May 14, 2014

Maxwell's golden hammer

Despite T20's ceaseless urgency, Maxwell never appears to be in a rush. Could he, like David Warner, flourish in the Test arena?
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Glenn Maxwell: at once both elegant and vicious
Glenn Maxwell: at once both elegant and vicious © BCCI

Motivation comes in all shapes and guises. Take that needlessly unbroken, history-wrecking, last-wicket stand by Dennis Amiss and Bob Willis at Sabina Park in 1974. Boiled, fried and battered in turn by Roy Fredericks, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharran and the Great Garfield, Willis had plodded to the middle with a heroic, match-saving expedition completed bar the bail-lifting. At the other end stood its intrepid leader, for whom nothing whatsoever was amiss. Now the icing beckoned. Understandably, Amiss rather fancied carrying his bat.

The Warwickshire opener was drawing to the close of an epic unbeaten 262, fortitude enhanced by a tea-time brandy. Had Willis done the decent thing, Amiss would have set an astonishing if grotesquely under-appreciated record, wresting from Glenn Turner - who'd made 223 not out on the same ground two years earlier - the honour of the highest score acquired while batting throughout a completed Test innings. All the same, the stat that best defines the singular single-handedness of this relentless stint is that not one member of what might generously be described as the supporting cast - not Tony Greig, Alan Knott or even Geoff Boycott - reached 40.

As it is, the lowly ranking of Amiss' Horatioesque effort in the Wisden Top 100 chart of Test innings (89th, considerably and laughably lower than his own 179 in Delhi in 1976) remains the equal-rankest injustice in the entire history of that monument to unprovable assertion we call "the list". (For the record, the other most blatant offences are unquestionably the unconscionable omission of Who's Next from Mojo magazine's "Greatest Albums Ever" and the snobbery-inspired absence of Carry on Constable from Sight and Sound magazine's list of the finest movies.)

Unfortunately, as Amiss relates in the latest issue of All Out Cricket, Willis had no intention of giving his wicket away, hanging tight for nearly an hour to no obvious purpose. Then again, in fairness, he had made his reason crystal clear to his partner from the very outset: there was no way on earth he was going to risk further humiliation at the hands of those Caribbean willow bullies, at least not that week.

Those poor souls hired to bowl at Glenn Maxwell lately can empathise all too readily.

****

Glen or Glenda? Such is the question asked by the title of a controversial 1953 B-movie about a transvestite, directed with a measure of bittersweet autobiographicality by Ed Wood, the all-time king of cross-dressing Hollywood (anybody labouring under the illusion that Johnny Depp plays it safe should be forcefully reminded that, early in his career, he had the cojones to accept the lead in Tim Burton's biopic of Wood). While it would plainly be wholly wrong to even hint that a parallel might be drawn with Australia's latest crowd-pleaser, it does not feel inappropriate to ask that question here. Will Maxwell be satisfied as a mere flat-track bully, as Glenn, or will he reveal the full extent of his palette and flourish as the multi-dimensional Glenda?

For now, Glenn more than suffices. Indeed, so unquenchable is my thirst to see the Victorian creasemaster take guard and aim, my on-off, love-hate relationship with the IPL has never been more firmly on. Until this season, I didn't know - much less care - who played for whom. I definitely couldn't name all the teams, let alone any of the winners. Fond as I am of American sport, caring actively about the fortunes of athletic institutions that operate as rootless, transportable, biddable, bottom-line-obsessed franchises has always been beyond my ken.

Not that I didn't tune in: as someone possessed of an extremely perplexing hunger to consume any dish of cricket those tireless Sky Sports caterers care to serve up, I couldn't help myself. Tuning in, though, need not mean turning on, or even actually watching very much. Hearing is believing. As someone perpetually fearful for the game's long-term future, there's something rather reassuring about the clink of tumbling neon bails and the clang of railway sleeper on processed leather - especially when acclaimed by 50,000 pairs of lusty lungs. Hell, the encouragement even extends to the clunk of commentary hype and cliché. Stirring soundtracks - think Porky's and some of Adam Sandler's recent clinkers - can survive even the lousiest movies.

Can we find a foretaste of Maxwell's development in the career of Warner? The latter surged to prominence as a biff-bang-boomer, confounded all and sundry by making an instant impact at the top of the five-day order

That po-faced resistance has now crumbled. The rich irony being that, in the wake of the match-fixing that disfigured IPL 6 and brought so many envious chickens home to roost, I had promised myself that the league would never again darken the north-east corner of my lounge. Yet not only am I following a team's fortunes, I am even investing some emotion in them - albeit only to the extent that I want them to participate in as many matches as possible, not because I actually want them to hoist the trophy. That is because that not wholly blessed team is King's XI Punjab and my loyalty, such as it is, can be traced directly and exclusively to one man: Maxwell, the maestro of must-see TV.

