Glenn Maxwell looks set to go from being the Big Show to the Big No-Show ahead of Hampshire’s Natwest T20 Blast quarter-final clash.
The Australian batsman has been well short of runs in the club’s run to the last eight but appeared to play himself back into some serious form in the 50-over win over Lancashire earlier this week with a brilliant 146 from just 96 balls.
But the man nicknamed the Big Show from his Indian Premier League heroics, looks like he will be sidelined with a stomach injury for tomorrow’s trip to Nottinghamshire (2.30pm).
After he underwent a scan yesterday, Hampshire will make a final decision on his fitness on the day of the game with the player improving day by day.
But Dale Benkenstein believes it will be a bonus if Maxwell takes his place in the side.
The first-team coach said: ‘He went to hit a pull shot and it seems like he has torn a stomach muscle or something related to that.
‘He was in a lot of pain before the Gloucestershire match but was then a lot better the next day.
‘There was a lot of improvement but it’s more about hope he will be fit to play in the quarter-final.
‘He was feeling a lot better but we will have to wait and see.
‘I don’t think it will be our decision on whether he plays.
‘It will be his and Cricket Australia’s.
‘If it looks like it will not get any worse with one game, then we would love him to play.’
By his own high standards, Maxwell has had a disappointing t20 campaign with a top score of just 30 in 10 matches so far.
And while Benkenstein appears to think it’s unlikely he will be fit, he laughed off the timing of the injury.
He said: ‘It’s the joys of coaching, I guess.
‘We have just got him into some form.
‘We’ve been trying to get it right for 10 games, he’s finally got some form and then he gets injured.
‘If he plays, it’s a great bonus but if he doesn’t, we still feel we would be good enough.’
While the loss of Maxwell will be a blow as he was surely due a big score, Hampshire have received a boost with Kyle Abbott available again.
Abbott failed to feature for the South Africa Test side in their series win over Sri Lanka but has made a swift return to the ranks.
Michael Carberry, who missed the 50-over defeat to Gloucestershire, is also expected to play.
Benkenstein said: ‘Kyle is back, so we have some real experience back in the side, even if Maxwell doesn’t play.
‘He has shown how important he is to us and it’s great to have him back again. We will be almost at full strength.
‘Carbs is fine. It was just a bit of wear and tear with him.
‘His hand was giving him a bit of trouble and then there were a few other little issues. It was more cumulative stuff really.
‘A 50-over game is a long time, so it wasn’t really worth risking him.
‘Carbs will be up for this game, though.’
If Hampshire come through a tough fixture, it will be a fifth straight finals day in the t20 format as they bid to win the title for a third time.
Benkenstein said: ‘We haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked in the t20 this season.
‘But anyone who plays Hampshire will know they need to be on top of their game to beat us.’