With the tenth edition of the IPL 2017 all set to commence in a couple of weeks, the anticipation level for the same has grown quickly. After Ben Stokes hogging all the headlines for being the most expensive buy in the auctions, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell raised many eyebrows.
There was bewilderment in cricket fraternity as well as on social media when Kings XI Punjab, one of the most under-performing sides in the tournament, appointed Maxwell as their skipper for the season. KXIP have been bottom-dwellers in the previous two editions and failed terribly as a unit after making it to the finals in 2014. The appointment of the Australian as the skipper is a big gamble, as he has not enjoyed a lot of success in the IPL in recent times.
After a prolific run in the 2014 season, Maxwell has failed to replicate his magical performance in last two seasons. KXIP are undoubtedly looking for a revival of fortunes this time but Maxwell’s selection as the skipper could turn out to be a huge drawback.
Here are five reasons why Maxwell’s appointment as the skipper may not be a fruitful one for KXIP.
#1 Limited leadership experience in the past
Captaincy is a herculean task and not many can fill in the big shoes without affecting their natural game. Maxwell doesn’t carry any experience of leading the side in any format. In fact, he has not led a team in 338 games, which he has played across formats.
T20 is a format of uncertainties, things change in a matter of a few deliveries. Maxwell may quickly run out of options, which may further affect the team’s run in the long tournament.
Although, there is no doubt regarding Maxwell’s abilities to lead the side and can consider it a challenge but with the tournament being so competitive, he won’t be offered breathing space to adapt to the new role.
#2 Burden of captaincy could affect his batting
Maxwell is a kind of a player who would like to play freely and express himself out in the middle. He can be a nightmare to bowl to when he is in form and bowling to him with the white ball has always been a challenge. Some players thrive under pressure and flourish once loaded with responsibilities.
The kind of game and characteristic Maxwell possesses, it gives us an impression that he is better off playing as a batsman. As the skipper, he will have the burden of setting an example for the team, which may curb his natural instincts. Maxwell can be a good lieutenant, but this is certainly not the time for him to don the captain’s hat.
A team would want to see the manic version of Maxwell and changing the complexion of the game quickly instead of him playing the anchor role in the lineup.
#3 Presence of other international captains in the squad
KXIP have drafted Darren Sammy and Eoin Morgan into the side, who are proven champions in this format. Sammy has led the West Indies side to two World T20 titles while Morgan has been instrumental in England’s revival with the white ball.
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Sammy has immense experience of marshalling the troops in this format and is coming fresh from leading the Peshawar Zalmi side to the PSL title. There is indubitably no rational explanation why Sammy shouldn’t be leading the KXIP side. Morgan, on the other hand, led England to the World T20 final in 2016, where his side lost the battle in the final over. He has enough experience and presence of mind to captain a side in difficult times.
To add to Morgan’s good fortunes, he had a good run in the recently concluded India tour. With the availability of these two skippers, Maxwell’s appointment as the T20 skipper is nothing but a futile move.
#4 Will have to be in the squad for every game regardless of form
Maxwell’s appointment as skipper means that he will be in the playing XI irrespective of his form. Needless to say, only four overseas player can take the field as per the IPL guidelines, which leaves KXIP with just three other options. If Maxwell fails to find his mojo, then KXIP will certainly find themselves in a quandary as dropping the skipper would be a difficult decision to make.
Also, KXIP will have their options blocked, if they need to alter any changes in their line-up for different conditions. For instance, if the pitch is assisting seam or spin, the team won’t have enough options available.
As records may suggest, having an overseas player as captain is not a good move, unless he has a substantial experience of leading an international side, which will come handy.
#5 Records and history
KXIP made a similar mistake in the previous edition, when they burdened David Miller with captaincy. This not only affected his form but also the team’s morale. A skipper leads the side with example, his success can have a huge impact on the team.
On the back of poor form, Miller was replaced by Murali Vijay as the skipper midway through the tournament in 2016 after KXIP lost five out of six games in the first leg.
Maxwell, on the other hand, garnered just 324 runs in 22 games, which he played in last two seasons. He was unstoppable in the 2014 edition, with 552 runs in his basket at a blistering strike-rate of 187.75, but failed to make a similar impact in the next two seasons. A closer look at Maxwell’s performances, it is evident that the belligerent batsman has struggled in India.
In 2014, Maxwell scored 300 runs in 5 outings in the UAE, but the same confidence went for a toss when the tournament’s second leg was moved to India. In the next 11 games, Maxwell just had 252 runs to his name at an ordinary average of 22.90. These numbers are a testament to his struggles in Indian conditions and KXIP can take a leaf out of the past and avoid making a similar mistake.