Now I scan the fixture schedule with a schoolboy's zeal, eager to know when he's next on, determined not to miss a milli-moment - even if that habitually means recording the match and resolutely ignoring all bulletins until I've found a window to catch up. Soloists have long commanded my slavish, slavering devotion, but it is not inconceivable that Messrs Graveney, Chappell (G), Gower, Richards (V and B), Azharuddin, Hooper, Lara, Laxman, Amla and Pietersen could all be in for one hell of a beating.

Time and again these past few weeks, in the UAE and now India, Maxwell has elevated his calling to the heights of jaw-dropping wonder. No one has been shortchanged, not even the professional flaw-detectors. After all, the killjoys who sincerely believe they are duty-bound to detect and expose even the tiniest hint of weakness in others - all the better to masquerade their own inadequacies - can point snootily to that failure to turn four near-misses into centuries. Call it Maxwell's Golden Hammer Effect.

There is at once something elegant and vicious about Maxwell. Nimble of foot, an excellent judge of length, he strikes the vast majority of his drives with a smooth, even regal, authority; effort is even less discernible than are the rippling biceps or weightlifter's veins we have come to associate with prototype T20 heavyweights such as Kieron Pollard, Brendon McCullum and David Warner. The power and placement of his reverse hits, on the other hand, are embedded in ruthlessness. A 30-ball 50 is the summit of most ambitions; Maxwell appears to be targeting 50-ball tons every time.

Yet what impresses most is that eerie calmness. Despite T20's ceaseless urgency, he never appears to be in a rush, always seems content to bed in for a few balls, to wait for the right offering rather than impose himself by force of stats or will. Plainly too colossal a talent to be limited to 50-ball cameos, it is this asset, this well of patience, that fuels the belief that he can transfer those gaudy gifts to the loftiest stage. No, not the NatWest T20 Blast (in which he is due to enchant Hampshire fans this summer), but the Test arena.

Can we find a foretaste of Maxwell's development in the career of Warner? The latter surged to prominence as a biff-bang-boomer, confounded all and sundry by making an instant impact at the top of the five-day order, and has continued to enhance that side of his talents while regressing over the shortest haul. Having tasted the difference between working for financial reward and for professional satisfaction, between instant acclaim and lasting respect, he seems to have decided where his priorities lie. Fortunately, there seems no reason why he - and hence we - cannot continue having it all.

Will the same apply to Maxwell? Well, a first-class average of 41.04 isn't a bad re-launchpad back into the Baggy Green XI he penetrated in India last year. In his most recent fixtures in creams, in February, he went to town and painted it a luminous red.

Against New South Wales he made 94 off 95 balls in a total of 218; then, second time round, he sauntered in, undaunted either by a scoreboard showing 9 for 6 or the inevitability of an innings defeat, and lashed a lavish if pointless 127 off 102, with boundaries accounting for 98. Against South Australia the following week, he spun out the top three with those handy offbreaks, then entered at 50 for 4 and dug in for more than three and a half hours; the staggering statistic is not that he made 119 at a strike rate of under 75, but that he only bothered to wallop two sixes. Only Warner among the 50 leading run-makers in the latest Sheffield Shield campaign achieved a higher overall rate of destruction, and the opener's 93.61 exhibited appreciably fewer signs of restraint or an alternative gear than Maxwell's 75.87.

Maybe I'm being greedy. Maybe it's unreasonable to demand more helpings when what is already on one's plate is so plentiful and sumptuous. Stuff that. Right now, pure, unadulterated selfishness means that the thought of never whiling away an entire day dining at Chez Maxwell, or a week anticipating such a mouthwatering treat, is, well, utterly unthinkable.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton. His latest book is Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NQ_Rollers on May 19, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    @GrindAR - I completly agree, just like brad haddins spot is safe till he retires. That team is the only way maxwell can play becasue they have guys like doolan, rogers, haddin, watson who are all there blocking the use of someone like maxwell. I would like doolan to have one more series and try and prove me wrong, then we look to Smith at Three. The watson experiment is dead and burried the sooner CA realises this the better. Rogers has till the end of the 2015 Ashes and haddin has till the end of the world cup.

