Twelve innings, 169 runs, an average of 14. Glenn Maxwell had a terrible IPL 2018. His team, Delhi Daredevils, did not fare much better: with five wins in 14 games, they finished bottom of the points table.
Still, given their own form, Daredevils persisted with Maxwell for 12 of the 13 games he was available for, ahead of Colin Munro and Jason Roy, who played only five matches each. "We wanted to put the team on the park that we felt was going to give us the best chance of winning the game," Daredevils coach Ponting said of why Maxwell had been preferred. "If you look through the overseas batsmen we have, we all felt that Glenn Maxwell was going to be the best chance of being a match-winner for us, so we stuck with him.
"Before the first game I had Glenn Maxwell pencilled in as our No. 4 batsman," Ponting said after Daredevils beat Mumbai Indians on Sunday, ending their season on a rare high. "He missed the first game for personal reasons obviously, [for] Aaron Finch's wedding, which meant Rishabh [Pant] batted at No. 4 in game one and played well.
"When Glenn came back into the side he batted at No. 5, which is probably a position that he hasn't played that much."
Pant had batted at No. 5 in Daredevils' first game, teeing off for 28 off 13 with four fours and a six, and when Maxwell joined the squad, he began by opening the innings, scoring 17 off 12. The pair moved around the order in the following game, before Pant settled in at No. 4 and Maxwell dropped to No. 5 for a while. In that first innings at No. 5, Maxwell seemed to hit form with 47 off 22, but he got into double digits only three times more in the season.
"Having spoken to [Maxwell] a few times through the tournament, he just said he felt frustrated that he'd hadn't been able to make an impact on the result of the game for his team," Ponting said. "He's an outstanding cricketer there's no doubt about that."
Ponting pointed out that Maxwell was in top T20 form coming into the IPL. In the preceding T20 tri-series in February, which involved Australia, New Zealand and England, Maxwell finished as the second highest run-scorer (five innings, 233 runs, top score 103*, strike rate, 166.42), and was named Player of the Series after Australia won the final.
"I wish I knew [why he couldn't find form in the IPL]. I have spent a long time with Maxwell over the years," Ponting said. "Only a few weeks before this tournament came around, I spent the triangular series with him with the Australian team. Did a lot of work with him there, he was actually Man of the Series in that tournament coming over here. He was coming here in good form and having played a little bit of T20 cricket."