Australia v India, 5th ODI, Sydney January 22, 2016

Maxwell clarification adds to milestone debate

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Glenn Maxwell tweeted that his statements that spurred the debate of India's batsmen being selfish were "taken out of context" © Getty Images

Glenn Maxwell has compared the Indian batsmen's approach unfavourably to the Australians' when nearing a milestone, but Cricket Australia have been quick to do damage control.

It began after the third ODI in Melbourne with a question quoting Matthew Hayden from 10 years ago. Maxwell, who had scored a match-winning 96 in that match, was noncommittal in response but before the Sydney ODI, he eliminated the doubts around what he said.

"They were probably just making sure they got to a milestone," Maxwell had said in Melbourne. "Some people are milestone-driven, some people aren't. If it means that much to you, you go for it. But it's not something that drives me too much. Each to their own."

In Sydney though, Maxwell went from generic to specific. He told Wisden India: "I knew it [the comment] was going to blow up. It didn't really bother me. I was sent a photo the other day, it said Virat was 84 off 63, and then 100 off 89 or something like that. He got his last 11 runs off 22 balls to get his hundred. I thought about that and I was like, 'Jeez, he did it so easily all the way up until then, and then you just lose a bit of momentum.' I have been thinking about that.

"Then you look on the other hand, when you watch David Warner get into the 90s and he tries to hit Ishant Sharma for a slog sweep for six. It's just, to me, that's two complete different ends of the spectrum. And then you look at the scoreline and you see 4-0. And to me, I'd much rather be 4-0 basically."

Maxwell said his side didn't care about milestones. "The way Boof [Darren Lehmann, the coach] has talked to us always has been: 'Take the game on, take the game on, take the game on. I don't care if you're on 90, I don't care if you're on zero, take the game on.'"

Cricket Australia and BCCI enjoy a fruitful relationship under the new Big Three arrangement. CA's website was quick to do an interview with Maxwell to clarify his statements, but he didn't quite take them back.

Maxwell would, however, tweet that they were "taken out of context" and said he was in awe of how Kohli almost single-handedly chased down 349 in Canberra.

"I was asked to give a bit of an assessment of who was dominating with the bat in this series, and I said, 'I don't think anyone in the world is hitting the ball better than Virat at the moment,'" Maxwell told cricket.com.au.

"The point that I was making, and it related more to when India were setting totals and had plenty of wickets in hand, is that the scoring rate seemed to slow as milestones got close, which can sometimes be the case, especially when teams are batting first.

"Maintaining a constant scoring rate can be less straightforward batting first than when you're chasing and you know what the required rate has to be, and there have been times when batters just seem to have slowed a bit to make sure they reach those milestones. Sometimes that wins you games, and sometimes it doesn't but that was the only point I was trying to make. I've got a really good relationship with Virat off the field, and I've already had a chat with him."

The clarification doesn't make it disappear that he compared the Indian batsmen's efforts with that of Warner, who too, was setting a total and got out in the 90s trying to play a big shot.

Steven Smith, Australia's captain, said the slowing down near a milestone was natural. "I think that can be natural for anyone around the world," Smith said. "When you see that sort of milestone coming, in the back of your mind you might slow down a little bit. I think Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are quality players and they're batting beautifully, and I don't see any problem with any selfishness there."

Aaron Finch distanced himself from Maxwell's comments. "The talk of Indian players being selfish was obviously Glenn's view; that's not my personal view," Finch said. "Virat Kohli got a 100 off 80-odd balls the other day. There was nothing selfish about that innings. That was an extraordinary, extraordinary innings. Shikhar Dhawan got it off about 95 balls, I think. He took the game on at the start for India along with Rohit, and got them off to an absolute flyer. Gee, there are some seriously good players in India. Virat… 25 ODI hundreds now. That's an unbelievable achievement."

In the three ODIs that India batted first, they scored 67, 67 and 60 from overs 31 to 40. These have been the overs when their set batsmen have approached their hundreds. In Perth, Rohit took 24 balls from 83 at the start of the 31st over to reach his century. Similarly in Brisbane, between the 30th and the 40th overs, Rohit took 21 balls to move from 86 to 100. Virat Kohli took 15 balls to score the last 16 runs to his century between the 38th and 43rd overs in Melbourne.

