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Is Glenn Maxwell worth all the money shelled out by RCB?

Enter caption RCB fans
Enter caption RCB fans' expectations: Maxwell to play some brutal match-winning innings like he did in 2014
Mukul
ANALYST
Modified 21 Feb 2021
Feature

Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes and Glenn Maxwell walking away with outrageous amounts of money at an IPL auction. It was no different this time, as Virat Kohli's RCB became the latest team to acquire the services of the mercurial Aussie allrounder for a massive INR 14.25 crore.

There's no doubt that Maxwell's reputation for conjuring up match-turning innings out of nowhere, and his unbelievably audacious strokeplay. are big factors in teams slugging it out to get him on board whenever he's available.

Add to that his athletic fielding and more-than-handy off-spin bowling, and it's understandable why any franchise would be delighted to have him in their ranks. But is the 'Big Show' really worth breaking the bank?

Glenn Maxwell's best IPL season

While Maxi started his IPL journey with the Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils) in 2012 and was then snapped up by Mumbai Indians for INR 5.32 crore the following year, he really captured the imagination in IPL 2014. Kings XI Punjab had shelled out INR 6 crore for him and Glenn Maxwell repaid the management's faith, playing one high-flying knock after another as Punjab made it to the finals.

He enthralled fans with his fiery knocks - 95 runs from 43 balls vs CSK, 89 off 45 balls vs RR and 95 runs from 43 balls - and won 3 successive MOM awards. Glenn Maxwell finished the season with 552 runs with a strike-rate of 187.75, easily his best IPL season to date.

The downward spiral

Unfortunately, after the sizzling pyrotechnics of 2014, Glenn Maxwell has found it hard to replicate his high-flying ways and has since been unable to stand up to inflated expectations of various franchises and fans alike.

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In 2015 and 2016 seasons, Glenn Maxwell underwhelmed, scoring only 145 runs (Avg. - 13.18) and 179 runs (Avg. - 19.88), respectively. Though he picked himself up in 2017, scoring over 300 runs at an average of 31 and a strike-rate of 173.18, Puinjab lost patience and decided not to retain him for the next season.

However, the allure and impact of his breakthrough season was such that Delhi Capitals had no qualms in buying him for INR 9 crore in the 2018 auction. But it was the same story again as Glenn Maxwell failed to fire and averaged a disappointing 14 runs per innings.

He returned in 2020 and was snapped up again by (surprise, surprise) Punjab, but it was deja vu as he finished the season with a meager 108 runs @15.42. In fact, Glenn Maxwell had arguably the worst season of his IPL career, failing to hit a single six in the 13 games he played last year.

Why did Virat Kohli decide to gamble on Glenn Maxwell?

Another fun fact which doesn't help justify RCB's decision to spend INR 14.25 crore on him is that the 32-year-old's last IPL fifty came in 2016. Virat Kohli and management are known for signing players based more on reputation rather than form, and will be hoping their it finally works out this time around.

There will be immense pressure to perform on Maxwell's shoulder once again but he can take inspiration from his recent performances for the national team. The dashing allrounder has played 29 T20I matches for Australia since January 2018 and has smashed 848 runs at 38.54 while striking at an impressive 151.15. Other than striking 5 fifties, Maxi has also bludgeoned 2 centuries during this productive period. These are the kind of mouth-watering stats that entice us to imagine the kind of impact he can have at the tiny (by comparison) Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. But we've all been there before, haven't we?

One thing is for sure though: If Glenn Maxwell stands up and delivers come April, a maiden IPL title for Royal Challengers Bangalore is a huge possibility. Untill then, the decision to spend big on the swashbuckling batsman seems more like a high-stakes gamble than a well-thought-out strategy.

Published 21 Feb 2021, 20:09 IST
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