Belgrave South is an outer Melbourne suburb that isn’t known for much.
Nestled in the lower outskirts of the Dandenong Ranges (and only 5 minutes from my house in Menzies Creek), it’s the type of place where you go to get away from it all.
Gum trees, kookaburras, swamp wallabies, the odd hippie and some bloke called Glenn Maxwell.
This enigma was thrust into the consciousness of every sceptical cricket fan when the Mumbai Indians stumped up USD$1 million for him in February 2013.
He had made a golden duck for Australia the day before in an ODI against the West Indies. That just about sums Maxwell up.
So, what is he?
An explosive T20 batsman?
A T20 finisher?
A partnership breaker with the ball?
A Test opener?
What about a Test number 3?
Test opening bowler then?
Ok, how about a wicket keeper?
Maxwell has performed all of these roles for Australia since the 2013 IPL auction that changed his life.
Arguably, he has excited the masses doing them, but has failed to assist his teams much while going about it.
And this is the problem.
What does Glenn Maxwell want to be when he grows up?
Without doubt, he is the epitome of the modern T20 player.
He can make 50’s of 19 balls and take double wicket maidens to close out a game with his nude slow straight balls.
He claims that the reverse sweep is no different to a cover drive if practiced enough. Perhaps David Gower mastered the wrong stroke?
You would be hard pressed to find a cricket fan who doesn’t think that T20 is where Maxwell belongs. Amongst the razzamattaz of the dancing girls and Bollywood celebrities, dodgy bookmakers and cricketing guns for hire.
However, Maxwell dreams of being much more. Don’t pigeon hole him as a slogger. He thinks he is better than that.
But is he?
No one polarises Australian cricket fans more than Maxwell when he plays the longer forms of the game. Not even Shane Watson.
Maxwell is proving through his performances in ODI’s that he doesn’t have the patience to build an innings. The most balls he has ever faced is 81. More is expected from the number 5.
In the Test arena, Australia have found more uses for him than the proverbial Swiss Army Knife.
However, no matter where he bats, his longest innings has still only lasted 28 balls.
The juxtaposition is that he averages over 40 in First Class cricket.
That’s more than most of the guys currently fighting for the open number 3 Test spot.
More than Doolan, Shaun Marsh, Ed Cowan and Callum Ferguson.
However, he appears the least likely to make the position a success.
Perhaps he is simply a misunderstood off spin bowler. Australia’s version of Shahid Afridi minus the dodgy birth certificate?
In Test matches he has a better strike rate than James Anderson by a considerable margin. In fact, it is under 50 which is where many of the greats reside.
He also has a T20I economy rate under 7, which for an off spinner is superb.
However, he is clearly not a front line bowler.
Perhaps the error is with us?
We attempt to label him as this and that, when in fact, maybe he deserves no label?
A new breed of all rounder?
So, what does Glenn Maxwell want to be when he grows up?
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