was overlooked for the Pakistan series.
"I had a few offers to play county cricket in England and they were initially knocked back with an opportunity to go and play in India in the A series," Maxwell said at the time.
"To get told not to play in the A series and have a rest, and I was understanding of that and their reasoning behind that … I was hoping that was a positive note to go to Dubai. But obviously, that wasn't the case."
Asked back then if he felt misled, Maxwell said: "Maybe a little bit. I feel like there were other guys who were able to get a full off-season of cricket into them and hit the A series up and running or be able to put their names forward."
However, at his press conference, Langer challenged the notion any of that was true, making reference to "careless whispers" when he was quizzed by a reporter.
"Are you certain that's what happened? Are you certain that's what happened?" a frosty Langer said when asked about Maxwell getting told not to play country cricket.
"Did it happen? You're telling me it did happen — did it happen? I'm asking, did it happen?
"I've got zero knowledge of that.
"Careless whispers, aye?"
It was then Langer cooled down a touch, saying "sorry" four times in 20 seconds before making a prophetic statement about the "truth".
"Sorry for getting grumpy, too. I don't like getting grumpy but there's so many stories that go around about so much stuff," Langer said.
"Sorry, sorry everyone for getting grumpy, I didn't mean to get grumpy.
"But the truth is a beautiful thing."
Langer then went on to apologise a final time before taking another question that was cut off part of the way through, saying: "Sorry, what are we talking about?"
Langer was appointed the new Australian coach in May, which was after Maxwell was reportedly told to abandon his country plans, so he may not be aware of every detail of the 30-year-old's situation.