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September 17, 2012
Glenn Maxwell is headed for a breakout display at the World Twenty20 ... or a sobering brush with reality at the same tournament.
Having turned heads with a handful of spiky performances in his first appearances for Australia during their recent ODI and T20 series in the UAE, Maxwell has arrived in Sri Lanka flushed with confidence ahead of his team's opening match against Ireland on Wednesday.
He has spoken with plenty of brio about the sorts of displays he is capable of producing over the next three weeks, which in his mind will be match-turning efforts of the kind produced by the world's very best. They are bold words from a 23-year-old with six international matches to his credit, and Maxwell will now need to back them up with plenty of action.
"I'm very confident I can perform now at this level. Hopefully I can be that x-factor that Australia needs to win this tournament," Maxwell said in Colombo. "I feel like I can become that x-factor in all three facets of the game and hopefully be that flair that Australia really wants to see.
"That could mean a run out, a brilliant catch, a breakthrough wicket with the ball or big hitting. I'm really embracing that 'x-factor' tag. I don't really have too many doubts, I don't think I'm going to try to back down any time soon either."
Among a series of useful cameos in the UAE, Maxwell said he gained most from an unbeaten half century to guide Australia home in the third ODI in Sharjah. That innings clinched the series for Michael Clarke's team, and gave Maxwell the belief that he could follow it up with even greater things at the World T20.
"When I got the boys over the line at the end, that gave me the confidence to do anything in the squad," he said. "I feel like I can give Australia more runs at the top of the order rather than the bottom. Hopefully a hundred is not too far away and it comes in this tournament."
Running his eye over other teams in the tournament, Maxwell said he expected England to shrug off the loss of Kevin Pietersen, the player of the tournament when Paul Collingwood led the team to victory over Australia in the final of the 2010 edition.
"England has been a bit of a powerhouse. KP is one of the world's best players but they've been able to cover for him pretty well," Maxwell said. "I don't think they're going to miss him too much."
"Their middle order is quite strong. Eoin Morgan gives them amazing versatility, he's a great finisher and a really tough player to get out. Their bowling attack is excellent. They've got a great bowling coach in David Saker who has drilled them really well."
Maxwell's words carry as much conviction as some of his strokes have done so far. Australia will hope for more of the same from Wednesday.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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