Glenn Maxwell’s highlights don’t paper over his failings

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Two days ago, the heading ‘Maxwell is a T20 treasure for Australia‘ caught my eye.

    It was written by colleague Ronan O’Connell who has been a cricket expert on The Roar since 2013.

    I’ve always enjoyed and respected his views on the grand old game, but reading such a glowing tribute about the ODI and T20 batsman who rarely lives up to his wonderfully-gifted ability demanded a full read.

    Ronan rated Maxwell as the second best Australian T20 batsman after the skipper Aaron Finch, a rating that also demanded my attention.

    Ronan added – “Go online after Maxwell is dismissed in the shortest format and you’ll see an endless stream of comments deriding or condemning the Victorian.

    “The batsmen in demand in T20 leagues throughout the world are not those who consistently chip in with handy knocks of 45 off 35 balls, but rather those who occasionally win a game off their own blade with a ballistic knock of something like 70 from 35 balls”.

    Glenn Maxwell Australia cricket

    Ronan further added he would rather have a batsman who averages 28 with a strike rate of 170 than one who averages 60 with a strike rate of 125.

    That last comment made me go digging for what Glenn Maxwell has done in his T20 career compared to not only Finch, but other T20 batsmen I enjoy watching like Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Alex Hales.

    But before that transpires, runs are the currency for winning T20 matches. Without runs, the bowlers start behind the eight-ball and must defend.

    So my stats cover all the requirements Ronan has referred to, in every case.

    Let’s start with Aaron Finch, who has regained the world number one ranking.

    He’s batted 42 times to average 45.60 with a strike rate of 161.53.

    Finch has scored two tons – 156 and 172, the new individual world record.

    90s – 0 40s – 7
    80s – 2 30s – 5
    70s – 2 20s – 1
    60s – 2 10s – 8
    50s – 3 Single figures – 10
    Ducks – 0

    Finch has scored less than a half-century 31 times from 42 visits, or 74 per cent.

    Now Glenn Maxwell, ranked sixth in the world after 43 visits, also with two centuries 145*, and 103*, averaging 32.94 with a massive 163.31 strike rate.

    90s – 0 40s – 3
    80s – 0 30s – 4
    702 – 2 20s – 9
    60s – 1 10s – 8
    50s – 1 Single figures – 12
    Ducks – 1

    Maxwell has failed to reach the half-century 37 times from 43 visits, or 86 per cent.

    With respect to Ronan’s glowing tribute of a strike rate of 163.31, Maxwell is expected to contribute runs, but he clearly isn’t pulling his weight in that vital department by failing to crack 50 for 86 per cent of the time.

    Of the five batsmen I’ve researched, Maxwell’s percentage is the worst.

    Virat Kohli, ranked 15th in the world has batted 58 times, averaging 48.88 with a strike rate of 136.22, but has never cracked three figures.

    90s – 1 40s – 6
    80s – 3 30s – 4
    70s – 4 20s- 14
    60s – 3 10s – 5
    50s – 7 Single figures – 8
    Ducks – 3

    So Kohli has failed to reach the half century 40 of 58 visits, or just 69 per cent, yet he’s ranked 15th, and Maxwell sixth.

    Kiwi Kane Williamson, ranked 16th, has batted 49 times averaging 31.33, a strike rate of 120.95 with no centuries.

    New Zealand's Kane Williamson

    90s – 0 40s – 4
    80s – 0 30s – 5
    70s – 2 20s – 10
    60s – 1 10s – 10
    50s – 1 Single figures – 10
    Ducks – 2

    Williamson has failed to crack a half century in 41 of 49 visits, or 84 per cent.

    Alex Hales is ranked number nine in the world, has batted 56 times, averaging 32.67 with a strike rate of 136.25.

    The Englishman has scored one ton – 116*.

    90s – 2 40s – 7
    80s – 1 30s – 7
    70s – 0 20s – 8
    60s – 3 10s – 8
    50s – 2 Single figures – 13
    Ducks – 4

    Hales has failed to reach the half century 47 from 56 visits, or 84 per cent.

    Summarising – Kohli has the best average 48.88, Finch 45.60, Maxwell 32.94, Hales 32.67, and Williamson 31.33.

    The best strike rate – Maxwell 163.31, Finch 161.53, Hales 136.25, Kohli 136.22, and Williamson 120.95.

    The most 50-pluses – Kohli 18, Finch 11, Hales 9, Williamson 8, Maxwell 6.

    The worst percentage below 50 – Maxwell 86, Williamson 84, Hales 84, Finch 74, Kohli 69.

    My thanks to Ronan for his column, or I would never have researched those stats.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (42)

    • July 10th 2018 @ 9:37am
      Basil said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Everyone please be upstanding so we can all applaud David in unison. Well done David, you really showed Ronan up. May Maxwell never play for Australia again blah blah blah.
      Personally I love watching Maxwell. Sport is nothing more than entertainment. Maxwell is entertaining.

