Mad Max!

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Mad Max!

Thursday, 09 November 2023 | Pioneer

Mad Max!

In darting pain, Glenn Maxwell's tenacious double ton against Afghanistan wows the world

Heroes are a dime a dozen these days. Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. There are more clichés, but superhuman, did someone say? Well, what Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell put on show at the Wankhede stadium in their match against Afghanistan was a lot more than that. Crores of spectators saw it with their own eyes, but it is still difficult to believe that a normal human living among us, with the same number of limbs and largely of the same proportion, can pull off something so extraordinary that viewers would stop doing their chores and freeze in rapt attention. Now it matters little that Australia were seven wickets down for 91 runs, and Afghanistan cruising towards a comfortable victory, when Maxwell launched his onslaught; he had come in at 49/4. It hardly matters that he remained unbeaten even after scoring over 200 runs all by himself, that too after having been active 50 overs when Australia was fielding. How does it matter that his captain Pat Cummins, who mercifully kept a cool head and his wickets so Maxwell could score at will, could score just 12 runs in 68 balls against an extremely talented Afghanistan team? The only thing that matters now, and will forever in the cricket pantheon, is Maxwell proving the invincibility of mind over matter.

Cramps ran through his legs, he lay down on the ground in tearing pain amid incessant spasms and convulsions, medics and masseurs became regular visitors on the ground at the end of each over, he batted with only his hands without moving his lower limbs an inch, but he stood resolute in front of the wickets and kept hitting the ball hard as if his life depended on it. The only concession he allowed to show his human side was when he would sporadically show his teeth, either in a grimace or following another amazing shot out of the park. Maxwell paced his innings beautifully, taking his time initially and then launching into an astonishing array of strokes. The all-rounder's incredible display of power-hitting and composure made Sachin Tendulkar term it the “best ODI knock”. Indeed, the men's cricket World Cup has always been a stage for extraordinary performances. Not very many Indians, and others of the current generation around the world, would have seen the 1983 vintage Kapil Dev bat through that historic innings against Zimbabwe. Indian population in England was much sparse then, even those who were there did not go to the stadium because there was no hope of India winning, aficionados back home could not partake because the BBC was on strike that day. But despair not; it must have been the same mettle that Maxwell put on display in Mumbai while charting the highest individual score in a World Cup chase. History does repeat itself, even if it be after 40 years!

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