Maxwell backed to handle pressure

Glenn Maxwell is dismissed in the clash with Surrey at the Oval. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Glenn Maxwell is dismissed in the clash with Surrey at the Oval. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
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Glenn Maxwell can handle the burden of expectation on his shoulders, according to Giles White.

The Australia batsman has yet to find his explosive best upon his return to the Ageas Bowl for the Natwest T20 Blast.

In eight innings, Maxwell has scored just 90 runs at an average of 11.25.

His highest score of the season came in the win over Gloucestershire, where he hit 30.

It has been slim pickings for the 25-year-old in a disappointing stint and he looked short of form as he scored 10 in last week’s shock home defeat to Middlesex.

But ahead of tonight’s home showdown with Sussex, Hampshire’s director of cricket believes Maxwell’s style of play means there will be spells when he struggles to make a contribution.

White said: ‘A player like Glenn is always surrounded by expectation.

‘He is one of the best t20 players in the world – he has shown that over the past year or so.

‘So with that comes expectation but he is the sort of character who deals with that well.

‘He has his ups and downs but he will get himself out of it as quickly as he can.

‘The attacking nature of his play lends itself to having periods where he will be short of runs.

‘But then he always puts himself in a position to win a game as well, which he has obviously done in the past.

‘He is up there with the best t20 batsmen in the world.

‘So I believe it’s just a matter of time. If he keeps doing the right things and giving himself the best chance, I’m sure the score will come.’

While Maxwell came under fire for trying to do too much too soon during his early matches, he perhaps went too far the other way against Middlesex as he scored 10 runs from 12 balls, having dropped down to number six in the order.

White explained: ‘He plays to whatever the game dictates.

‘With the situation we were in, he wanted to get himself in and then get more expansive.

‘But if you get out before you’ve got into your stride, it would look like you are not playing with the same aggression.

‘Had he hit the next ball for four or six, it would have given him a platform so he was giving himself a chance.

‘We are looking at combinations and trying to get the best combinations for the right game.

‘With things not firing lately, we tinkered with the order a bit, although we try to be as consistent as we can.

‘You have to adjust things and that’s what we’ve been doing over the past couple of games.’

In fairness, Maxwell has not been alone in failing to fire in recent games, with Hampshire’s batting line-up looking a pale shadow of itself.

Bowled out for 123 last time, they managed just 116 against Somerset and 131 against Surrey as they have crashed to three defeats in four outings.

White admits that confidence has been affected but believes they can recover in time to seal a place in the top four and book their quarter-final spot. He said: ‘Batting collapses, whether it is in the Championship or t20, happen within a season.

‘It happens but it has happened more often than we would like.

‘They have been too close together for our liking.

‘It is probably down to confidence but it only takes one innings to change that.’

A win tonight would effectively seal Hampshire’s place ahead of a trip to division leaders Essex on Tuesday.

Hampshire could yet still progress with two defeats but would rather control their own fate.

White said: ‘A win would probably secure a quarter-final place. It’s in our own hands.

‘It’s difficult to work it all out with so many sides still in and around the mix.

‘We are fairly well-positioned.

‘If we win both games, that would definitely get us into the quarter-finals but one win may be enough.

‘We will be looking to win both games and that would give us a chance of a home quarter-final.

‘We are focused on this one – it’s an important game for us – and it would be great to turn things around.’