I came across the word “Maximo” during my recent visit to Malaga, Spain, for the European Cricket Championship. It was used when a batsman hit the ball out of the park for a six.
One never then imagined how relevant the word would be, when Glen Maxwell played the innings of his life and one that will be remembered for years to come. A double hundred that made an impossible situation into a possibility. He fought through a pain barrier and displayed what sheer determination in the most adverse condition can achieve.
Maxwell’s innings will definitely be the best ever in a One Day International match and to do so in an important World Cup game is truly a remarkable feat.
With his immovable legs and an open stance with only his hand, eye and torso to assist him, he hit the ball with such power and precision which was awesome. The nearest to the way in which he played was a game that as kids we called “French Cricket”. In this game one could not move one’s legs and one had to ensure that one did not get hit on any part of the leg to get out. One needed to have quick reflexes, a flexible and agile body and superlative hand and eye coordination to block the ball. Maxwell displayed that in a cricket match.
The final outcome of his magnificent innings is the debate and question that has emerged recently as to whether foot movement is an essential requirement in modern-day cricket.
Maxwell has shown and proven that it is not necessary, especially in the limited-over cricket format. Whether the next generation of cricketers will imbibe it is a thought to ponder over.
The Indian cricket followers were quick to compare Maxwell’s knock to the 174 runs scored in a World Cup encounter for India against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells by Kapil Dev. Apart from the mighty hits and the team's precarious position, there is nothing in common between the two.
The nearest that one can compare Maxwell’s feat is to the 2 innings played by the Nawab of Pataudi in a Test Match against Australia in 1967-68 in Melbourne.
The great Nawab being the captain had a severe hamstring injury before the match and was forced to play the game, especially as India had fared badly in the previous Test match in his absence. India were 25 for 5 when Pataudi walked in. He was not allowed a runner and due to his injury unable to take any quick singles. He scored 75 runs in the 1st innings and 85 runs in the 2nd innings.
Both the knocks were looked at as more than a century, as the Nawab could barely manage to rotate the strike and take a single. Although India lost the Test match, Pataudi’s superlative performance was considered to be one of the bravest and finest knocks ever played in Test cricket. One has to remember that he did so with one eye and on one leg.
India may have forgotten the giant feat of Pataudi, however, memories of it must have rekindled the older conservative followers of the game of cricket, when Maxwell showed the same resilience and tenacity.
The Angelo Mathew incident of being “Timed Out” is a debatable one. The ICC has been trying hard to establish that cricket is not a battle but a contest in which the team should project fair-play and play it in the right spirit. A trophy is given annually and a lecture delivered under the umbrella of “ The Spirit of Cricket”.
Unfortunately, in the present competitive world, winning at all costs is the mantra of success. One only remembers a winner and Shakib Al Hasan, captain of Bangladesh, made it amply clear when he decided to appeal against Mathew on a cricket law, which has never been insisted upon before in an International match, of “Time Out”.
Personally, I do not endorse that in a game of cricket that one should get an opponent dismissed without actually getting him out. A warning or request was all that Shakib needed to do, especially, on seeing the helmet strap snap when Mathews tried to tighten it. However, incidents such as these may be acceptable in the laws of the game, but it remains to haunts one till eternity.
The Trevor Chappell underarm ball, the Vinoo Mankad non-striker run-out are a few examples and at the end Shafiq will think back wondering whether he did the right thing for a sportsmanship point of view.
The Decision Review System (DRS) is another area in cricket that has come in for criticism. The main contention is that the review should have a consistent end to it. In all the other sports where it is used, there is a definite line of whether the ball is in or out. In cricket, it is vague as it relies on the factor whether an umpire has given one out or not. The ball hitting the stump by more than half the wicket or landing by the same margin and then relating it to the umpires call is pretty ridiculous. The better way is to give one out if the ball is hitting the stump. This will eliminate any discrepancy that presently exists. The ICC needs to seriously look at this issue.
In the meanwhile, one should just marvel at the incredibly wonderful batting feat of the man who will henceforth be known as “Maximo”. The one who fought for his team like a diehard warrior. Hats Off Glenn Maxwell!!
(Yajurvindra Singh is a former India cricketer. The views expressed are personal) (IANS)