Pakistan v Australia 2012 August 15, 2012

Maxwell vows to keep his natural flair


If you mention the name Glenn Maxwell to the casual Australian cricket fan you can expect one of two responses. Either they'll think they've heard him commentating on the radio (no, that's Glenn Mitchell and Jim Maxwell), or they won't know the name at all. But the more dedicated followers of Australia's domestic cricket are well aware of Maxwell, and have no doubt kept an eye on his progress since February 9 last year.

That was the night when Maxwell rewrote the record books with a 19-ball half-century for Victoria against Tasmania, the fastest fifty ever scored in Australia's domestic one-day history. He demolished a pretty good attack featuring Ben Hilfenhaus and James Faulkner, and most impressively set Victoria on the path to victory having come to the crease with 66 runs needed at more than ten an over. It was his sixth one-day game for Victoria. He had not yet made his first-class debut.

Soon, Maxwell will have the chance to prove his talent at international level. He has been in Darwin over the past week, training with the Australia squad as they prepare to fly out for a one-day and Twenty20 series against Pakistan in the UAE, and he is also expected to be part of the squad for the World T20 in Sri Lanka next month. And don't expect anything different from Maxwell when he walks out in the national colours.

"I won't change too much when I play for Australia," Maxwell told ESPNcricinfo. "I'll still keep my natural flair but also rein it in when I need to and really be that rock if it's needed. I'm looking forward to getting some opportunities in the batting order and looking forward to doing what the team needs from me in the right situations, whether that be quick runs or saving our arses."

Sometimes, as the chase against Tasmania showed, the two are one and the same. Not that he has coasted solely on that performance since then. A month later he made his first Sheffield Shield hundred, an unbeaten 103 from 118 balls against South Australia, and as a T20 player he has earned contracts from the Delhi Daredevils and Hampshire. In his third county match this year, his 66 not out from 32 balls delivered a crushing victory over Kent.

And yet, it is for his offspin and athletic fielding as much as his batting that Maxwell has earned a call-up from Australia. His presence in the T20 squad can be seen as a like-for-like swap for Steven Smith, who has had his chances at international level without quite grasping his opportunities. Both are impact players, thrilling to watch but at times unpredictable. Australia's T20 captain, George Bailey, is excited by what Maxwell can offer in the World T20 in Sri Lanka.

"Maxy is someone who in terms of the 15 for the World Cup just comes with a really specific skill set that we really like," Bailey said. "He's performed well in the IPL, he's been over playing in England, he's played a lot of cricket. He's an outstanding fielder, an outstanding athlete.

"When he strikes the ball he's one of the best strikers going around. He can win a game off his own bat. He's really destructive, which we love to see. He's flexible - he can bat close to the top or in the lower order. And he's a handy offspin bowler, and that was an area where we felt we needed a bit more cover."

Maxwell, 23, will be one of three spinners in Australia's squad for the Pakistan one-dayers and T20s, along with Smith and Xavier Doherty for the ODIs and Doherty and Brad Hogg for the T20s. A useful man to bowl through the middle overs, Maxwell is looking forward to working in what he expects to be favourable conditions in the UAE.

"The good thing with the UAE and the conditions we'll get there is that I probably can be considered a frontline bowler and be a real go-to option to bowl eight to ten overs in a one-day game," he said. "It will depend on team balance and what they need, if they want to play extra quicks, I'm not sure if the conditions will suit that. I think they'll play a few spinners, so I reckon I'll have a good chance of playing a few games over there."

And if he shows what he showed that night in Hobart, especially when Australia move on to World T20 in Sri Lanka, even the most casual Australian cricket fan will know the name Glenn Maxwell. Because his namesake, Jim, will have just shouted it.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jayaesh on August 16, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    @KiwiRocker,mate you better stick to rugby and All Blacks because quite clearely you don't know your cricket !! IPL is the best domestic t-20 tournament in the world and some of the best batsmen of your team like Taylor,McCullum and Ryder,Franklin struggled to get going against these third rated bowlers.Aussie team even with all it's questionable selections is stronger than this PAK side,who the hell apart from Imran Nazir and may be Umar Akmal has ability to hit sixes and a strike-rate over 100 ?? finally what do you think are the chances of All Blacks in 4 Nations tournament starting shortly....