  • jay57870 on May 18, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    Rob - Glen or Glenda? No, it's the Million Dollar Man Glenn Maxwell! It's a Home Run Derby - pure unadulterated IPL Slugfest. Even Steyn & Malinga get hammered in the death overs. And Starc & Pollard "sledge-hammer" ball & bat at each other. How they miss The Closer: Mariano Rivera. Wait. Relief is on the way: "The Million Dollar Arm", thanks to Hollywood, starring 2 Indian strongarms - Dinesh Patel & Rinku Singh - brought to USA by MLB. Bollywood's pitchman AR Rahman, of "Slumdog Millionaire" Oscar Jai Ho fame, pitches in & bats for them! Still, the batter vs bowler show belongs to the ultimate Bollywood blockbuster: "Maxwell's Maximums in Maximum City"! Mumbai's loss is Punjab's gain. Happy royal ending! Yes, it's a "mouthwatering treat" that's "utterly unthinkable", Rob!!

  • Beertjie on May 18, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    Gotta agree, @ OneEyedAussie on (May 16, 2014, 2:27 GMT): "Both Maxwell and Lynn are exciting prospects. Their recent FC records suggest that they have the seed of the mental game required to succeed in test cricket." I see him as another Symmo, perhaps. Once the old guard goes, I hope Maxwell can step up alongside a few others. A good XII for Adelaide next home Ashes might be: Warner, Burns, Maddinson, Lynn, Smith, Maxwell, Whiteman, Starc, Pattinson, Cummins, Muirhead and Faulkner.

  • bren19 on May 17, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    There is definitely a place for him in test cricket. I believe no 7 is an ill-used spot these days. Remember Gilly? He would change a match from that spot. Australia won so many games because an explosive batsmen changed a game at number 7 in one session. I believe test can use a big hitter from that position - I guess you need a keeper who is a genuine top 6 batsman.

  • on May 16, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    he can be a good test batsmen as sehwag

  • on May 16, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    Maxie did prove his metal in ODI's and he is proving in T20 too if given chance he will for sure deliver in tests too... he has great flexibility to adapt the given format...

  • on May 16, 2014, 16:18 GMT

    you can't write off Maxie in test u never know he may prove his metal in that format too as he did winders when Aussies toured India for ODI he showed patience n calmness along with bailey on several occasions that reflects his ability to adjust quickly to the given format

  • OneEyedAussie on May 16, 2014, 2:27 GMT

    Both Maxwell and Lynn are exciting prospects. Their recent FC records suggest that they have the seed of the mental game required to succeed in test cricket. I'm sure an Australian batting order with Warner, Maxwell, Smith and Lynn in it will provide some exhilarating cricket in 3-4 years time as they collectively move into their prime as batsmen.

  • WeirPicki on May 16, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    This is a joke right? Maxwell is as far away from being a test cricketer as Donald Duck is. A few slogs in the 20/20 fast food format does not indicate an ability to play at the highest level - Test matches. His technique would be found wanting.

  • on May 15, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    @ Chris Campling Sunil Narine is not a t20 speciacialist. he already has 20 odd test wickets in 6 tests. not extraordinary stats but he is still learning and he is heading in the right direction. He is already a better spinner than the Kiwi's . England and South Africa have in their ranks at the moment and quite possibly Australia too. he could have been further ahead too if he had played in the last frank worrell trophy series instead of heading off to the IPL because he had Australia's batsmen all at sea in the ODI's back then in 2012. our top 3 averaged less than 15 yet we bowled well enough to push Australia all the way even though we were a bowler and a few batsmen short.

  • NQ_Rollers on May 19, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    @GrindAR - I completly agree, just like brad haddins spot is safe till he retires. That team is the only way maxwell can play becasue they have guys like doolan, rogers, haddin, watson who are all there blocking the use of someone like maxwell. I would like doolan to have one more series and try and prove me wrong, then we look to Smith at Three. The watson experiment is dead and burried the sooner CA realises this the better. Rogers has till the end of the 2015 Ashes and haddin has till the end of the world cup.

  • jay57870 on May 18, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    Rob - Glen or Glenda? No, it's the Million Dollar Man Glenn Maxwell! It's a Home Run Derby - pure unadulterated IPL Slugfest. Even Steyn & Malinga get hammered in the death overs. And Starc & Pollard "sledge-hammer" ball & bat at each other. How they miss The Closer: Mariano Rivera. Wait. Relief is on the way: "The Million Dollar Arm", thanks to Hollywood, starring 2 Indian strongarms - Dinesh Patel & Rinku Singh - brought to USA by MLB. Bollywood's pitchman AR Rahman, of "Slumdog Millionaire" Oscar Jai Ho fame, pitches in & bats for them! Still, the batter vs bowler show belongs to the ultimate Bollywood blockbuster: "Maxwell's Maximums in Maximum City"! Mumbai's loss is Punjab's gain. Happy royal ending! Yes, it's a "mouthwatering treat" that's "utterly unthinkable", Rob!!

