Glenn Maxwell, returning from mental health issues, wasn't picked in Australia's ODI team for the upcoming tour of India which comprises three ODI matches. The swashbuckling all-rounder had an underwhelming World Cup in the fifty-overs format in England last year, making 177 runs in 10 matches at an average of 22.12. He went wicketless with the ball too.
Maxwell was subsequently dropped from the ODI side although he went on to play a few T20Is in Australia before mental health issues struck him down. He was ignored for the Indian tour with Australia preferring 2019's highest Test run-scorer, Marnus Labuschagne, in the ODI setup. With Steven Smith, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Alex Carey available in the middle-order, Maxwell was deemed surplus to requirements.
However, the blistering middle-order batsman has been in stunning form in the Big Bash League in Australia for the Melbourne Stars. Maxwell is the second-highest run-scorer with 311 runs in 8 matches at an average of 77.75. He has also struck runs at a deadly rate of 169.95, the best for any batsman with 200 runs in the season.
With a whopping 18 maximums so far, Maxwell leads the six-hitting chart too. Maxwell credited the mental health break he took recently for his exceptional hitting in the Big Bash. On Friday, he marshalled a run-chase of 169 against Melbourne Renegades with a calculated assault that confirmed how Australia might miss him in this ODI series in India, particularly given his efficiency against spinners in the middle overs.
He was on 34 off 29 balls at one point, happily leaving close to 100 runs to get off 10 overs. It went down to 61 runs to take off the last five overs before Maxwell burst open. In his next 16 balls, the all-rounder slammed six maximums to finish on 83* off 45 balls. It was his second half-century on the trot in the league.
Maxwell has played 14 ODIs in India and has a batting average over 30 and a strike rate of 128.35 in the format. In T20Is, he has 322 runs in 8 innings in the country and averages 40-plus while striking at 152.6. He even has a T20I hundred against India in India and strikes at 145.
This is in addition to his vast experience of the conditions in the IPL. With even a Test century to his name in the country, Maxwell will be a huge miss for the Aussies, particularly with his sensational recent form in the Big Bash.
What Maxwell brings to the middle-order is an ability to add impetus and strike against spinners, a great quality to have in the sub-continent. While Labuschagne in his short Test career and Peter Handscomb are good players of spin too, Maxwell brings an x-factor with his ability to demolish attacks and produce match-winning knocks like he showed in the game on Friday against Melbourne Renegades.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis