Big Bash League: Glenn Maxwell announces return to cricket with a cracking knock

Adithya Sundar 17:52 20/12/2019
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A day after being sold for just over a million dollars in the IPL auction, Glenn Maxwell announced his return to competitive cricket with a breathtaking knock in the 2019 Big Bash League.

The T20I all-rounder had taken a break from cricket at the end of October after revealing that he was battling mental health issues for more than a year. As a result, he missed the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

His team-mates, contemporaries and coaching staff had praised Maxwell for his courage to speak about mental health and had expressed their faith and support to the all-rounder.

Maxwell was assured by Cricket Australia that he was under no pressure to get back into the game and was given an indefinite break.

Almost a month later, the 31-year-old got back to cricket by turning up for his club team Fitzroy Dancoster in Melbourne’s first-grade competition.

A fortnight later, he was training for the Big Bash, getting ready to captain the Melbourne Stars. Last week, the all-rounder opened up about what he went through in the past couple of months.

“I was pretty cooked when I decided to take the time off. I was pretty mentally and physically ruined from eight months on the road and living out of a suitcase. That had probably been going on for four or five years. It all caught up with me at that time, ” said Maxwell.

“You go through a lot of waves of emotions and especially that first week was probably the hardest.”

“As I took the time away get myself right and speak to the right people and have that amazing support network behind me was pretty key to me being back to good health now.”

Maxwell stated that it was his girlfriend who was the first to notice that there something bothering him and she was the one who urged him to speak to Australia coach Justin Langer. He later worked with Cricket Australia psychologist Michael Lloyd and sport psychiatrist Ranjit Menon during his break to help him through the tough phase.

He also acknowledged the support of friend, confidant and team-mate Moises Henriques.

So, after nearly two months, Maxwell took to the field on Friday at Carrara as captain of the Stars, leading them against Brisbane Heat.

His team was asked to bat first and the skipper only walked out at the end of the tenth over at No.5, with his side precariously placed at 74 for four.

He scored 13 runs off the first five deliveries he faced off spinner Zahir Khan which included a trademark hoick over the midwicket fence to announce his arrival.

Despite the fall of wickets at one end, Maxwell single-handedly led his team to a fighting total. He smashed a 23-ball fifty and stayed till the final over of the innings to finish at 83.

His 39-ball knock included five sixes and seven fours. His six over fine-leg off the bowling of Ben Laughlin was the shot of the day, as he stepped across and ramped a short ball over the fine-leg fielder.

It was vintage Maxwell – adventurous, audacious and entertaining batting. He scored almost half of his team’s total at a strike-rate of 212.

His team managed to defend the total rather comfortably to get their season off to a winning start and Maxwell was named the Player of the Match.

The year 2019 has been quite the roller-coaster for Maxwell. With his million dollar IPL contract and the upcoming T20 World Cup at home in October, if the Aussie has well and truly recovered from all those issues that hampered his progress, 2020 could be the year of the big show, Glenn Maxwell.

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