Less than six months ago, Glenn Maxwell had applied to shift to New South Wales from Victoria for the 2016-17 Australian domestic season. The move, meant to revive his career, was blocked by Victoria. (DAY 1 Highlights)
Maxwell was then shockingly left out of Victoria’s first Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania. When Maxwell eventually found a spot in the team, he was asked to bat below wicketkeeper Matthew Wade at No.6. (DAY 1 Scorecard)
A frustrated Maxwell then made a few comments against Wade which didn’t go down well with Australia skipper Steven Smith. He was also fined by the team management. Later, Dean Jones suggested Maxwell needed a mentor.
One wonders if the issue ever came up while Maxwell and Smith were stitching the highest partnership of this series on Thursday.
Even if it didn’t, Maxwell has done more than enough to let everyone know that he deserves to be where he is now. If Smith was the anchor of Australia’s dominant show on the first day, Maxwell was its driving force. He wouldn’t have even been part of the eleven had Mitchell Marsh not got injured.
But Maxwell, it seems, had luck on his side.
‘The Big Show’ was not going to throw it away in a match that could potentially revive his Test career after a 29-month lull. An uncharacteristically slow start was proof that Maxwell was extra cautious. For the first 50 balls he faced on Thursday, Maxwell scored 19 runs and hadn’t hit a single boundary.
Only after he had gone past 38, his previous highest Test score, did Maxwell look more relieved and ready to play shots. A massive six over midwicket raised Maxwell’s first Test fifty. It wasn’t a flashy shot. In fact, for most of his innings, Maxwell played genuine cricket shots, like the straight inside-out six over Ravindra Jadeja’s head in the 82nd over. He could have been dismissed on the previous delivery had India been more aware of the feather touch the ball took off his gloves after hitting his pad before finally going to slip. But this was clearly Maxwell’s day.
“I think he’s looked pretty calm and relaxed and showed that he can play well,” said Australia opener Matt Renshaw about Maxwell. “He is a class player and showed that he could do it in Test cricket. You hear about this in the media a lot, that he is a bit of a cowboy. I think he just played some good cricket shots.”
Popular in India for his quick IPL knocks, a new side of Maxwell was revealed on Thursday. He was recently announced captain of Kings XI Punjab. And now there is a chance to score his maiden century here. Given what Maxwell has got from India till date, he may not return empty-handed on Friday.