Early last year, Australia dropped Glenn Maxwell from its one-day squad. “He could train a little bit smarter,” Steve Smith, who was captain, said at the time. He needed to keep "his head switched on," Smith added, and focus less on "all his funky stuff."
Even if he meant well, they were rather strong comments to make in public about a teammate. Maxwell later admitted Smith's remarks were "probably justified" in the context of one-day cricket, where he lacked consistency. Some fourteen months later, as Australia looks to firm up its World Cup side, it would be difficult to imagine one without Maxwell.
The maverick batsman was in sensational touch at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, where his unbeaten 113 led Australia to a maiden T20I series win on Indian soil .
There were slog sweeps, conventional cover drives, and those remarkable bottom-handed hockey-style scoops that he plays so well. There was a reverse-swept six off Yuzvendra Chahal too, and at no point during any of this did he appear not in control.
"We all know what a strong player Maxwell is," K.L. Rahul said afterwards. "He can play all around the park and it was a special knock from him. If he carries on the same way into the ODIs, we will have to figure a way to get him out."
Confident of carrying momentum into ODIs
Maxwell was confident he could carry this form into the ODIs. "I don’t think there’s any reason why I can’t," he said.
"It's about picking your moments. Like today, I don’t think I took too many ridiculous risks and I read the game really well and was able to hit the ball in areas where the fielders weren’t at all. There are not many times I hit the ball straight over a fielder’s head but just place it in the gap."
In his last ODI series, against India in Australia last month, Maxwell batted at number seven. It has been argued, and not without reason, that a player with his ball-striking abilities should be promoted.
Would he like to bat higher up the order, Maxwell was asked. "In my case tonight, I still had 15 overs (16) to bat when I came out. I was able to get a hundred, so even if I'm doing that at No.7 or No.6 it doesn't really matter. It would be nice to bat higher, but there's a lot of good players in our top four and five that thoroughly deserve their spot. If the opportunity does come up, I’d like to take it," he said.
Maxwell attributed his good form to familiarity with his role in the side. "The fact that we’ve played a lot of Big Bash heading into this, I’m familiar with my role... obviously been playing at two-down the last 12 months. It’s a consistent role for me. With that consistency in the role, you get consistency in performances," he said.
Maxwell will now hope he gets a consistent run in the one-day side; it is as much as he deserves.
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