Maxwell determined his biggest show won’t be a sideshow
PALLEKELE – Glenn Maxwell is hoping his brilliant unbeaten 145 in the first Twenty20 against Sri Lanka will put him back on track to represent Australia in the longer formats of the game.
The 65-ball knock, featuring 14 fours and nine sixes, was the second highest in international T20s and drove Australia to a world record tally as well as a comfortable 85-run victory.
The tourists’ 263-3 bettered the 260-6 that Sri Lanka racked up against Kenya at the 2007 World Twenty20 and matched the format record of 263-5 that Royal Challengers managed against the Puna Warriors in the 2013 IPL.
Maxwell’s biggest international score was all the sweeter as it came after he was dropped for the longer format matches in Sri Lanka and left out of the squad for an upcoming one-day series in South Africa.
“I’ve been out of the one-day team for a while now, so to get my first crack back in the main team and to do as well as I did today was brilliant,” he told reporters in Pallekele.
“I had doubted a fair bit about my ability at this level and to come out and strike the ball like I did today was really pleasing.”
Burdened with the unwanted nickname “The Big Show” in 2013, Maxwell has had to battle perceptions about his enigmatic talent ever since.
No-one doubts his ability as a fast-scoring batsman who can bowl useful offspin but the reverse sweeps, pulls and paddle shots have laid him open to accusations of being, in his own words, an “egocentric show off”.
On Tuesday, he opened for the first time in the shortest form of the international game and revelled in the liberation from the responsibility of his usual middle order role.
“When you’re in the middle order you have to be proactive the whole time and it seems that if you get out playing a big shot at that stage of the game, it all falls on your shoulders,” he added.
“At the top of the order you’ve got a bit more freedom to get yourself into the game and just play pretty normal cricket shots without taking too many risks.”
Regular opener Aaron Finch was ruled out of the match by a broken finger but was on hand at the drinks breaks to remind Maxwell that he owns the record for an international T20 innings with the 156 he blasted against England in 2013.
Ultimately, Maxwell was unable to get on strike long enough in the last few overs to overhaul Finch’s mark but the 27-year-old thought the innings could mark a turnaround in his fortunes.
Maxwell admitted he been hurt by a year which started with a match-winning 96 in a one-dayer against India in Melbourne but by July saw him relegated to the Australia “A” side, where he admitted his form had been “pitiful”.
“I hold pretty high standards for myself when I do play that level, I expect to dominate it, I expect to score a lot of runs,” he said.
“Having that innings at the MCG, I thought 2016 was the year I was going to break open world cricket. And then to just drop off completely in the one-day format was really disappointing.”
The greatest hurt, he said, came when he was omitted from the squad for three tests in Sri Lanka, in which Australia’s batting on slow pitches was once again exposed and they were swept 3-0.
Despite his prowess on the sub-continent, Maxwell thinks he deserves a chance to add to his three test caps on home soil against South Africa and Pakistan later this year. “All my red ball runs have been made in England or Australia so on the back of that, I’d like to be picked in Australia,” he said. -Reuters