  • Beertjie on May 18, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    Gotta agree, @ OneEyedAussie on (May 16, 2014, 2:27 GMT): "Both Maxwell and Lynn are exciting prospects. Their recent FC records suggest that they have the seed of the mental game required to succeed in test cricket." I see him as another Symmo, perhaps. Once the old guard goes, I hope Maxwell can step up alongside a few others. A good XII for Adelaide next home Ashes might be: Warner, Burns, Maddinson, Lynn, Smith, Maxwell, Whiteman, Starc, Pattinson, Cummins, Muirhead and Faulkner.

  • bren19 on May 17, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    There is definitely a place for him in test cricket. I believe no 7 is an ill-used spot these days. Remember Gilly? He would change a match from that spot. Australia won so many games because an explosive batsmen changed a game at number 7 in one session. I believe test can use a big hitter from that position - I guess you need a keeper who is a genuine top 6 batsman.

  • on May 16, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    he can be a good test batsmen as sehwag

  • on May 16, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    Maxie did prove his metal in ODI's and he is proving in T20 too if given chance he will for sure deliver in tests too... he has great flexibility to adapt the given format...

  • on May 16, 2014, 16:18 GMT

    you can't write off Maxie in test u never know he may prove his metal in that format too as he did winders when Aussies toured India for ODI he showed patience n calmness along with bailey on several occasions that reflects his ability to adjust quickly to the given format

  • OneEyedAussie on May 16, 2014, 2:27 GMT

    Both Maxwell and Lynn are exciting prospects. Their recent FC records suggest that they have the seed of the mental game required to succeed in test cricket. I'm sure an Australian batting order with Warner, Maxwell, Smith and Lynn in it will provide some exhilarating cricket in 3-4 years time as they collectively move into their prime as batsmen.

  • WeirPicki on May 16, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    This is a joke right? Maxwell is as far away from being a test cricketer as Donald Duck is. A few slogs in the 20/20 fast food format does not indicate an ability to play at the highest level - Test matches. His technique would be found wanting.

  • on May 15, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    @ Chris Campling Sunil Narine is not a t20 speciacialist. he already has 20 odd test wickets in 6 tests. not extraordinary stats but he is still learning and he is heading in the right direction. He is already a better spinner than the Kiwi's . England and South Africa have in their ranks at the moment and quite possibly Australia too. he could have been further ahead too if he had played in the last frank worrell trophy series instead of heading off to the IPL because he had Australia's batsmen all at sea in the ODI's back then in 2012. our top 3 averaged less than 15 yet we bowled well enough to push Australia all the way even though we were a bowler and a few batsmen short.

  • on May 15, 2014, 21:14 GMT

    The 262 was a great innings and its a pity Willis couldnt have got out say in the last few minutes of the match as that would have made the Amiss effort even better. However for sheer guts the 203 against the same opponents 2 and a half years later after he had been written off was a better knock

  • GrindAR on May 15, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    @Tim Blake: Apply for a selector position in CA. I donno about Carters... I consider that place for in the list Rodgers. Rest is well... in fact 5-7 can switch positions within 5-7 as needed... because all of them can play the shorts as required... If Johnson/Harris stay long... the tail will be contributing about 30% of the total... Lyon can switch the order as well... 3+1 bowling with 4 all rounders.... Captain will have so many options

  • GrindAR on May 15, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    I think he has good temperament to be a test batsman. His bowling is good enough to shake things up for the batting side. His shorts were audacious, never short signs as pinch hitting. Only thing he should be carefull is the urge to clear the ropes... as test grounds are not going to be this short. I think he knows that well too... Lets see how CA use him.

  • ThinkingCricket on May 15, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    @DungerBob: Of course he cares about Tests/FC (as he should). All the formats of the game are great and worth respecting. I just suspect he prefers T-20's, which is not to say that he dislikes Tests/FC. (See my Steyn analogy).

    And yes, Australia should take him on that tour. With his avg of 41 (tarnished by early failures and not reflective of recent form), ability to clobber spin and potential which dwarfs that of mediocre guys like Doolan and the highly iffy Marsh, he really should be there on merit.

