What’s the story?
Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has declared that captaining Kings XI Punjab in the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will help bring the best out of Glenn Maxwell’s batting. The 42-year-old urged the hard-hitting batsman to use the added responsibility as a stepping stone to spark a major turnaround in his career.
“I was a little bit surprised (that they made him captain) but I'm actually really excited for him (Maxwell) to get that opportunity. I actually think it'll bring the best out of him. His last couple of years of IPL cricket haven't been as good as the years prior, but to get that bit more of responsibility could be just what he needs,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
The veteran added, “We've just seen him have a breakthrough Test innings a couple of weeks ago, which I think delighted all of Australia. Everyone has been waiting for that breakout performance and there it was. This could just be the start. It could be the beginning of a very, very good back half of Glenn Maxwell's life. So I wish him all the best.“
Ahead of this IPL season, Kings XI made a surprise call by unveiling Maxwell as their skipper. Despite the squad containing proven captaincy candidates such as Eoin Morgan and Darren Sammy, the team management backed the 28-year-old Victorian to lead them on the field.
The heart of the matter
Maxwell seems to be enjoying the aspect of leading from the front. He followed up a 20-ball 44 against Rising Pune Supergiant with a 22-ball 43 against Royal Challengers Bangalore to take Kings XI to back-to-back victories.
The recently completed Test series on Indian soil saw him score an uncharacteristically restrained century in Ranchi as well as a typically quickfire 60-ball 45 in Dharamsala. Having shown the capability to build his game according to different situations, he is currently enjoying a productive run with the bat.
Depending on how the clash between Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad goes, Kings XI have an opportunity to go on top of the league table if they emerge victorious from Kolkata on the 13th. Maxwell would want to continue his fruitful batting form against a trickier bowling attack.
Maxwell need not look further than his own national skipper Steven Smith to see the transformative effect that captaincy can have on a player. Fast approaching an age categorised as the time a batsman usually hits his peak, he will be looking to ride on the added responsibility of leadership and enhance his game.