Glenn Maxwell seems to have become an elephant in Kings XI Punjab dressing room. Consecutive failures are still not enough to keep him out of Punjab playing XI. The misfiring Australian was paid a hefty sum of INR 10.75 crore, but so far for nothing.
Expectations were high when he played a pivotal role in Australia’s victories in the Twenty20 International and One Day International Series victories in England, just ahead of the Indian Premier League.
He scored a scintillating century in his 212-run series defining partnership with Alex Carey in a three-wicket victory over England that sealed the ODI series for Australia. Maxwell hitting back form following a hiatus was a welcome news for Punjab.
But 24 days after his England tour exploits, Maxwell is suddenly into the epicenter of Punjab’s back to back failures, putting the franchise in danger of being eliminated from the tournament. Maxwell’s numbers are terrible following the completion of first round of matches for Punjab.
He has scores of 1, 5, 13, 11, 11 not out, 7 and 10 not out as Punjab has lost six out of the seven games they have played so far in the tournament. In a thrilling two-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday, Maxwell’s final ball hit landed just inches in front of the boundary rope.
A six would have forced the game to Super Over and Maxwell, to some extent, could have eased the pressure on himself. But he missed and his big-hitting abilities now have been questioned. Maxwell, named the Big Show, has been a no-show this season right from the beginning. Something is not right with him.
He was out for one when Mayank Agarwal did all the job for Punjab in a 158-run chase against Delhi Capitals only to see his side lose the match in Super Over. He didn’t have to do much when KL Rahul smashed 132 against Royal Challengers Bangalore as Punjab posted a mammoth 206-3 and bundled out their opponents for a tournament-low 109.
Maxwell had scored five off six after coming in the 16th over, a perfect stage of the game to fire. He was 13 not out from nine balls when Rahul and Agarwal shared 183-run opening wicket stand and guided Punjab to 223-2 but ultimately lost to Rajasthan Royals and Rahul Tewatia heroics.
Another chance went begging when Maxwell fell for 11 in chase of Mumbai Indians’ 191-4. Having sent their most expensive player in the 14th over with six wickets in hand, it would have been Punjab’s day had Maxwell fired. And the misery compounded more when he was run out for seven when Punjab were chasing 202 against Hyderabad.
To sum up, Maxwell has not looked comfortable at all. Former Indian and Punjab opener Virender Sehwag questioned his abilities expressing surprise over franchises running after him in auction.
“Don’t know what sort of a platform Glenn Maxwell needs to explode. He came in early (against Sunrisers Hyderabad) after Punjab lost two batsmen quickly. A lot of overs were left this time, but he failed. Earlier, he didn’t have pressure (batting in the death overs in previous matches), yet he got out without performing,” Sehwag told cricbuzz.com.
In the 2020 IPL auction there was a three-horse race to grab Maxwell. It included Bangalore, Delhi and Punjab before the latter won the race. “I can’t quite understand his mindset because it’s been the same story every year. He gets sold in the auction for a hefty price but the result remains the same. Yet, people (franchises) run after him. This is something I don’t understand, added Sehwag.
Former England spinner Graeme Swann was also shocked to see Maxwell winning his place despite consecutive failures. “I’m flabbergasted that Maxwell has retained his place,” Swann said after Punjab included him in the playing XI for Saturday’s match against Kolkata.
“Maxwell’s been paid a lot of money and at the moment he’s not quite giving the returns. He’s a quality player, he scored runs for Australia in England, he’s just got to take more responsibility,” Swann said.
Maxwell, who has now gone 63 balls in the tournament without hitting a six, is also under fire from former England international Kevin Pietersen calling for his axing from the squad prior to Saturday’s game.