Dubai: Under normal circumstances, Australian Glenn Maxwell is among one of the most sought-after cricketers in any franchise-run cricket around the world.
After being picked up by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping fee of Dh5.4 million, Maxwell landed in the UAE for the IPL 2020 edition on the back of a 90-ball 108 against England in their series in the UK. But, since then Maxwell has struggled to live up either to the hype or to expectations with just 58 runs coming from his bat in the seven matches that he has featured in so far.
This is Maxwell’s fifth season with the Kings XI Punjab. So no excuse for the swashbuckling batsman there. The hard-hitting Aussie was first chosen in 2014 and stayed on with the franchise in 2017 before being released. In 2018, he moved to the Delhi Capitals where he scored 169 runs from 12 matches and last year, he opted out of the IPL hoping to prepare for the World Cup before returning to KXIP afresh this season.
So what exactly has transpired that has seen Maxwell struggle in the KXIP set-up? The Australian, who turned 32 on Wednesday, tried to explain his way through a rather odd situation.
“This year has been a different role (batting at No. 5), and I am trying to get used to it. I would like to think that I have tried to do my role as well as I can,” he said. “We have got Nicky (Nicholas Pooran) batting unbelievably well at four. And with his power-hitting, my job has been to get him on strike and be there to help finish off games."
But that doesn’t seem to have worked in Maxwell’s case. “When you are only together for two months in the year with IPL, there is going to be chopping and changing. You are always looking for that right team balance. The team you pick at the start of the tournament might not have the balance you think as you progress,” he said. “We feel we are getting closer to that (team balance). I have had different experiences (in the IPL) where I have not quite performed to the level people expect but there has been no lack of trying, (or) putting the effort in training.”
By far, Maxwell’s first season with KXIP in 2014 still remains his most successful one. He scored 552 runs as KXIP reached their only final. But in 2017, where he was captain of the side, remains close to Maxwell’s heart.
“Despite the fact I did well in 2014, I actually thought my performance in 2017 was my best season. Being captain, man of the match multiple times and I bowled a lot more. I thought that was my best season in the IPL. I was able to combine some match-winning knocks with some mature knocks,” he said while referring to the year when he scored 310 runs at a strike-rate of 173 and took seven wickets at an impressive economy rate of 6.57.
This year, even though Maxwell has failed to set the tournament ablaze with his big-hitting, Maxi has managed to stay unbeaten in three innings, which is all the more strange.
“I have been not out (three) in seven games which has probably never happened to me in the history of my career. So, it has been a strange transition for me batting at five and one that I feel, I have started to become more accustomed to,” he said.