    If they continue to exclude him from Tests, it's as scandalous as our continued exclusion of Pujara in ODI's (where he is amazing).

  • dunger.bob on May 15, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    @ ThinkingCricket: Yes, the players can certainly decide their own fates by not making themselves available for certain formats. Plenty of guys do it these days including Malinga who only does T20's and Clarke who doesn't do T20.

    In Maxwells case he is available for Test selection and presumably that's his choice. I don't suppose anyone is forcing him to play Shield cricket either so that's another indicator that he'd like to be an all format player. He's being playing well in F/C cricket and people, meaning selectors, are bound to be keeping a close on him and I guess he knows that too. .. Anyway, we'll see. He might never get a second Test for all we know. I'd take him to the UAE to play against Pakistan if it were up to me though. At least have him in the squad as cover if not a walk up start.

  • ThinkingCricket on May 15, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    @dunger.bob- That's possibly true, though limited overs is arguably more important than Test for recognition now. That's why Maxi who isn't a Test guy is being raved over, while everyone's forgotten his team-mate Pujara who is an amazing Test bat.

    It's still taboo to say you prefer T-20, which is why Maxi won't say so yet, and obviously all players make the standard noise about Test being the 'pinnacle of the game', but actions speak louder than words, and he is very focused on ODI's.

    I'd say Maxi's attitude to long form cricket is like Steyn's to T-20. Not his favorite format, but he's a true pro and he'll give it everything, which is as it should be.

    That said, I hate it just as much when people assume that players would prefer to play Tests over win the WC or whatever, let the players themselves decide what matters to them, and hopefully he graces all formats.

  • imtiazjaleel on May 15, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    You have 20 overs and say 7 or 8 batsman to play that means an average of 2-3 overs per batsman. two of them should go out and blast their way depending on the pitch, otherwise there is no point playing 20 overs scoring 140 without losing a wicket, but to score 200 losing 9 wickets is a much better result.

  • on May 15, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    warner has done well,yes, but he is a surprise. he turned out to have the defence to go with thepower. maxwell is a slogger who got lucky. against sides that don't bowl like rabbits in the headlights he fails, and test cricket is full of bowlers who have the time to make plans and execute them. on the bowling side narine is like maxwell - a T20 specialist who doesn't have to bowl long enough to be found out by proper batsmen. so enjoy the big show (off) for what he does well, and don'tthink that tests are like t20s

  • Match_Referee on May 15, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    Yes, Maxwell should be in Test team... When guys like Sehwag, Warner can play tests, whats wrong in playing Maxi for Aussies... The fate is that this world has even seen Afridi also in 27 Test matches... Maxi, you can rock in Test Cricket as well!!!

  • on May 15, 2014, 2:41 GMT

    Maxwell reminds me of Ricky Ponting, I feel he is like a modern T20-raised version of Ricky Ponting, he has talent to get runs in all formats - lets hope he does. He may even be able to come in at number 3 or 6 in the test side.

  • Shaggy076 on May 15, 2014, 2:05 GMT

    When it comes to test cricket he should be judged on his 4 day record and in the last couple of seasons it has been pretty good. So he is not too far away and can certainly play test cricket in the future. However with Clarke wanting to bat 5 and Smith entrenched at 6 he will have to wait for a lower order spot to be available.

  • RanKan on May 15, 2014, 1:14 GMT

    This Rob Steen article suddenly bought Owais Shah's extravagant guard-taking to mind. Rob's introductory paragraphs about Dennis Amiss and Bob Willis floored me completely. Why were they there and what did they mean? And then, after proclaiming eagerness to actually face a ball by putting in some asterisks and mentioning Glenn Maxwell finally in paragraph 5, Rob Steen then proceeds to talk about Glen and Glenda to add bemusement to my previous bafflement. I must say that once Rob had finished taking guard, he motored along beautifully. I will read Rob from paragraph 8 onwards in the future.

  • on May 15, 2014, 0:45 GMT

    anton - i think australias answer is to find a keeper who can bat high in the order Ryan Carters might be the right guy. because i am not convinced by watson opening and i am not sure doolans spot is safe. my team is 1.Warner 2.Carters 3.Smith 4.Clark 5.Lynn 6.Watson 7.Maxwell 8. Johnson 9.Harris 10.Pattinson 11.Lyon.

    with a succesion plan of maxwell to 6 and faulkner to 7 to replace watson. the back up bowlers are sayers, siddle, starc/hazlewood you dont need a back up spinner because between maxwell, smith, clark, lynn, and warner they make at least 1 and a half front line spinners.