      • July 10th 2018 @ 1:49am
        Paul said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:49am | ! Report

        You’re easily entertained when 70% of the time, Maxwell doesn’t even make 30. This means most of his innings are done within 3 overs or so.

        I’d like to be entertained by him for a few more overs, a lot more often.

        • July 10th 2018 @ 2:08am
          Ben said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:08am | ! Report

          He doesn’t open like finch.
          When he comes to the crease there is no time to waste balls.
          Everyone would want him to bat longer but he is playing what is best for the team.

          • July 10th 2018 @ 1:27pm
            Krishna Singh said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

            This good article from David, Maxwell very talented but too many chances given and unreliable like afridi when we want performance, my only complain with him

          • July 10th 2018 @ 1:55pm
            jameswm said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

            He should bat higher

      • July 10th 2018 @ 1:54am
        JayG said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:54am | ! Report

        I don’t think David is making the case that he should never play again etc etc. The contention many have is that Maxwell is under-performing for his talent and should contribute more. Surely you wish to be entertained more often?

    • Roar Guru

      July 10th 2018 @ 1:43am
      spruce moose said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:43am | ! Report

      This from a man who was adamant Don Bradman had a S/R of 71.48

    • Roar Rookie

      July 10th 2018 @ 2:20am
      Don said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:20am | ! Report

      David you are comparing mostly openers against Maxwell who usually comes in at 4 or 5 and has more pressure to ramp up the run rate and finish off with a bang.

      It’s logical to expect a guy like Finch starting his dig with the full 120 balls available to him is going to score over 50 more often than someone coming in with 60 balls left available…

      Finch has faced 286 more balls than Maxwell in 7 fewer matches. He can leave a ball or 2 which merits it without extreme pressure to score off every ball.

    • Columnist

      July 10th 2018 @ 2:21am
      Ronan O'Connell said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:21am | ! Report

      Thanks for your article David.

      I would differ though in that I don’t see as, the be-all-and-end-all, the percentage of innings in which a T20 batsman reaches 50.

      What is more important in my opinion is how many balls they chew up making their runs.

      You make the comparison between Maxwell and Williamson, and this is their average contribution across their T20I careers:

      Maxwell makes 33 from 20 balls.

      Williamson makes 31 from 26 balls.

      Which means Maxwell, while scoring 2 more runs than Williamson, also earns his side a full extra over from which they can score.

      To me that makes Maxwell categorically the more valuable batsman.

      Teams very rarely get bowled out in T20Is – Australia have only been bowled out 2 times in their past 30 matches.

      This means that guys preserving their wicket and scoring at slow strike rates of 121 like Williamson does in T20Is really aren’t of tremendous value unless conditions are tricky for batting, and such conditions aren’t common in the international version of T20, where pitches tend to be very flat.

      If an entire team scored at Williamson’s strike rate of 121 across a T20I innings they would make a paltry score of 145, which is miles below a par total in modern T20Is, where teams very regularly chase down totals of 190+

      For context, these are Australia’s totals, when batting first, in their last 5 wins and their last 5 losses in T20Is:

      Wins ……… 198

      Losses ….. 160

      So what that shows is that 160 batting first is a losing total these days in T20Is, and you need to be getting closer to 200 to be winning consistently.

      Pakistan showed that in the final, chasing down 183 with ease despite being 2 for 3 in the first over. The very same day India batted second against England and cruised to victory with 3-201, with still 10 balls remaining.

      In modern T20Is you need to be setting totals of 190+ regularly to be an elite team.

      To go back to the idea of making 50 being a benchmark for T20I batsmen consider that when Williamson makes 50 it takes him 41 balls on average.

      That leaves the remainder of his team just 79 balls, in theory.

      So even if the remainder of the team then does well and manages to score at a strike rate of 150, which is good going, that leaves the team with just 168, which in most circumstances is a well below par total in modern T20Is. Add in some extras and you’re still making only 175, which is not good enough most of the time.

      When batsmen chew up a lot of balls while scoring at a strike rate as low as Williamson’s 121 in T20Is, it puts huge pressure on their batting team mates to score at a scorching strike rate to get the team to a half-decent total.

      This pressure prompts the kind of the big shots from the very start of their innings which, when they cause a dismissal, earns the wrath of many cricket followers. These same cricket followers often fail to recognise that the slow scoring before that of a more traditional batsman painted this new batsman into a corner.

      • Roar Guru

        July 10th 2018 @ 12:33pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | July 10th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        Yeah, I did think it was some rather odd comparisons there. With Finch and Maxwell both having strike rates over 160 and all the others in the comparison being, not just slightly lower, but dramatically lower.

        I still think Maxwell is an incredibly frustrating player, who seems to be a lot more miss than hit, comparing players with strike rates around the 120-130 mark with players who have strike rates > 160 and saying how these high strike rate batsmen clearly aren’t as good because they don’t reach 50 as much is certainly missing the point of T20 cricket. It’s great when a player can turn it into a big score, but I think more often than not I’d rather a player get 40 off 25 than 60 off 55 in a game of T20 cricket.

        As you point out, too many of the latter puts lots of pressure on the other batsmen to have to do something extraordinary to make up for their tardiness, which in turn increases the chance of those batsmen getting out cheaply.

        • Columnist

          July 10th 2018 @ 1:28pm
          Ronan O'Connell said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          As an extension on that Chris I would argue that in most circumstances in T20Is, it’s better for a batsman to make a golden duck than to be dismissed for 25 from 25 balls.

        • July 10th 2018 @ 2:29pm
          Paul said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

          Chris, I think both you and Ronan are missing the point

          This guy is rated one of the best batsmen in this form of cricket, in a side lacking a lot of other quality batsmen, Finch excepted. He needed to stand up and be counted against Pakistan but faced a total of 13 deliveries in 2 games, when he had plenty of overs to bat. In none of his 3 innings of this series did he get remotely close to the 163 strike rate.

          He can get a breezy 4 off 1 delivery or 12 off two, if there are other players capable of coming in and picking up the innings when he’s out, but the Zimbabwe series showed we don’t have that, at least over there. That means he needs to take control of the innings, which he can only do if he’s facing deliveries.

      • July 10th 2018 @ 1:00pm
        Simon G said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        Brilliant! Now that is how you get stats and present them with a cricketing brain. Take note please David..

        • July 10th 2018 @ 1:29pm
          Krishna Singh said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

          Williamson vs maxwell comparison not valid, as player like williamson, smith, khawaja, root have lower strike rates then maxwell but they get big runs like centuries and win games when you need them not just easy runs when it not matter like against zimbabwe innings for maxwell

        • Columnist

          July 10th 2018 @ 1:43pm
          David Lord said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

          Great reply Ronan, but while I get your point, you are missing mine..

          Never have I suggested Glenn Maxwell shouldn’t be in the Australian team because of his inconsistency.

          He has more God-given natural talent than anyone, including Virat Kohli, but all too often he’s heading back to the shed after playing some hero shot that had a very small percentage of succeeding.

          My argument is Maxwell has more than enough natural talent to still bat with a strike rate of 163, but do what he should do with such talent, and score a helluva lot more runs by playing every ball on its merits.

          He has the hand-eye coordination, the footwork, and the immense power to butcher any attack, IF he plays every ball on its merits.

          Imagine how priceless he would be if he adopted that practice.

          There’s no reason why he can’t average in the high 40s, even into the 50s, and still bat at a 163 strike rate.

          And for good measure he should open with Aaron Finch, or bat three at worst.

          Maxwell is wasted T20 talent batting four, five, six when he’s potentially the best bat in the side by the length of the straight.

          I agree with you Ronan that his cameos at 163 are good value, but that bar should be raised by the man himself.

          Once those cameos become more 50-pluses, then, an only then, will Glenn Maxwell utilise his God-given natural ability.

          Until then he must accept the fact he hasn’t done his job to match is ability.

          • July 10th 2018 @ 1:59pm
            jameswm said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

            “There’s no reason why he can’t average in the high 40s, even into the 50s, and still bat at a 163 strike rate”

            Ever heard the phrase high risk high reward?

            • Roar Guru

              July 10th 2018 @ 3:11pm
              Matt H said | July 10th 2018 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

              So there’s no reason he can’t be a significant percentage better than any other T20 batsman in history, even in the domestic game …

          • Columnist

            July 10th 2018 @ 2:49pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

            David I do understand your point I just respectfully disagree.

            Maxwell is hugely talented but I don’t think it’s realistic to think he can average in the 50s in T20Is while still striking at 163.

            As I pointed out in my article the other day, Maxwell’s strike rate of 163 is not only the highest of all time in T20Is but there’s only been seven guys who strike at better than 147 in history.

            It’s incredibly difficult to strike at 163 – it requires a batsman to take much more risks than someone who strikes at a still-good rate of 137, like Kohli.

            If I was coach of Australia I would not ask Maxwell to bat more responsibly – Australia already have enough batsmen who can do that. Whereas Australia only have two batsmen in their entire T20I set-up (Warner included) who strike at better than 140 – Maxwell and Finch.

            Those two are Australia’s rarest batting commodities and in my opinion Australia need to make the most of those rare abilities by encouraging them to unleash. Let the other, less dynamic batsmen be responsible.