  • Bobby on August 16, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal will be licking his lips looking at likes of Maxwell with suspect batting technique, over rated IPL scores aginst 3rd rated Indian bowling. Welcome to the real world Son! You are going to be playing against likes of Afridi who has been playing since 1997...That man has won more battles against so called Australian greats and walls and Gods than total runs scored by Maxwell in his entire career!

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2012, 0:27 GMT

    Its a bit difficult to know who these players are when the domestic cricket isn't on free to air tv anymore. And I refuse to get pay tv just for cricket.

  • Andrew on August 15, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    @whitesXI - I agree in that I think Maxwell's career on a National level EARLY on will best be suited as a low order allrounder. There are currently only 10 players to have ever had a career S/R of more than 100 in ODIs (500 balls faced), only Sehwag & Afridi have scored 1,000 or more runs, if Maxwell can maintain somewhere NEAR his List A career S/R of 143 in ODIs, he'll put the cream on top of a lot of Oz innings, & be a feared presence at #6/7 or 8.

  • Dummy4 on August 15, 2012, 21:30 GMT

    Maxwell is the greatest outfielder I've ever seen

  • Alex on August 15, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @Dashgar - agree completely on almost everything stated in your first post, I'd only state that Maxwell opening the batting is a bit of an exaggeration, as a relatively new player in the higher formats Maxwell could probably bat effectively at 4-8, only open under extreme circumstances (many years to improve if necessary). I'd also like to add that Maxwell is either an attacking wicket taker or an economic bowler, never both, he can take a wicket or two but gets hammered for 6-8 an over or can bowl to defensive offside field to restrict runs (very few spin bowlers can manage to be economical and take wickets early in their careers, experience is definitely needed). Having said all that, the ease at which Maxwell has taken to FC, list A and t20 competitions around the globe shows he is one to watch and a terrific find for both VIC and AUS. A superstar in the making 100%

  • Bryn on August 15, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    maxwells an awesome player very exciting. i think steve smith has been used incorrectly, he should be in the t20 squad without doubt with the way he played in the BBL and the his tremendous IPL campaign. cant see how shaun marsh one of the best t20 batsmen in world cricket has been left out of the side aswell. ridiculous stuff. faulkner also unlucky. ill have to look at the team again but surely mitch marsh is in the side??? how can you leave out the 2nd best t20 allrounder in the world (after watto)

  • Randolph on August 15, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    The young guns coming through for Australia are incredible.

  • Garry on August 15, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    I've liked the look of Maxwell, his offies are steadily improving and his hitting can be very effective. The only thing on him is that I think he can try and hit the ball too hard and lose his shape. He's a clean striker of the ball all around the wicket so would hate to see him just swing everything over cow. Ross Taylor from NZ is similar, strokes all around the wicket but can sometimes pull everything across to leg. Looks good when they are bouncing off the grandstand roof or hitting people canoeing in the adjacent river but can restrict their total effectiveness. Mitch Marsh will get his opportunity, I think Shaun should be there for this WC T20 but both should feature in the next few years particularly in the shorter formats. It's probably unpopular to back Shaun after the last home summer but I think he'll play a key role in the Aussie test side in years to come. Mitch will be important too but needs more in 1st class runs/wickets as @Meety mentioned in another post.

  • Andrew on August 15, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    @Adrian Meredith _ i think there is much more upside in M Marsh than Maxwell, but MMarsh needs to score more runs & take more wickets. ATM - Maxwell is much better & like what @Dashgar said, Maxwells spin option is better suited to the SL conditions.

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