  • MinusZero on May 14, 2014, 23:27 GMT

    Don't sew that seed. The last thing Australia needs is another player trying to get themselves out. They already carry Watson, Warner doesn't always come off, do they need another trying to get out on every ball?

  • dunger.bob on May 14, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    @ DiamondSoul: I don't think the man himself would agree with your plan for his career. As some of you may have noticed Maxwell is a confident and ambitious personality and I think he might be interested in being known as one of the best cricketers in all formats, not just 'pinch hitting' as you call it. .. besides, sometimes you need quick runs in Test cricket too.

  • ThinkingCricket on May 14, 2014, 20:47 GMT

    @Hashir Rishi:

    It's pretty ironic. The ONLY thing about him that sets him IS this approach of smashing every thing. Plenty of others who are capable of doing the same end up playing sub-optimally because they are afraid of being criticized if they execute it wrong and get out

  • on May 14, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    Maxi is a real T20 player. Youngsters should follow him.

  • steve48 on May 14, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    As an Englishman I hate to say this, but Australia is leaving us standing in finding players of raw talent and exceptional temperament, then honing them into quality players; Steve Smith is the most improved player on the planet! Like him and Warner, GM will make it in all formats, because they will help him work it out. Contrast this with our Jos Buttler, a player standing still, but one of immense natural talent.

  • Cpt.Meanster on May 14, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    Good to see that Poms like Rob Steen are keenly watching the IPL. The world's best T20 league has obviously been made even better by players like Maxwell. I had always felt Maxwell was a good limited overs player. I still don't think he has the patience to play in test cricket which is a sluggish format that requires a snail's mentality. Sure, the Aussies can hand him a nice baggy green but he won't last long in tests if he keeps attacking bowlers. That's where Sehwag stands out of the crowd. In spite of being an aggressive batsman, he flourished in test cricket better than most of his contemporaries.

  • InsideHedge on May 14, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    Lovely read Rob, a treat! Your article reminds me to YouTube for footage of Tom Graveney. I've read plenty about his stylish batting but never had the pleasure of seeing any footage. Alas, my cricket watching began after he'd retired. Today's young fans are a lucky bunch, their only complaint will be the quality of the footage.

    I can see now why Maxwell goes by the moniker "The Big Show". And for Mumbai Indians to let him go must feel like a perennial kick in the gonads. To be more accurate, they stepped on their own bare foot, wearing steely spikes on the other. To make matters worse, they didn't retain any of Maxwell, Mitch Johnson or Dwayne Smith.

  • on May 14, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    We can make out that he is a hitter but seen all that its his psychological aspect that needs to be polished in order to make him a great batsman and just make him forget bowling and make him feel as a batsman rather than an allrounder which can negate his attimes reckless approach

  • DiamondSoul on May 14, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    I dont think he should play Test cricket. Because if my memory is correct it's after same sort of situation in his test debut in India where he had a lean patch in run making. He is a rare talent of pinch hitting where natural aggression created through the atmosphere makes him believe about his own talent. Hope He wont take the test cap and be reserved. He will grow up to one of the best pinch hitters of all time

  • Brahams on May 14, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Point taken. Chennai is my team largely because of THE man - Dhoni. Maxi, nevertheless, has played a few unbelievable knocks.

    As an academic myself, I would much appreciate an short abstract!

  • Sadip on May 14, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    he should be again given chance in Test....!! he is improved cricketer..!!

  • balajik1968 on May 14, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    Maybe Australia should go the Gilchrist way; use him regularly in ODI's in the top of the order and then bring him in for tests down the order. By that time he would have gotten the nuts and bolts of building an innings. It is possible to construct an innings in the 50 over format. That could help him in Tests.

  • CricketMaan on May 14, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    Symmo was somewhat similar although had a more compact game. He was brutal in his early part of his career and very handy in Tests albeit a short career. Maxi can succeed but the question, is that what Aussies lack in thier middle order. Sure he can be tested over Bailey in that slot, if not anything just to irritate English, but its one thing to play on fast bouncy or slow flat pitches but another skill altogether to play on green, cold and swinging conditions.

  • siddhartha87 on May 14, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Maxwell has played some unforgettable innings in shield cricket in some very seamer friendly surfaces. No doubt he will be a great player

  • anton_ego on May 14, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    Maxi has a great chance of breaking into the Test side. With Chris Rogers at the twilight of his career, and Watson struggling in the long format, a few places are up for grabs. Australia has to start bringing in more youngsters. I would still back Watson since he is the best seam-bowling allrounder at the moment in the world. With Warner and Watson opening, Aussies can have a strong middle order in Doolan, Clarke, Maxwell and Smith. Keeper is an issue since Haddin is also getting older. Bowling at the moment is in very strong hands.