            • July 11th 2018 @ 3:31am
              Graham said | July 11th 2018 @ 3:31am | ! Report

              I agree. You can probably rely on 10 extras in an innings which means you need 180 off the bat to win consistently. Thats a team strike rate of 150 but only an average of 30 if it is done 6 wickets down

              To dominate the world you need 6 batsmen that average over 30 with a strike rate over 150 as well as having decent bowling. Maxwell fits both criteria so he is 1 of 6 batsmen we need to dominate the world. How many others do we have?

          • July 11th 2018 @ 5:28am
            Rats said | July 11th 2018 @ 5:28am | ! Report

            I completely get what David is saying.. And I kind of agree with it.. Look at R Sharma’s innings the other day – 100 from 56 balls at a strike rate of 178.. Maxwell is capable of playing such an innings. To be able to do it in a consistent manner is difficult, but that is what he should try to do. R Sharma played almost every balls on its merit. Maxwell has the technique and ability to do it.

            Having said that, T20 is a crazy game. There is nothing called right or wrong statistics. It really depends on few factors. R Sharma had the advantage of chasing and knowing what exactly he needed to do. But I have seen him playing similar innings while batting first as well.. Effortless…

      • Roar Guru

        July 10th 2018 @ 1:23pm
        spruce moose said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

        I would differ though in that I don’t see as, the be-all-and-end-all, the percentage of innings in which a T20 batsman reaches 50.

        Don’t worry – no one does. It’s a ridiculous stat. I’ve never seen anyone – ever – use such a stat.

        • Roar Guru

          July 10th 2018 @ 2:00pm
          JamesH said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          There’s a reason why in the IPL they highlight the number of 30s a batsman has, not 50s. T20s are a different beast.

          Maxwell reaches 30 roughly a third of the time he goes out to bat. There’s nothing concerning about that stat whatsoever – not for a middle order batsman with a strike rate of 163. Anyone averaging over 30 with that SR is world class.

    • July 10th 2018 @ 12:34pm
      Tanmoy Kar said | July 10th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

      After going through the Statistics provided by David Lord, one should come to conclusion that out of all the batsmen Virat Kohli is the best (most valuable) so far. The Article would had been more interesting if David had added more names like Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Fakhar Zaman, K.L.Rahul and Rohit Sharma.

      • July 10th 2018 @ 1:29pm
        Krishna Singh said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

        Virat best batsman in world, no doubt

      • Columnist

        July 10th 2018 @ 1:32pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

        Roy (avg. 21, strike rate 141), Bairstow (avg. 24, strike rate 125) and Buttler (avg. 27, strike rate 138) actually have poor-to-ordinary T20I records.

      • July 10th 2018 @ 4:32pm
        Ben said | July 10th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

        Kohli is below Maxwell for his lower strike rate.

        • July 10th 2018 @ 4:34pm
          Krishna Singh said | July 10th 2018 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

          Rohit very good but kohli real match winner, pressure man who gets over line

    • Roar Guru

      July 10th 2018 @ 3:29pm
      Matt H said | July 10th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

      Where is our current weakness in T20 batting? It is in the ability of our middle order to maintain or up our run rate. We tend to start really well and then get bogged down when the spinners come on and the field spreads. We don’t regularly finish off our innings.

      We have a nice selection of top order batsmen to choose from – Finch, Short, Marsh, Warner, Head, Khawaja, Lynn. But our middle order and lower-middle order struggle repeatedly and they often waste the last 10 over of the innings.

      The recent solution has been to try to turn our top order batsmen into middle order batsmen – Finch, Carey and Short have all had goes.

      What we need in a T20 is 3 or at most 4 top order batsmen. I don’t care if the others are also really good top order batsmen, if they aren’t great at batting in the middle overs, then they should not get picked. We should then pick specialist middle and lower order batsmen. When there are only four overs to go, I would much rather have a guy in to hit 18 from 8 than a guy who can score 40 from 33.

      So we need to stack our middle order and lower-middle order batting with, surprise, surprise, middle order batting. And now I finally get to the point with Maxwell – these guys should be judged solely on strike rate. Who cares if they average under 40? Assuming the top order does its job, if your last 60 balls are covered by five guys who can hit 30 from 12 you win the game.

      So from that perspective Maxwell does his job perfectly and we should be searching around for other players who can do that job. They are getting old now, but the prototype of these were Daniel Christian and Ben Cutting. Are they the best batsmen in Australia? Of course not, but they can hit you 26 from 12 and push your run rate up.

      So who can do that now? I have no idea, but that is what we need to look for. Maybe Ashton turner is one to consider, and young McDermott from the Hurricanes. Stoinis appears to need to build an innings. Mitch Marsh may or may not be able to do it. He can hit a long ball but needs to get his eye in.

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