‘It’s nice of Australia to earmark me as a Test player’

Glenn Maxwell talks about his IPL jackpot, his passion for golf and all that in a pre-series media interaction in Chennai.

Glenn Maxwell seems quite the cheery sort who’s up for a few laughs and small talk with journalists after the formal media engagements are completed. The 24-year-old Victorian, who commanded the highest bid of $1 million at the IPL auction, is soaking up all the attention that’s coming his way. He enquires fondly about Ambati Rayudu, his soon-to-be colleague at Mumbai Indians. “I met him during the Emerging Players tournament a couple of years ago. He’s a lovely bloke and a terrific player,” says the off-spinning all-rounder, who’s nicknamed ‘The Big Show.’

Maxwell, while elated at having hit pay dirt with the IPL contract, wants to focus on the ongoing Test series against India. He also speaks about his admiration for Tiger Woods, the challenge of adapting to different formats, and how he would spend the IPL money.

Excerpts from a pre-series interaction in Chennai:

Question: Having been selected as an all-rounder in the Australian squad, does the ensuing expectation put pressure on you?

Answer: I don’t really read a lot of what’s written in the media so it doesn’t really bother me. My job as an all-rounder is to do the job that Australia needs me to do and hopefully I’ll be part of a successful team, which means I’m doing my job right.

How would you rate your batting in the longer format?

I think the stuff I’ve done in (Sheffield) Shield cricket has been good. I’ve got 9 (8) half-centuries and a hundred in 13-14 (16) matches, which isn’t a bad start especially when you’re batting with the tail most of the time at No.7 or 8. I’d love a few more hundreds but I don’t think I’ve had the opportunities. It’s nice of Australia to earmark me as a Test player by giving me this opportunity, so hopefully I can do well.

How does it feel to have an IPL team pay a million dollars for your services?

I haven’t really thought about it. I have been trying to avoid it with the Test series on. Obviously the IPL is straight after this but it’s still a long way away. I feel flattered that sides wanted me. A bit overwhelmed as well, because I wasn’t expecting it. It was a surprise and I’m very grateful.

Can you put a finger on why you were in such demand at the auction?

I suppose because sides are looking for players who can do a bit of everything. My spin bowling has come on a fair bit over the last year or so and playing with Delhi Daredevils helped a bit. I didn’t get many opportunities (there) because we had so many world-class players. I’m very happy to be picked up by Mumbai and I hope there are some opportunities to get a game.

Looking forward to sharing the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting?

I’m really looking forward to being a part of the side, but right now I’ve got bigger fish to fry with the Test series.

How do you intend to spend the money?

I do drive a shocking car but my dad is in the process of selling it right now. I’m going to buy a house straight away. I need to get my money into some property in Melbourne. It’s a new phase in my life. I don’t think I’ll be buying a new car. I’ll probably borrow my girlfriend’s.

Is it difficult dealing with the attention?

I must be a bit naive because I haven’t noticed it yet. It’s a new experience and I’m sure it won’t bother me too much.

How significant is the IPL to your career?

I look at it as another opportunity to play an amazing standard of cricket. I’m looking forward to being part of a successful Mumbai Indians team and that’s going to be the best thing for my career going forward.

Aren’t you bothered about working on your averages to help increase your market value?

I don’t care about money too much. I just want to play cricket and enjoy it. That’s why I haven’t thought of the million dollars too much and everyone else has been reminding me about it. If I get picked up next time, it’s good. If not, I’ll have two months off for playing golf.

Will T20 performances help you make it to the team for The Ashes?

I think any form is good form. Like the way Shaun Marsh has been picked over the last few years. He hasn’t probably done as well as he’d have liked in Australia, but has done well in the IPL which saw him picked and he’s done well in the Australian T20 side. So I think they (selectors) take these performances into account as well. That’s a good thing for me.

How difficult is it to adapt to different formats?

For me, it’s generally pretty easy. My game has to change more for T20 cricket. My game in One-Day cricket and the longer format is quite similar. I am measured in my approach but I will still try to do my job as an attacking middle-order batsman.

Your thoughts on the doping controversy that’s affected rugby and Australian Rules football back home?

It’s a pretty big issue in Australia. I think it’s a mix-up with the physios, a muck-up by the staff. I don’t think the players would intentionally do that. It didn’t have an impact on cricket.

Who’s your favourite non-cricketing sportsman? How do you unwind?

I love golf and I love watching Tiger Woods. He’s had his controversies but he’s an amazing sportsperson. I like to get outdoors. I’m not really a surfer dude; I’m more of a country boy.