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T20 World Cup 2022

Glenn Maxwell has paid back Australia’s trust before, and he can do so again

Glenn Maxwell has repaid Australia's faith in the past, can he do it again?
by Shashwat Kumar 4 minute read

Glenn Maxwell has been in ordinary T20I form. But despite a T20 World Cup looming, Australia should not be worrying about his lack of returns just yet, writes Shashwat Kumar.

Cast your mind back to late 2014. By then, Maxwell had established himself as a vital cog in Australia’s ODI middle order. Not many in the world could attack from the outset like he did, and his all-round ability made him an indispensable commodity in the Aussie setup. The numbers, though, painted a slightly different story.

Between September 1, 2014 and February 13, 2015 (the day before Australia’s victorious World Cup campaign began), he only mustered 309 runs in 13 ODI innings at an average of 23.76. His strike rate, which stood at 95, was also a significant downgrade from his career ODI strike rate of 125.


Hence, when Australia arrived at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to face England, there were a few question marks over Maxwell. Almost everyone knew what he was capable of. However, no one really knew what he would come up with. He quelled all those fears with a stunning 40-ball 66. Aaron Finch had given them an excellent start but had Maxwell not left a mark, Australia might not have gotten to an above-par total. Maxwell carried that form throughout the World Cup, scoring 324 runs at an average of 64.8, which included two fifties and a hundred. Those runs also came at a staggering strike rate of 182.

Cut to 2022, and Maxwell finds himself in a similar pre-World Cup situation. The format has changed; his fortunes, not quite. Since the start of 2021, he has only averaged 16.09, scoring 354 runs across 26 T20I innings. His strike rate has also dropped down to 122 during this period. He has not reached double figures in any of his last seven competitive outings either. His best score since June 2022 is 19, against Sri Lanka at Colombo.

Players of Maxwell’s ilk will never be consistent, simply because of the high percentage of risks they take. Thus, an average of 16.09 (since 2021) is not as catastrophic as it might first seem. What has been a bigger issue is his strike rate this year, which stands at 114.

These returns are likely to jeopardise anyone’s spot in top-quality sides, let alone the defending champions. He has also looked out of sync, and it will not be an exaggeration to suggest that he may be on the decline. But while discussing Maxwell, things are not as simple.

Despite his recent struggles, there is no denying that he is a genuine match-winner in the shortest format. On his day, he can tear apart any attack. He boasts of a range of strokes that helps him dominate irrespective of the conditions and the opposition. His strike rate in the middle overs in T20I cricket (144) is the highest in Australia’s current World Cup squad. Among batters to have scored 2,000 T20I runs, his career strike rate of 150 is the best.

Maxwell can also fill in as a sixth, or even a fifth bowler, providing Australia flexibility. While his batting has dipped since the start of 2021, his bowling has been as effective as it has always been. In this period, he has picked up seven wickets and has only conceded 7.47 an over. He is also among the best fielders in the world, and has the ability to produce a match-winning contribution on the field.

The biggest tilting scale in his favour, though, is not the assets he brings to the fore as a cricketer but the fact that he has been here and done this. For what it is worth, he showed that he could click into gear against India in the warm-up fixture at the Gabba. He did not run away with the game, but there were a couple of shots off Yuzvendra Chahal that made everyone sit up and take notice. The runs he scored will not go down in his T20I aggregate, but considering how sticky a patch he has encountered, they may help him return to where he wants to be.

Back in 2014/15, Maxwell’s struggles had cast a shadow over his sustainability at a home World Cup. The format is different in 2022, but the redemption arc is clear for him to complete. Despite having a strong squad back then, Australia were willing to give Maxwell a little elbow room to rediscover his mojo. The situation is quite similar ahead of the T20 World Cup either.

Maxwell has repaid Australia’s trust in the past, even when it seemed he would not. Now seven years older, his reflexes are not getting any better. But he is still the archetypal Twenty20 cricketer – someone most teams would fight to have on their side. Australia have that luxury, and because of the trust they have placed in him, they might just reap the rewards come the T20 World Cup, much like it happened in 2015.

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