YORKSHIRE’s new signing Glenn Maxwell is backing plans to redress the balance between bat and ball in one-day international cricket – plans designed to curb the type of savage strokeplay that he is producing.
Maxwell’s sensational striking – along with that of such as New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum – was a feature of the recent World Cup in Australasia, where there were seven totals of 350-plus, including three over 400.
Maxwell thrashed 88 from just 39 balls in the highest of those totals (Australia’s 417-6 against Afghanistan in Perth) and also scored the second-fastest century in World Cup history from 51 balls against Sri Lanka in Sydney.
But a man who is helping reinvent the world game with his incredible improvisation is supporting suggestions by the International Cricket Council’s cricket committee to weight the scales more in favour of bowlers.
The ICC committee, while praising the type of cricket that Maxwell produced at the World Cup, recommended changes to the ODI playing conditions during a meeting in Mumbai last weekend.
The requirement to have two compulsory catchers in the first 10 overs be removed.
The batting powerplay be removed.
That five fielders be allowed outside the circle from overs 41-50 (previously four fielders outside the circle during that period).
The committee also discussed the size of bats, boundaries and the white-ball seam amid concerns the balance of power has gone too far in favour of batsmen.
The recommendations are subject to approval by the ICC chief executives’ committee and the ICC board, which will discuss them during the ICC’s annual conference in Barbados next month.
Maxwell, who hopes to light up the NatWest T20 Blast, could be forgiven for adopting a selfish stance to plans set to make it harder for batsmen.
But a man whose strike-rate at the World Cup was an extraordinary 182 runs per 100 balls takes a broader view of the game that he loves.
Asked whether changing the rules was a good idea, Maxwell said: “Yeah, possibly.
“In the World Cup, you saw scores of 400 and higher, and I think the balance is probably just a little bit out at the moment.
“So it will be interesting to see what happens now with the rules, and to see whether the balance actually does get restored a little bit. We’ll have to see.”
Maxwell, who helped Australia win the World Cup, hit 324 runs in his six innings in the competition.
He wowed the crowds and television viewers with some incredible reverse-hitting in particular.
“In the World Cup, with the fielding restrictions, it made it a lot easier,” added Maxwell modestly.
“T20 is obviously a little bit different with the five fielders out, and the shots that you play are a little bit more obvious.
“But in one-day cricket, with the rules as they were during the World Cup, you can dominate more.
“I felt like I got on a good run during the World Cup and I was able to run with it, and the reverse hits are something I’ve worked on a lot.
“I find it’s a big strength of mine – you see a lot of people who lap, but it’s basically the opposite for me in that I find it easier to reverse.”
Yorkshire’s supporters are hoping to see similar fireworks from Maxwell, who is one of the gun signings in this year’s T20 tournament.
His partnership with his great friend and fellow countryman Aaron Finch promises to be mouthwatering when Finch arrives at Headingley in early June.
“Hopefully we can come off,” said Maxwell. “T20 doesn’t always work like that and you need a bit of luck, but hopefully myself and Aaron can contribute.
“It’s been quite fun whenever we’ve batted together for Australia, and we’re aggressive on the field. We play as hard as we can, but we play fair as well.”
Like Finch, Maxwell is an entertainer. It chimes with Yorkshire first-team coach Jason Gillespie’s pledge to pursue a policy of all-out attack in T20.
“I just want to entertain,” said Maxwell. “I’ve always tried to do that and entertain the fans.
“Hopefully, I can provide a little bit of that this year and it goes a long way towards Yorkshire lifting the trophy.
“I can’t wait to get started.”