The Big Show has there ever been a less appropriate nickname for a player. Once again today he scored 0 in the big match when his team really needed him. Don’t get me wrong he’s a very good 20/20 player, he’s precisely the man you would want to walk in at 130-3 off 14 overs but when you’re 30-3 off 5 and you need a sensible 50 off 40 balls, the Big Show becomes the No Show. This is why he is vastly overrated people talk about him as one of the best in this format. The best do it when the pressure is on and Glenn Maxwell has never had that ability. This is why I say he is overrated.
Let us look at Glenn Maxwell’s 20/20 record as a player, not just the statistics but in actual trophy wins with him in the side. He has zero trophy wins in either franchise or international 20/20 cricket. This is a man who is paid over a million dollars to play IPL and nearly a million on an Australian Central Contract. He was captain of the Kings XI Punjab in this tournament, probably one of the most ridiculous decisions in recent IPL memory considering they had the best current white-ball captain in the world Eoin Morgan also on their books, a man criminally underrated as a batsman and captain. But you reap what you sow and so it is that a talented Kings XI side has ended up out of the play offs again. They have some good Indian talent in the 3 Sharma’s; Ishant, Mohit and Sandeep, along with Manon Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel, allied to some excellent overseas players in Amla, Miller and Morgan. This is a team that really should be challenging for semi-finals. However, as we saw today the man at the head of the side is one of the biggest shirkers in world cricket when the going gets tough. He has never played an innings of note in a game of importance and that is purely down to the fact he doesn’t have it upstairs to produce when the lights shine brightest and the pressure is at its most intense.
I don’t want people to think that I believe Maxwell is a bad player in 20/20 cricket he is a very good one, but he simply does not deserve the hype that he is afforded and it is not his fault he has an over-inflated salary. But if I was a team-owner or a coach of one of the sides I would not be building a side around him. He is a luxury player and luxury players do not win your tournaments. Maxwell needs to follow the example of his fellow Australian David Warner who has gone from inconsistent dasher to a well-rounded player capable of adapting to the situation of the game and is now a well-respected captain in the 20/20 format. I do hope he does because he has the talent to do it but an average of 24 in all t20’s shows of a man that is right now over-hyped, overrated and all in all more of a “No-Show” than the “Big Show”.
The IPL is in full swing and like many millions of cricket fans around the globe, we are watching on at this amazing spectacle. We can debate the pros and cons of the tournament but it is undeniably the biggest, brashest and most successful 20/20 tournament our game has to offer. The packed grounds heaving with humanity, making more noise than I thought possible at a cricket game. Whilst the Big Bash and 20/20 blast are possibly, in terms of quality, a similar standard the feel and intensity is much different, packed grounds and rampant commercialisation of the star players make it a more prestigious tournament to play in than any other, and of course it is the only tournament the Indian superstars play in therefore in the minds of many it makes it the best.
However, has the BCCI reluctance to allow their talent to play abroad in other 20/20 competitions helped the Indian Team? In the late 2000’s and early 2010’s India were the white ball kings winning both the 20/20 world title and the 50 over world cup, granted the latter was in India but many pundits in the media touted (those of an English persuasion) the IPL as one of the main reasons that they were so consistently successful in the format. This allied with the fact that India was already playing more white ball cricket than most anyway, due to the appetite within the country for it, then you had what was deemed an unstoppable juggernaut. The rest of the world were behind because of this it was said, this was backed up by a number of prominent former players and pundits all extolling the virtues of the IPL.
A quick glance at the records though reveals an unhappy quandary for the BCCI, outside of sub-continental conditions the Indian 20/20 side has not made the final of the World T20. It also became apparent that in sub-continental conditions sides were catching up as their experience in the IPL (the mercurial and brilliant West Indies sides of 2012 and 2016 being the finest examples) meant they had the ability to score runs and take wickets in conditions that were previously alien to them. In contrast India seem to be unable to adapt to foreign conditions in major tournaments. Since 2013 of India’s superstar only Chesteshwar Pujara has played abroad for any length of time, mainly in red ball cricket, and this has coincided with sides that have not even threatened to win a major tournament in white ball cricket. Whilst this is no drought it shows of a team in transition and most noticeably of a team unable to adapt in white ball cricket away from their native pitches. Indian cricketers are now in danger of becoming very similar to English Premier League footballers. Playing in the best competition in the world but not gaining the experience of other cricketing cultures leading them woefully unprepared for major tournaments outside of their home country. With home advantage becoming even more prevalent in the last 2/3 years the BCCI must look at their policy of not allowing their best players to play in other countries otherwise they run the risk of being left behind in this increasingly global game.