  • xtrafalgarx on May 14, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    One thing about Maxi is that he is very ambitious and confident. He certainly wont fail from lack of effort. He could well be the cricketer than Andrew Symonds threatened to be, or maybe even a KP type player, who knows?

  • on May 14, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    I would play him at no.6 in the upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE simply because he is Australia's one young batsman that could make an impact and he also lends that 5th or 6th bowling option. I have zero doubt that he'll meet with success at test level, his talent combined with his self belief promises much. I don't see him being a Viv, but perhaps a KP style of player, he has that skill for the outlandish shot and a feel for being the entertainer, which also fits well with Lehmann's idea of what good cricket is. I believe his progress toward being the finished article, like Warner, will be much faster than predicted.

    On his bowling I think it is fine as it is, he gives it a rip and stands the chance of taking wickets. I don't want a container as my allround spin option, I want someone who is going to break a partnership.

  • dunger.bob on May 14, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    If Maxi does make it in long format cricket what a bonus he'd be in the middle order. He did play well in the Shield last year so maybe he can become a touch more consistent as he gets more experience. .. It's an awesome prospect actually. Him proving good enough for Test cricket would take us onto a bit of a different plane to most other teams I'd say. We'd have a six speed gearbox as opposed to the usual 2 or 3 you normally find in Test cricket.

    I'd take him to the UAE to play against Pakistan. He seems to like the pitches there judging by his IPL campaign so far and he's obviously in a good frame of mind at present, so why not take a punt on him against Pakistan? .. Swap him for Watson.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on May 14, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    He is still about a year away from a prolonged run in the Test side, but he shouldn't be counted out. An FC avg of 42 from No. 6 and below is pretty damn good. If picked, he can be what Gilchrist used to be for Australia. Not comparing the two, but Gilly would provide that counterattack or just take the game away after a good platform from No. 6. Maxwell can do the same and since he actually plays shots and finds the gaps rather than slogging, he could do well at the test level. What would really make him valuable is if he can improve his bowling. Its decent, but he needs to become more containing. He needn't take wickets, just tie one end up, going quickly through his overs to build pressure at the other end and provide his team mates some rest. He is belligerent and has the Aussie attacking spirit down right. More importantly, he can play spin, a rare commodity in Australia.

  • on May 14, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    Another good sheild season should see him walk into the test team.I dont think he will come in this year .In the limited overs sides it is a no brainer to have him but it would be sad if he is viewed as a limited overs specialist.If maxwell can work on his bowling a bit (He got a four wicket hall in india but it came at a cost of 124 runs ) then ge can be an asset to Australia .He need not run through sides just tie them down along with Lyon and get maybe a few breakthroughs so that the young Aussie pacers who are fragile can get some good rest . I am talking about a couple of years down the line when Johnson Harris and co will not be there and Cummins Starc Pattinson and a few other bowlers will form the bowling attack.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on May 14, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    There's no doubt on his special talent .He score's close to 10-of 10-on that and all of which you can associate with greatest stroke players like eg.,Gilly,Viv. He matches those 2 on that aspect ,1 reason why he's the finest young-or any for matter - shot making talent in world now. Now moot Q is how he develops other v essential comp. in succeeding @ highest-test- level,temperament,mental makeup and such we call as 'cricket brain' .Warner has done that to an extent. Watson hasn't. But tell you what! If he just incorporates in his game even 50% of what likes of M Hussey,Sanga AB all were widely admired for all over he will be something special for Aussies. I 'am not even talking about those great players raw 'batting' skills, just the thing 'betw. the ears' !

  • DaisonGarvasis on May 14, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Considering the kind of shots and amount of time Maxwell possess to play those shots, Australis should give the batting slot filled by Bailey in the Ashes to Maxwell. Batting with the tail will give Maxwell license to "express" himself and change games on its head! At that batting position maxwell can fill the void left by good old gilly - with the same intensity.

