Be it his fastest World Cup hundred against the Netherlands or the single-handed - and one-legged - unbeaten double hundred against Afghanistan, Glenn Maxwell has been phenomenal with the bat right through the Men’s World Cup.
But his pyrotechnics with the willow have kind of overshadowed his effective and economical off-spin. In fact, Maxwell has easily been the standout allrounder in the World Cup so far.
He has bowled in the Powerplay, has tightened the noose in the middle and at times has even been used at the death. Still, Maxwell is one of only seven spinners who have conceded less than five runs an over despite bowling 50 overs in the World Cup so far.
Australia’s assistant coach Daniel Vettori - a legendary spinner himself - gave all the credit to Maxwell for his effort with the ball.
“He is a very willing bowler and sometimes that can be the hardest part of being an all-rounder, that even though you do have the skills, the desire is not always there. And Maxi, he loves bowling. And he loves the strategy that goes into it, probably like with his batting,” Vettori said on Friday.
“You see a bowler that’s evolved over the last few years. He has been able to, in particular, start to bowl over the wicket to right-handers, which sort of went out of fashion for a period of time, and I think it’s his ability to almost get near topspin, challenge the stumps the whole time from round and over the wicket.”
In an era when match-ups overrule skills, most captains tend to avoid bowling offspinners against right-handers. And when they have to, most spinners tend to be defensive, preferring around the wicket line to curb the flow or runs.
“Particularly in the Powerplay, going over the wicket and being able to either skid it on or spin it back into the right-handed batsman hasbeen his biggest improvement. It meant that he can bowl at any stage of the innings. And even Patty captain [Pat Cummins] has the confidence to turn to him in the 46th or 47th over the other day to two right-handed batters,” Vettori said.
“He is an extremely confident bowler because of all the work he puts in and how skilful and intelligent he is around his bowling.”
To help him recover fully after the onslaught at the Wankhede Stadium, Maxwell may be rested on Saturday against Bangladesh. But Australia will be hoping for him to turn up with all his tricks, including bowling, during Thursday’s semifinal against South Africa.
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- Indian sports news wrap, November 10