Livescore Sunday, May 19

IPL 2024

Maxwell has had a poor campaign.

Maxwell has had a poor campaign. © Sportzpics

Glenn Maxwell revealed after Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s game against Sunrisers Hyderabad that he asked to be left out of the XI inorder to refresh himself mentally and physically after a forgettable start to the season. Self-admittedly, the maverick Australia all-rounder entered IPL 2024 on the back of his best six month phase in international cricket but has been unable to translate that into runs for RCB, aggregating just 32 runs from six innings at an average of 5.33.

“For me, personally, it was a pretty easy decision,” Maxwell said on Monday (April 16) addressing the press conference after RCB’s sixth defeat in seven games. “I went to Faf [du Plessis] and the coaches after the last game and said I felt it was probably time we tried someone else. I have been in this situation in the past where you can keep playing and get yourself deeper into a hole. I think now is actually a good time for me to give myself a bit of a mental and physical break, get my body right. If I’m required to get in during the tournament, I can hopefully get back into a really solid mental and physical space where I can still have an impact.

“We have had a pretty big deficiency straight after the powerplay, which has been my area of strength over the last couple of seasons. I felt like I wasn’t contributing in a positive way with the bat, and with the results and the position we find ourselves on the table, I think it’s a good time to give someone else an opportunity to show their wares, and hopefully, someone can make that spot their own.”

Maxwell reflected on the season opener against Chennai Super Kings to illustrate the fickle nature of the format and his dramatic downturn in form. He was dismissed for a first-ball duck in that game, caught behind trying to run a Mustafizur Rahman delivery to third man. The 35-year-old had entered the season on a high, having hit two spectacular T20I hundreds, in Guwahati (vs India) and in Adelaide (vs West Indies), inside three months, right after an ODI World Cup campaign during which he scored a scarcely believable double hundred in a chase against Afghanistan.

In between, Maxwell also enjoyed a decent BBL season for the Melbourne Stars, scoring 244 runs from nine innings at a strike-rate of 173.57, producing quick, if not big runs.

“T20 cricket can be like that sometimes – it’s a pretty fickle game,” he reflected. “Even if you look at the first game, I ran one off the middle of the bat to the keeper. I picked up the length really well, saw a scoring opportunity, but opened the face a little bit too much. When you are going well, that goes wide of the gloves, you get a boundary, you are 4 off 1, and you are away for the tournament.

“I probably just haven’t got away – it’s as simple as that. In the first few games, I feel I made reasonably good decisions, but I was still finding ways to get out. It can happen in T20 cricket and when it snowballs like that, you can go searching and try too hard and forget the basics of the game.”

Maxwell copped a blow to his hand while fielding in RCB’s previous game away against Mumbai Indians and while scans cleared him of any serious injury, it may have accentuated the need for a physical and mental reboot. As it turned out, the clash against SRH saw the the highest aggregate of runs – 549 – in a T20 match. He was asked if, in hindsight, he wished he had played one more game before this decision to rest. “I did notice during the powerplay that the pitch was not as slow and two-paced as it has been in the first few games,” Maxwell replied. “And I realised it was probably a bad game to miss; it would have been nice to be out there batting.

“But as I said, I wanted to give myself not just the physical break but also the mental break to give myself the right to play professional cricket. I take a lot of pride in my performance, and I put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get my body right for every game. And it has been a pretty tough struggle, given my body is on the wrong side of 30. I think that physical and mental toll probably just wore me down a little bit.”

Maxwell has had three excellent seasons with RCB, aggregating 513 runs at 144.10, 301 runs at 169.1 and 400 runs at 183.49 between 2021 and 2023 respectively. In fact, the franchise’s signing of Maxwell ahead for a whopping INR 14.25 crores had been fraught with risk. For it had been seven years since he turned heads and dropped jaws in IPL 2014 and subsequent gigs were either earned on that memory as well as periodic reminders of his ability in the Australian yellow.

The 2020 season with Kings XI Punjab, in which Maxwell managed a meagre 108 runs over 13 matches, was a particular lowpoint with the Australian citing mixed messaging and a lack of clarity in his role responsible for his poor returns. Asked if there were similar problems under the new coaching regime of Andy Flower and Mo Bobat at RCB this season, he replied in the negative and termed the RCB management ‘outstanding’.

“That was probably a different scenario,” Maxwell said of the 2020 season. “Back then the thing that was hurting me was I was bowling really well. So I was actually playing more as a spinner who was used at the back end [while batting]. We had KL [Rahul] and Mayank [Agarwal] who were the two leading run-scorers in the competition at that time, so there wasn’t a lot of balls left in the game. So I wasn’t able to get any match rhythm. And when I was, it was only for a few balls here and there.

“So I said the same thing to the Kings XI management back at the time, that we can have an overseas bowler in my place. But we didn’t have an offspinner as well. So I sort of played as an overseas offspinner who could bat a little bit.

“The management here has been outstanding. We’ve been working together on taking a fair bit of ownership and the off-field leadership staff is trying to help out as much as they can. Unfortunately, runs just haven’t come the way they should have when you are in really good form. I don’t think I’ve had a better six months in cricket leading into this tournament. So it’s frustrating when it ends up like this. But if I can get my body and my mind right, there’s no reason I can’t finish the tournament well if I do get another opportunity.”

© Cricbuzz


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