Well, minimum returns from Max!

Glenn Maxwell now finds himself out of the Australian one-day team after his dismal failures in the West Indies. He tried to hit the first ball he faced out of the park and failed, and the Aussie selectors, who don’t go by reputations, were quick to show him the door.

Glenn Maxwell is a fine cricketer and an entertainer, but he has to fine tune his attitude if he is to get back into the Aussie team.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Cricket is a great leveller. The moment a player starts to think that he has made it and cannot do anything wrong is when the game starts to bite back. And the slide begins for the player. The good ones are those who learn quickly from that and begin to make the climb back. Then, when they do get back to the top they are humbler for the experience and much better as cricketers as well as human beings. But those who keep lamenting their luck or keep blaming everybody and everything else rather than their own selves, tend to fall by the wayside very soon.

Having said this, I am a firm believer that success should be enjoyed. After all that is what you strive for as a player. You put in the hard work and make sacrifices so that when success comes, it can be savoured.

The caveat is that while doing so, you should not forget the rigorous methods of practice, for that is invariably the key to your success. It is when the factors that got you the success are forgotten that the tumble starts. The instances of players doing well in their first season, but fading out in the second and thereafter from the game are innumerable. But those who come back in the third season with renewed effort begin to taste success again. And they are the ones who have a long career in the sport.

Glenn Maxwell has been called “the big show” by the Australian media ever since he came into prominence as a cricketer. He scored a terrific century in a one-day game against the West Indies and this got him a huge contract in the Indian Premier League. He, however, did precious little for his franchise, perhaps thinking that the game was easy. And because of the failures, he was not retained.

He did come back to play a Test in India, but again was found short of the cricketing discipline and skillset needed to do well in the longer format of the game. But he was doing well in the shorter form of the game, which is pretty forgiving since careless shots are attributed to carefree batting. This is because the shorter format requires the batsmen to get a move on.

Last year, Maxwell even had the temerity to suggest that the Indians play for individual records. While he didn’t quite point a finger at Virat Kohli, it was clear that the then Indian vice-captain was his target since he had scored a century. Maxwell had mentioned that Indian batsmen tend to slow down when they near a century and play more dot balls rather than keep scoring at a quicker rate to help their team put more runs on the board. Statistics did not prove him right, but, of course, that hardly matters when the intention is to rile the opposition. Unfortunately, nobody from the Indian contingent that covered the tour brought this up and in any case if he was looking to ruffle Kohli he was taking on the wrong person. Kohli kept getting runs and giving the Aussies a stiff run chase.

Maxwell’s comments were strange, not because they were statistically wrong, but also because in the same series he showed a selfish streak himself when his team need just one run to win. He was batting on 95 and instead of simply pushing the ball away for the winning run he went for a big shot that would get him to his century. This, actually, cost him his wicket. Of course, he found the excuse that he knows only one way to play and in trying to do so he got out. That wicket meant that the Australians had two new batsmen at the crease with not too many wickets in hand. And the game could have gone India’s way.

The Aussies, however, do not subject themselves to the same set of queries that they ask of the others. This can be seen from the fact that Maxwell had nothing to say when in the last one-day series in the West Indies, Usman Khawaja took his own sweet time in the 90s looking to get to his hundred and was eventually run-out going for a non-existent second run. It’s much the same with their obnoxious practice of verbals. They hardly ever say anything to fellow Aussies in the IPL or other leagues, while having loads to taunt the non-Aussies.

Maxwell now finds himself out of the Australian one-day team too, after his dismal failures in the West Indies. He tried to hit the first ball he faced out of the park and failed, and the Aussie selectors, who don’t go by reputations, were quick to show him the door. More than Maxwell’s failures, it must have been the ‘couldn’t care a damn’ attitude that would have riled the Aussie selectors. The season is still young and it’s now up to Maxwell to show that he has the desire to fight back and get back to the international arena. Make no mistake he is a fine cricketer and a great entertainer when he is on song. But even the great singers know that without practice and rehearsal they can only come out with a croak.