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  • DaisonGarvasis on May 14, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Considering the kind of shots and amount of time Maxwell possess to play those shots, Australis should give the batting slot filled by Bailey in the Ashes to Maxwell. Batting with the tail will give Maxwell license to "express" himself and change games on its head! At that batting position maxwell can fill the void left by good old gilly - with the same intensity.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on May 14, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    There's no doubt on his special talent .He score's close to 10-of 10-on that and all of which you can associate with greatest stroke players like eg.,Gilly,Viv. He matches those 2 on that aspect ,1 reason why he's the finest young-or any for matter - shot making talent in world now. Now moot Q is how he develops other v essential comp. in succeeding @ highest-test- level,temperament,mental makeup and such we call as 'cricket brain' .Warner has done that to an extent. Watson hasn't. But tell you what! If he just incorporates in his game even 50% of what likes of M Hussey,Sanga AB all were widely admired for all over he will be something special for Aussies. I 'am not even talking about those great players raw 'batting' skills, just the thing 'betw. the ears' !

  • on May 14, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    Another good sheild season should see him walk into the test team.I dont think he will come in this year .In the limited overs sides it is a no brainer to have him but it would be sad if he is viewed as a limited overs specialist.If maxwell can work on his bowling a bit (He got a four wicket hall in india but it came at a cost of 124 runs ) then ge can be an asset to Australia .He need not run through sides just tie them down along with Lyon and get maybe a few breakthroughs so that the young Aussie pacers who are fragile can get some good rest . I am talking about a couple of years down the line when Johnson Harris and co will not be there and Cummins Starc Pattinson and a few other bowlers will form the bowling attack.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on May 14, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    He is still about a year away from a prolonged run in the Test side, but he shouldn't be counted out. An FC avg of 42 from No. 6 and below is pretty damn good. If picked, he can be what Gilchrist used to be for Australia. Not comparing the two, but Gilly would provide that counterattack or just take the game away after a good platform from No. 6. Maxwell can do the same and since he actually plays shots and finds the gaps rather than slogging, he could do well at the test level. What would really make him valuable is if he can improve his bowling. Its decent, but he needs to become more containing. He needn't take wickets, just tie one end up, going quickly through his overs to build pressure at the other end and provide his team mates some rest. He is belligerent and has the Aussie attacking spirit down right. More importantly, he can play spin, a rare commodity in Australia.

  • dunger.bob on May 14, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    If Maxi does make it in long format cricket what a bonus he'd be in the middle order. He did play well in the Shield last year so maybe he can become a touch more consistent as he gets more experience. .. It's an awesome prospect actually. Him proving good enough for Test cricket would take us onto a bit of a different plane to most other teams I'd say. We'd have a six speed gearbox as opposed to the usual 2 or 3 you normally find in Test cricket.

    I'd take him to the UAE to play against Pakistan. He seems to like the pitches there judging by his IPL campaign so far and he's obviously in a good frame of mind at present, so why not take a punt on him against Pakistan? .. Swap him for Watson.

  • on May 14, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    I would play him at no.6 in the upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE simply because he is Australia's one young batsman that could make an impact and he also lends that 5th or 6th bowling option. I have zero doubt that he'll meet with success at test level, his talent combined with his self belief promises much. I don't see him being a Viv, but perhaps a KP style of player, he has that skill for the outlandish shot and a feel for being the entertainer, which also fits well with Lehmann's idea of what good cricket is. I believe his progress toward being the finished article, like Warner, will be much faster than predicted.

    On his bowling I think it is fine as it is, he gives it a rip and stands the chance of taking wickets. I don't want a container as my allround spin option, I want someone who is going to break a partnership.

  • xtrafalgarx on May 14, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    One thing about Maxi is that he is very ambitious and confident. He certainly wont fail from lack of effort. He could well be the cricketer than Andrew Symonds threatened to be, or maybe even a KP type player, who knows?

  • anton_ego on May 14, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    Maxi has a great chance of breaking into the Test side. With Chris Rogers at the twilight of his career, and Watson struggling in the long format, a few places are up for grabs. Australia has to start bringing in more youngsters. I would still back Watson since he is the best seam-bowling allrounder at the moment in the world. With Warner and Watson opening, Aussies can have a strong middle order in Doolan, Clarke, Maxwell and Smith. Keeper is an issue since Haddin is also getting older. Bowling at the moment is in very strong hands.

  • siddhartha87 on May 14, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Maxwell has played some unforgettable innings in shield cricket in some very seamer friendly surfaces. No doubt he will be a great player

  • CricketMaan on May 14, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    Symmo was somewhat similar although had a more compact game. He was brutal in his early part of his career and very handy in Tests albeit a short career. Maxi can succeed but the question, is that what Aussies lack in thier middle order. Sure he can be tested over Bailey in that slot, if not anything just to irritate English, but its one thing to play on fast bouncy or slow flat pitches but another skill altogether to play on green, cold and swinging conditions.