One of the greatest T20 batters in the world when in full song, Glenn Maxwell has spectacularly turned around his Indian Premier League career after a fantastic debut season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2021. In the two seasons prior to this, he had scored just 277 runs across 25 matches. In IPL 2021, he has already chalked up 498 runs so far in 14 games at a phenomenal average of 45.27 and at a strike rate of 147.33.
The Australian all-rounder is one of the most valuable players in the world when it comes to T20 franchise leagues and T20 Internationals. Maxwell has amassed 1780 runs in 65 T20I innings at an average of 31.78 and at a strike rate of 158.92. He has also scored six centuries in T20 cricket!
However, for various reasons, he was hardly able to translate that quality in the Indian Premier League – the biggest T20 league in the world. Except for that magnificent season in 2014, where he led Punjab Kings (who were then known as Kings XI Punjab) to the final of the IPL. That season, Maxwell had chalked up 552 runs at an average of 34.50 and at a strike rate of 187.75. Since then, however, his IPL career had been nothing short of a trainwreck.
Glenn Maxwell looked like a shadow of his own self between 2015 and 2020 and although he did attract high prices and bidding wars because of his international reputation, the quality never showed its true face on the pitch. In those five seasons (he didn't play in IPL 2019), Maxi crossed the 200-run mark only once – an appalling statistic for a batter of his stature! His IPL averages read 13.18 in 2015, 19.88 in 2016, 31 in 2017, 14.08 in 2018, and 15.42 in 2019.
The right-handed hard-hitter had also been in spectacular form during India's visit to Australia last year. In the three-match ODI series, Maxwell had scored 167 runs in three matches at an average of 83.5 and at a strike rate of 194.18! He had also chalked up a half-century during the T20I series against India.
Despite these phenomenal performances, questions remained surrounding his form in the IPL and plenty of eyebrows were raised when Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings engaged in a high-value bidding war to secure the services of Maxwell. RCB ended up acquiring him for INR 14.25 crore and social media was replete with memes and jokes. Virender Sehwag even went on to make fun of Maxwell and called him a 'Rs. 10 crore cheerleader' because of his poor form in the league.
Fast forward a few months and Glenn Maxwell has almost single-handedly carried the Royal Challengers Bangalore middle order. He has been exceptional during the league stage and has rediscovered the mojo that makes him such a lethal batter in this format of the game. Between 2012 and 2020, Maxwell had just six half-centuries in his IPL career. He has chalked up six fifties this season alone and has produced several match-winning knocks for Virat Kohli's side.
Maxwell's prominence has also been highlighted by the lack of form from AB De Villiers, another pillar of the team. As De Villiers marches into the twilight of his career and his form continues to dwindle, RCB management would've been hoping to acquire another dressing room heavyweight and middle-order pillar and they've found exactly that in Glenn Maxwell. Maxi also provides an additional bowling option and has picked up three wickets having bowled 13 overs this season.
Even in the game last night against Delhi Capitals, Devdutt Padikkal, and Virat Kohli got dismissed for peanuts. Although AB De Villiers steadied the ship with a run-a-ball 26 along with KS Bharat, matters became extremely complicated once Axar Patel sent AB back to the pavilion. Up stepped Glenn Maxwell.
In the early stage of his innings, The Big Show received two lives after getting dropped. He made the most of it and smacked a 33-ball 51 to power the RCB run-chase along with KS Bharat.
Maxwell was also more than happy to let Bharat have the strike in the crucial final over when RCB needed big runs and didn't mind running the extra run. That faith and positive approach paid off as Bharat, who finished on a 52-ball 78 not out, smacked a gigantic six off Avesh Khan on the final ball to give Royal Challengers Bangalore the bragging rights.
He may have cost a lot of money in the IPL 2021 mini-auction but Maxwell has repaid that value with his consistent performances for the franchise. As RCB fans continue to hope to defy their history and finally lift that coveted Indian Premier League trophy, they know that Big Show Glenn Maxwell will be crucial in those plans!