Maxwell learns ‘perform or perish’ lesson the hard way


Glenn Maxwell‘s exclusion from the Australian side for the limited-overs leg of the Sri Lanka tour seems justified, even though it might enrage few fans but it is the bitter truth.  The Australian all-rounder Maxwell has accepted the axing, and has vowed to perform better in domestic circuit. He has not been able to match expectations of his selectors and has had a torrid time overseas. The year 2016 has been a horrible one for Maxwell, as his average has dropped at an alarming rate. He has been able to score only a single half-century in 13 ODIs (12 innings) played this year, and has been influential at home but clueless on pitches overseas. Maxwell has failed to get starts, let alone winning matches for his team. He has 3 ducks this year so far and at seven instances Maxwell failed to make it to double digits. Maxwell has scored 228 runs at an atrocious 22.44 this year. Even these statistics look good seeing the kind of form he has showed in past couple of months. In home conditions Maxwell has scored 169 in 4 matches at 56.63, that too against India. This includes a match-winning 96 runs, single-handedly changing the course of the game.Maxwell’s overseas statistics have been completely opposite, with 58 runs in 8 matches at a lowly 8.43. It includes a single match-winning 46 towards the end in the Tri-Nation series featuring South Africa and West Indies, barring that innings his average is not even worth mentioning.His New Zealand endeavour can be considered as his worst performance in a series, with mere 6 runs in 3 matches including 2 ducks. That series marked the start of his bad phase as he failed to perform in Indian Premier League (IPL) for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). He was able to score 179 runs in 11 matches at  19.88. IPL has been his den, but in the 2016 edition, Maxwell cutting a sorry figure was one of the horror sights. Not only Maxwell’s average, his strike rate too dropped while playing overseas. Though, a strike rate of 109.26 will not be considered bad any day but given Maxwell’s standard, it is. Maxwell has a strike rate of 125.74 in ODIs which is only the second to West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell.Maxwell has struggled to stay at crease, throwing his wicket away trying to attack the bowlers at times right from the beginning. Perhaps looking to spend time in the middle may help him eke out runs rather than being over aggressive, as has been his style. A relook at the technique, game plan and how to pace innings and even lowering strike rate may work.Not just his batting, but his bowling too has taken a hit. With 7 wickets in 13 matches further divided into 3 wickets at home and 4 overseas. Maxwell’s credentials meet the requirement of a perfect all-rounder, but his recent performances have stated otherwise.During IPL 9, he expressed concern over a berth in Australia’s Test side for Sri Lanka tour. He wished to be Nathan Lyon’s side kick on the tour — Maxwell has operated as Australia’s specialist spinner in ODIs — with his spin bowling in favourable subcontinent conditions. But his approach towards the starting of innings and his restlessness when runs are hard to come by in initial stages made selectors refrain from selecting him in the side. He had a good Sheffield Shield season with the bat averaging around 55, but current form does not support his claim.It was quite dubious to expect a Test berth when he failed to make a mark on the docile Caribbean wickets.That made Australian selector and former player, Rod Marsh to exclude him from the ODI side for Sri Lanka tour. However, a disappointed Maxwell has taken it as a challenge and one can only hope he clears this hurdle soon.(Arun Rawal, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a daydreamer, movie buff, and cricket fanatic. He could not play cricket, so did the next best thing, writing for it. He loves to play the flick shot over square leg, and believes Sachin Tendulkar is God. His Twitter handle is @ArunRawal93)

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