Cricket: Glenn Maxwell says he’s more than a back-up spinner

Glenn Maxwell was Australia’s first-choice spinner when Australia last won the ODI World Cup in 2015 and has revealed the extra levels he’s gone to in order to be more than a back-up to Adam Zampa in India.

Australia’s lack of pure spin stocks was targeted for criticism in the wake of the opening loss to the hosts, with the Indian spinners snaring six wickets on a pitch described as an “anomaly” for the tournament by Maxwell.

Zampa, Australia’s only pure spin option after an injury ruled Ashton Agar out of the tournament, went wicketless in eight overs that went for 53 runs, with Maxwell’s figures of 0-33 outperforming his teammate.

Both Australian coach Andrew McDonald and selector George Bailey have labelled Maxwell a “specialist spinner” despite his brilliant batting being key to his team’s chance of World Cup success.

Maxwell though is taking his role with the ball as seriously as he does his batting and ahead of the second match against South Africa in Lucknow on Thursday revealed how much work went into his preparation to take down opposition batters.

“I sort of work ego-to-ego,” Maxwell said.

“(I) see what they‘re trying to do and try and get a read on where they’re trying to hit.

“I do a lot of homework on the opposition, I watch a lot of games, I know what their strengths and weaknesses are.

“And I know I’m not a big spinner of the ball, but I feel like I’m really accurate in the way I move them around the crease and hopefully build up enough pressure to bring about a wicket or a bad shot. And if it happens at the other end, that’s perfect.

“I’m probably not going to blast a side out and get a five-for, it’s just going to be a slightly different role.”

Maxwell said he couldn’t be feeling more confident with the ball in hand despite his long injury lay-off and a recent setback that forced him to leave the tour of South Africa before the World Cup.

“The ball‘s coming out really well. I haven’t worked on anything specific, I’ve just got a real clarity with the way it feels coming out of my hand,” he said.

The all-rounder, who turns 35 on Saturday, also confirmed he was no longer “holding back” in games, having take a cautious approach as he continued to manage issues relating to the leg he badly broke in November last year.

“I feel like have been withholding a lot of the 100 per cent stuff until this tournament started just to make sure I didn’t flare anything up,” he said.

“But you can’t hold back in a World Cup. It was nice to get the shackles off and run around and be a bit of a maniac in the field. It was good to have post-game soreness and I’m ready for the next one.”

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