Glenn Maxwell: Passage to India ends with a flourish

There are now calls to make a movie on the maverick cricketer’s life. Not surprising, since the ingredients are certainly all there

Australian cricketer Glenn Maxwell (file photo)
Australian cricketer Glenn Maxwell (file photo)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

There are now calls in Australia to make a movie on Glenn Maxwell, ‘Maxi’ to his teammates. It’s a different issue whether his fans’ wishes will be fulfilled, but there’s no denying that there is enough masala in his life and times to make one. 

A freak innings of 201 which they are calling the greatest ODI innings in history, two 50-over World Cups and one World T20 in the bag, a battle with mental health and a tryst with India which saw him hitched to the lovely Vini Raman — there is certainly no dearth of dramatic ingredients for a script. And the day before his departure from India after a memorable two and-a-half months, he decided to end the sojourn with a flourish which saw Australia bounce back strongly in the ongoing T20 series. 

This time in Guwahati, it was a freakish 100 off 47 balls — making him the only batter along with Rohit Sharma to hit four T20 centuries in international cricket — and the joint fastest Australian centurion in this format along with Aaron Finch and Josh Inglis.  

While on the subject of figures, Maxwell now boasts the highest Australian ODI score, the second-highest T20 score behind Finch’s 172 against Zimbabwe, and the highest T20 career strike rate of any batter (it was his 100th T20I on Tuesday).  

Add to that his record for Australia’s fastest ODI century, off just 51 balls, and the joint fastest ODI 50 off just 18 balls, and Maxwell’s place in Australian cricket folklore now looks assured. But then, such figures tell you only half the story. 

When the 35-year-old Maxwell arrived on Indian shores to play his third, and almost certainly his last 50-over showpiece, he was yet another surviving member of the 2015 cup winning squad bracing for a last hurrah. Despite proving to be a gamechanger on many occasions, be it at international or franchise cricket level, there was always that maverick streak which saw him implode with suicidal shots at critical moments. 

The ring of irresponsiblity hung around him loosely over the years, but the current tour will surely bring about a reassessment of Maxwell’s worth to Australian cricket — that nothing is impossible as long as he is around. The ifs and buts will never end even though had Maxwell — suffering severe cramps and pains all over, not played that heroic innings of 201 against Afghanistan after the team was on 91 for seven — the doors to the World Cup semi-final would perhaps not have opened. No less audacious was the 106 off 44 balls against the Netherlands in the group stage, where he scored all of his runs from the 40th over onward. 

The emotional and physical fatigue of the gruelling cup campaign was hardly over when Maxwell struck eight fours and as many sixes and put on an unbeaten 91-run stand with skipper Matthew Wade, who contributed 28 in their T20I game.

The decision by Cricket Australia to bank on six or seven members of the World Cup-winning squad for the T20I series just four days after the cup final was an all-advised one, and drew the remark from ODI captain Pat Cummins that "cricketers were not robots but human beings". 

The management attempted some damage control by calling back their World Cup heroes home and sending replacements, but Maxwell decided to give it his all in chasing a huge target of 223 and keeping Australia in the series. The fours and sixes flowed and much like Cummins against Afghanistan, he reduced T20 skipper Wade to a spectator to the mayhem.  

“Maxi has had a lot of cricket over the last bit and his body is ready to go home… he needs some rest,” Wade said later. “It’s mentally more, and a little bit physically. He’s come back from quite a bad injury and 50-over cricket takes it out of you.’’ 

White ball cricket has spawned some outrageous hitters in the last decade or so — from a Chris Gayle who could stand and deliver, a Jos Buttler who would blow away anything in his arc, or a Rohit Sharma who would make batting look a walk in the park during the powerplays.  

But if you are looking to take on an improbable asking rate, do keep Maxi the smiling assassin on your speed dial.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines