All is (MAX) well with Kings XI Punjab

A peek into Glenn Maxwell’s unique Book of Batting

Sharjah 21 April 2014
On Sunday night, cricket balls at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium had taken a sound beating. They were landing on the roof, hitting the advertising boards and going into the stands on demand.

The setting was perfect: A team trying to chase down a huge total under lights, a batsman (read Glenn Maxwell) brutalising the cricket ball and sending shivers down the bowlers’ spines and a dramatic finish to the whole scenario. You had it all. One only wished they could hear the late great Tony Greig in the background shouting in the microphone, “They are dancing in the aisles in Sharjah!” as the action unfolded.

The crowd had witnessed yet another Maxwell special in this year’s edition of the IPL. Rajasthan Royals couldn’t quite come to terms as to what had struck them over a period of an hour that was filled with Maxwell Mayhem. They were speechless, but in the end, had no choice but to appreciate yet another ‘special’ knock from Glenn Maxwell. It is the second consecutive time that the Kings XI Punjab had chased down a huge total, courtesy David Miller and Glenn Maxwell.

We at caught up with the man of the moment to try and flip through the pages of Maxwell’s Book of Batting. 

Read on to know more about the batting psyche of Maxwell the Mauler:

Do you have any idea how fast you swing your bat?

(Laughs) Fast! Very fast! I have been told that numerous times by a lot of people, but that is because I try to hit the ball as hard as I can.

Do you think the Mumbai Indians would be ruing the fact that they let go off you?

At that time, it was probably the right decision for Mumbai Indians to let me go. You don’t expect to make two big scores like that in a row and I have had a bit of luck as well. Hopefully, the luck stays with me and I can keep making some big scores.

Two huge totals to chase, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Kings XI Punjab.

We have won chasing two big totals and we are pretty happy to be where we are at the moment. At the same time, we still have a lot to work in the nets. Our bowling and fielding has not been up to the mark in the first two games, but it is nice that the batting group can save them and get us over the line.

See ball, hit ball – is that Glenn Maxwell’s way of batting?

No, not really. I actually try to manipulate the fielders as much as I can. It depends on the bowler and the size of the boundary, which I try to target. I targeted the short boundary tonight and the wicket was holding up when they bowled slower balls. I just try to target areas that I feel are my strengths and also survey the field. At the moment, I have got something that is working for me and I am going to keep trying to do that as much as I can. It is just about batting the way you think you bat best and that is what I am trying to do.

When you got out, the team still needed 60-plus to win. Were you confident David Miller would finish the job?

I did think Miller will finish the game for us. With Miller and George Bailey to come, I thought we still had enough fire power to finish the job. I was frustrated when I got out since the job was still half done and I felt I should have been there to get those runs. It is frustrating to get out in both the games and not finish it when the winning runs are definitely there for the taking.

A 95 against Chennai Super Kings and now 89 against Rajasthan Royals. Which innings would you rate higher?

I would rate this one higher than the one that I played against Chennai Super Kings. Tonight, it was a slow outfield, and the bowling attack I was facing was more challenging. They bowled well according to the conditions and I felt this one was a bit more under pressure. I would rate both these innings at the top two of my list in my T20 career. I have hit a really good patch of form now, and hopefully, I can continue for the next 12 games in the Pepsi IPL, and beyond.

Was there any pressure on you while chasing both these huge totals?

I don’t get burdened by pressure. Pressure is something that you put on yourself. I put pressure on myself before a game or before I go out to bat. But once when I go out there to bat, I just enjoy it and have a little bit of fun. I look at the total and take it from there.

You have a team that has power-packed players like Virender Sehwag, Geroge Bailey, David Miller and yourself. Who amongst you hits the ball hardest?

I think David Miller has got that area comfortably covered and George Bailey is similar to me. He probably hits bigger sixes than I do. I just try to get them over the rope, but Bailey hits them hard and far. Those guys are massive hitters of the cricket ball. If there are times I fail, hopefully I don’t, I am sure at that time, those guys are going to go hard.

There are a lot of batsmen who are innovative in their shot making and shot selection. Who amongst the current breed of cricketers is the best according to you?

I feel AB de Villiers is one of the best. He is a very clever batsman. He steps around the crease and keeps his head still. He is probably the one who is the most clever when it comes to hitting in different areas and manipulating the bowlers.

What is the one thing that AB de Villiers has that you don’t?

Test hundreds. (Laughs) He has hundreds in almost all formats and is a superstar of the game. He is someone who I look up to and is one of my favorite cricketers to watch. I still have a long way to go to get to anywhere near his standards.         
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