This IPL, he has kept his team owners delighted, the cheerleaders busy, his team-mates at non-striker’s end, and the balls out of the ground. The only section which hasn’t enjoyed his spectacular hitting has been the bowlers. Glenn Maxwell – the man who was bought by the Mumbai Indians at IPL 2013 last year, has been the star of the seventh edition of the IPL so far, with two breathtaking innings.
Mumbai Indians seem to have done a blunder by not retaining a power-hitter in Maxwell. The only two overseas players retained by Mumbai were Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard, and they used their Right to Match card, to get back Pragyan Ojha, who has leaked 73 runs from eight overs, without a wicket from two matches.
Even after they had bought him for a whopping sum of 1 million dollars in the auction ahead of IPL 2013, Maxwell got to play just three matches for the Rohit Sharma-led side last year, from which he scored 36 runs. But this season, he has blasted his team – the Kings XI Punjab - to two consecutive victories in high scoring matches.
The Australian all-rounder seems to have carried his form from the ICC World T20 into the IPL.
In the ICC World T20, he was playing a fine knock against India, before he attempted a reverse-sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin and was bowled. When he faced the first ball from the same spinner in IPL 7, he made sure to play the same shot, this time for a boundary.
The power which he generates while playing those reverse-sweeps and switch-hits is quite amazing. He is extremely fond of playing reverse-sweeps, which have yielded him plenty of boundaries on numerous occasions. If you watch him bat during highlights, it is difficult to make out whether he bats left-handed or right-handed. A reverse-sweep over deep back point is as easy for him as a slog-sweep over deep midwicket.
In the past, Kings XI Punjab have had some terrific Australian players in Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey, Shaun Marsh, Ryan Harris, considering which, they added three more to the list – Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey. While the fearsome speedster and the skipper are yet to make a significant impact, Maxwell has single-handedly won two matches for his franchise.
For a change, the ardent cricket fans haven`t missed the absence of Chris Gayle – who had a monopoly in terms of clobbering balls out of the ground in IPL. While Gayle`s game is all about power-hitting, Maxwell has a better technique, which helps him play all sorts of strokes. No matter what the situation is, he walks to the crease with the body language of a champion, something which has probably helped the other players as well.
David Miller is another batsman, who has been in good touch and has finished the innings for Punjab, after Maxwell`s brutal assaults. Punjab are now suddenly looking a formidable side with those two incredible wins over Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
While Maxwell is undoubtedly looking the most dangerous batsman this season, Punjab cannot expect him to play a match-winning innings every time, and their bowlers need to pull up the socks as well.