Maxwell, More Than Just Big Hit­ting

The Aus­tralian's im­pact goes be­yond his strike rate, with the abil­ity to of­fer his team­mates free­dom to do just about any­thing

The Economic Times - - Q - RA­JASTHAN

Glenn Maxwell could not pos­si­bly get any bet­ter. Picked up for Rs 6 crore, he’s given the Kings XI Pun­jab its great­est re­turn on in­vest­ment. In ten matches, he has scored 517 runs, av­er­ag­ing 51.7 at an as­ton­ish­ing strike rate of 198.08. But, as re­mark­able as Maxwell’s batting has been, there’s one facet of his game that is more com­mend­able. More re­mark­able than his stroke-play, more ex­tra­or­di­nary than his power and def­i­nitely wor­thy of far greater praise than the re­verse sweeps and the switch hits. And that has been his self­less at­ti­tude to­wards batting. Four phenom­e­nal in­nings, and four op­por­tu­ni­ties to make his­tory. Maxwell could have be­come the first man to score four cen­turies in a sin­gle sea­son. But, ev­ery time he failed to do so, he had his eyes on Pun­jab’s score, not his own. With the ex­cep­tion of the game against Chen­nai, when he was cas­tled by a yorker, Maxwell fell try­ing to clear the boundary. Against Ra­jasthan, when Pun­jab were chas­ing 192, Maxwell fell on 89 in the 14th over with them sill re­quir­ing 66 runs. He mishit a fuller de­liv­ery from Kane Richard­son, still go­ing af­ter the bowl­ing. In the next match, with Pun­jab batting first against Hy­der­abad, hav­ing hit Amit Mishra for a six, he at­tempted to clear long-off, only for the ball to sail into the wait­ing hands of Dar­ren Sammy. Maxwell fell five short of a century, with two overs re­main­ing in the in­nings.

And then, most re­cently, in Pun­jab’s sec­ond match against Chen­nai, Maxwell holed out to deep mid­wicket when he was on 90 with 16 balls to go.

It would seem he sim­ply does not care what score he is on. If there is a ball to be hit, he tries to hit it.

While Maxwell has scored 75.04% of his runs in bound­aries, his batting isn’t all about the big hit­ting ei­ther. He’s a busy player, who gives as much im­por­tance to run­ning be­tween the wick­ets. In this, he stands in stark con­trast to Chris Gayle, the player who took IPL by storm.

While Gayle had an im­pres­sive strike rate (156.29) in the 2013 edi­tion, there were an in­cred­i­bly large num­ber of dot balls played by him. Let’s look at the fig­ures. Of the 261 balls faced by Maxwell, only 73 have been dots—or 27.96%. Gayle, on the other hand, faced 453 balls in IPL 6, of which 190 of them were dots—or 41.94%. The dif­fer­ence means that if both Gayle and Maxwell were to play 20 overs each, Gayle con­sumes 16.77 dot balls more than Maxwell, which is close to three overs, sub­stan­tial in a 20-over in­nings. A com­par­i­son of the two play­ers’ Im­pact In­dex also sug­gest other dif­fer­ences be­tween them (sea­son seven vs sea­son six). Maxwell’s Batting Im­pact (3.33) has been 37% higher than Gayle’s (2.43) in IPL 6. Two, his Strike Rate Im­pact (0.69) has been three times that of Gayle’s (0.23). Three, while Gayle had a 44% fail­ure rate in IPL 6, Maxwell’s fail­ure rate so far has been 20%. Be­fore the ICC World T20, Maxwell had a ca­reer fail­ure rate of 57%. His rate of scor­ing has also served to re­lieve pres­sure from the rest of the or­der. Bats­men who’ve come in af­ter his de­par­ture have time to play them­selves in and free­dom to do just about any­thing. Their strike rates have of­ten been as good, and on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions, even bet­ter than Maxwell’s. David Miller’s 19-ball, un­beaten 51 against Ra­jasthan Roy­als and Ge­orge Bai­ley’s un­beaten 13-ball 40 against Chen­nai, have been just a few ex­am­ples of the kind of free­dom Maxwell’s knocks have af­forded the rest of the or­der. And it could well be said that his 95 against Chen­nai in Pun­jab’s opener gave his team the self-be­lief to chase an iden­ti­cal 205 against Sun­ris­ers Hy­der­abad on Wed­nes­day (May 14), with Wrid­dhi­man Saha and Manan Vohra leading the py­rotech­nics be­fore he even walked on to the field.

Wis­den In­dia (in­puts from Im­pact In­dex)

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