108 runs and 3 wickets in 13 matches that was all that Glenn Maxwell could manage with Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab) in IPL 2020. He was mocked, trolled and criticized for his performance during the tournament with his high price tag often being used against him. It was too harsh on him as he had come out fighting a mental health issue a year back. For a player whose presence in the side was enough to alter IPL predictions it was a quite a setback to be made fun of on the social media.
Kings XI Punjab looking to rejig their squad after constant failures over the last few seasons decided it was time to bid adieu to Maxwell and released him before the auctions earlier this year. There was an intense bidding war between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Chennai Super Kings, with RCB outbidding CSK and buying Maxwell for a 40% premium over his last contract. It made him one of the most expensive players to go under the hammer for this edition. This wasn’t surprising given the fact that Maxwell’s playing style and temperament is cast for his format of the game.
Lack of Clarity Let Maxwell Down in 2020
It wasn’t only his skills and form that worked against him during the last edition of the tournament. After ending his worst season at the IPL last year, Maxwell immediately struck form during the home series against India. On being asked about his return to form Maxwell had attributed it to the clarity in his role for the national side. Kings XI who had a disastrous tournament last year couldn’t really offer that clarity to their star all-rounder and frequent changes in his batting position and lack of bowling opportunities led to his downfall. This compounded the problem for a person who has singlehandedly turned in the tide on numerous occasions in this format of the game.
Rising from the Ashes
A good season in BBL 2020-21 where he led the Melbourne Stars scoring 379 runs at an average of 31.58 and 7 wickets restored confidence if there was lack of it anyways. Maxwell came into IPL 2021 with a positive frame of mind with his role clearly defined. Though Royal Challengers had good strength in the top order with Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal opening the batting and AB de Villiers down the order, the entry of Maxwell into the set-up has acted as a force multiplier for the side’s batting. Add to it few overs of smart bowling and agile fielding; Maxwell brings in the perfect package that was missing in the RCB setup for the last few seasons.
The Aussie all-rounder announced his intentions right from the start of the tournament with an important knock of 39 against the Mumbai Indians to get the monkey off his back. His 59 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the next game was the difference in the next game and was just a glimpse of what was to come from a player who can destroy any bowling attack on his day and dent confidence in the opposition camp. It was however the innings against Kolkata Knight Riders that testified the age old saying in cricket “form is temporary, class is permanent”
Coming into bat with the side struggling at 9 for 2, Maxwell took the game away from the KKR with his 49 ball 78 and set up a match winning stand with ADB. His scores of 22 and 25 in the last two games against the Chennai Super Kings and the Delhi Capitals have cemented his place as one of the most dependable players for the side this season. While Kohli hasn’t used much of his bowling so far as competition intensifies the RCB skipper can rely on Maxwell to bring his experience to play in the game.
His brilliant performances have meant that Maxwell has been topping the charts in IPL predictions and has become one of the most important clogs in the wheel for the Royal Challengers. The franchise which has been the butt of jokes in the last few seasons has been making the biggest news this season as they chase their maiden IPL title sitting at the top of the points table almost halfway through the season. If RCB are to say the final hurray after 13 years of wait, Glenn Maxwell would have a very important role to play for the remaining part of IPL 2021.
Are the Punjab Kings sulking having released him after a poor season? They surely would be at the moment seeing how Maxwell has brought about change in the fortunes of RCB with clarity in his role and their own lackluster show so far in the season.