Team director Ravi Shastri, though, had defended his men before the Canberra ODI. "If they were focusing on milestones, Virat Kohli wouldn't have been the fastest to 7000 runs; he would have taken another 100 games," Shastri said. "If that was the case, Rohit Sharma would not be having two double hundreds, and a score of 264."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dinkepo on January 25, 2016, 9:24 GMT

    Maxwell' comment shown how australians are arragant and intollerent when opponent team mate taking consistant centuries while playing in Aus. So that they trying to diverting opponent team concentration and hitting the bad ball to out, this is one of the tactics to slow down the aggressive and fluent battings, Gavaskar had been commented and warned many times about Aus. Nasty behaviour while other teams does well, for me these half-cook Maxwell has to apalogise for that basicless comment also he has to take it normal and appriciate when other team mates taking milestones as a cricketer!

  • Nampally on January 24, 2016, 14:37 GMT

    @MINDMELD: Yes, India could have lost 5-0 but could have also won 3-2. They lost the First ODI with 4 balls to spare in Umpire assisted win with Bailey's CBW denied off the first ball he faced. His 100 runs minus- Aussies lose! India lost the ODI 2 & 3 in 49 overs too. The 4th ODI was lost from 277 for 1 to 323 all out- thru' injuries to 2 bats, Rahane & Kumar. Luck played a huge role in close matches in this series. The final results are distorted. Bumrah's arrival was delayed, due to Visa difficulties- to replace Injured Shami- India #1 bowler. Bumrah rolled over the Aussie batting with 2 for 40 in 10 overs- best figures of the series for either side. Imagine if he had played all 5 ODI's! For visiting teams they need injury free side + some luck in Toss & right breaks + Umpiring decisions. I do realise the Aussie fielding was far superior which tilted the scale in close games.

  • Zakrya Safi on January 24, 2016, 11:16 GMT

    l am too happy which Australia won the serice and also I like Glenn Maxwell batting

  • MiddleStump on January 24, 2016, 6:13 GMT

    Maxwell's comments are generally true. But Marsh let Australia down by being cautious in his 90s. Unfortunately it was also towards the end of the innings and reduced the total by 10-15 runs. An opportunity for a 5-0 sweep was lost.

  • asim900 on January 23, 2016, 20:26 GMT

    maxwellz theory was proved right by Marsh today. His slow approach towards 100 let india a sniff of victory as target was 20 runs short. 340 was winning target but Marsh preferred 100 over team score and eventually Aussies lost.

  • Mindmeld on January 23, 2016, 16:01 GMT

    Nampally, India were two balls away from 5-0, and you think the deadrubber 50-50 game shows the teams are equal? The truth? Australia cruised home with a third string bowling attack on flat tracks which negated their natural strengths on fast, bouncy wickets. If the umpire had not called that perfect Marsh delivery a wide on the first ball of the final over, India could easily have lost this final game. Count your blessings, meagre as they may be.

  • Nampally on January 23, 2016, 14:56 GMT

    I thought Maxwell's comments were arrogant & patronising! The difference between the 2 teams was not as wide as the series results indicate. If India had a bit of luck, they would have won the series. When India added Bumrah, he won the 5th ODI! So there was v.little between the 2 teams. India batted magnificently with just 4 bats whilst the Aussies had batting far beyond #4. That gave Maxi the luxury of being a free swinger. That was also the reason why Indian top 4 had to bat cautiously. Trying to call them milestone orientated is arrogant. Actually Rohit got out at 99 in 5th ODI & this time 2 Aussies got their 100's. Is that not milestone orientated? Furthermore Manish Pandey hit his winning stroke to complete his century with 2 balls to spare- is that selfish too? Maxi needs to improve his maturity rather than blurt out irresponsible comments.

  • sarangsrk on January 23, 2016, 13:21 GMT

    @GEORGE E MATHEW.. Spot on, buddy. he did that even when 40 were required to win and he needed 24 for 100. Rather than taking singles and hitting bad balls, he exposed all stumps to hit Yadav over mid-off. Had the ball moved even 2 inches, he was a gonner. Really mindless chatter this from my favourite maverick.

  • mohsin9975 on January 23, 2016, 13:20 GMT

    Hdg1978...Aus not winning a WT20 is a team record that u are comparing to an individual record. Great!!! Agreed lots of players do slow down near milestones. But, at least come up with rational arguments. You argument sounds much like Shastri whi tried to counter criticisms over personal milestones by stating few more personal milestones

  • Uncapped on January 23, 2016, 12:52 GMT

    Apart from not good policy to comment on the opposition, why give them tips about what makes us so successful? Let your bat do the talking Maxi.

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