Decoding Glenn Maxwell's power hitting: How still base, arm swings and golf influence helped (WATCH)
Glenn Maxwell's exceptional, injury-stricken double century, which helped Australia secure an ODI World Cup 2023 semifinal spot, analyzed by cricket experts following the all-rounder's heroic performance against Afghanistan.
Despite his physical struggles, Glenn Maxwell's heroic performance led Australia to a three-wicket win over Afghanistan in the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023 on Tuesday. In a remarkable display of determination, Maxwell's double century and a crucial six symbolized his exceptional innings in the world of One Day International (ODI) cricket, particularly in a challenging run-chase.
Maxwell's remarkable feat unfolded at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, where he was battling severe cramps as he took the crease, with Australia struggling at 91/7 while chasing a target of 292 against Afghanistan. However, the Australian all-rounder orchestrated a miraculous turnaround from this dire situation, crafting an unbeaten 201 off 128 balls. This extraordinary performance not only helped Australia secure a place in the semi-finals but also left them with 3.1 overs to spare.
Maxwell's remarkable partnership with captain Pat Cummins, who contributed 12* off 68 balls, played a vital role in this astonishing victory. Cummins allowed Maxwell to dominate the game from the crease, witnessing his extraordinary power hitting firsthand.
Maxwell's innings became a topic of discussion, not just for the 21 boundaries (fours) and 10 towering sixes but also for his physical condition. Despite being nearly immobile at the crease, he sent the ball to the boundary with remarkable precision.
Former cricketers Wasim Akram, Shoaib Malik, and Misbah-ul-Haq offered insights into how Maxwell achieved such incredible power-hitting in his condition. They emphasized his background as a versatile sportsman, excelling in tennis and golf, which contributed to his hand-eye coordination. The experts highlighted the importance of a still base and arm swing in power hitting. Maxwell relied on his hand speed and arm swing, similar to the golf swing, to deliver powerful shots.
"Maxwell is an all-round sports person. He didn't play just one sport as a kid. He was on the verge of being a tennis player, then he is a scratch golfer too," said Akram to start the discussion on news channel 'A Sports'.
"In some shots, if you noticed, when he used only his hands to hit, it literally felt like going with 1-wood on the first tee. In golf, you mostly use your arms, besides a little hip rotation and weight shift," the former Pakistan skipper added.
"In power hitting, a still base and arm swing is very important. That's what Maxwell did," added Misbah, who has also led Pakistan and served as the team's head coach in the past. "He relied on his hand speed and swing. It's like golf, the way you hit and follow through, the arms are moving so fast."
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik explained the art of power hitting with the bat, emphasizing that it's not just about foot movement but also arm extension. Maxwell's decision to keep his weight balanced on both legs allowed him to play big shots on both the front and back foot.
"Power hitting is not about feet movement, it's about arms, arm extension...Maxwell had decided that he won't move his legs. His weight was on both the legs, which is very important to do power hitting, because that way you can play a big shot both on front foot and back foot...When you are are making connection with the ball, the straighter your elbows are (with extended arms), the better shot it will be," Malik explained.
Regarding Afghanistan's bowling strategy, the experts noted the missed opportunity to exploit Maxwell's weaknesses by bowling slow and wide of his off-stump. Unfortunately, Afghanistan's bowlers did not adapt, and their spinners lacked the necessary flight and variation to trouble Maxwell.
"The Afghan pacers should have bowled slow and wide of Maxwell's off-stump, but they never shifted to that plan. Even the spinners could have bowled that line, but then they had to flight the ball in the air at slow pace. However, the Afghan spinners are mostly low-trajectory bowlers," Malik added.
While Australia's victory secured their place in the semi-finals alongside India and South Africa, Afghanistan's defeat further diminished their chances of qualifying for the semis. Afghanistan currently trails New Zealand and Pakistan on the points table, with all three teams having eight points and their fate depending on net run rate in their final league fixtures.