Maxwell softens Boom Boom blow

Glenn Maxwell sends Neil McKenzie back. Picture: Neil Marshall
Glenn Maxwell sends Neil McKenzie back. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Giles White could not hide his disappointment at the news Shahid Afridi will not be returning for the rest of this Friends Life t20 campaign.

But at least the Royals have a ready-made replacement, who is already causing havoc in the south group.

Aussie Glenn Maxwell has so far amassed 178 runs this campaign – at an average of more than 59.

And he’s proving to be the perfect solution to cushion the blow of Afridi’s no-show.

The impressive all-rounder was set to join captain DimiMascarenhas and his troops after completing his international commitments with Pakistan.

But after on-going problems with gaining a visa, both Afridi and Hampshire have decided to end the struggle – for this year at least.

White – Hampshire’s first-team manager – said: ‘We are so far into the competition now, the squad is playing well and we’ve got some confidence.

‘So it makes sense we just stick with what we’ve got.’

In the overseas superstar’s absence, it seems Victorian Maxwell is quickly making a name for himself in the English game – after being a relatively unknown quantity before the tournament started.

‘He’s been great,’ said White, after the seven-wicket win over Surrey.

‘He originally came in as a stand in for Shahid.

‘He impressed us for the second XI and has a good attitude.

‘He’s obviously a very destructive batsman and his bowling is very useful as he showed on Saturday.

‘He is a very confident young man but why not?

‘When he’s hitting ball out the park, he’s going to be confident and long may it continue.

‘He’s good to have in the changing room.

‘And he’s a similar personality to Afridi in some ways, what with his confidence and the fact he is a real competitor.’

The self assurance the 23-year-old has shown is not the only similarity White can see in Maxwell and Afridi.

Their styles of play also bear striking similarities, although the Royals boss knows all too well the quality the latter would have provided.

‘Glenn is a similar player, in terms of batting,’ he said.

‘He is explosive and fits in well at number six.

‘But every team misses a Shahid Afridi.

‘His bowling is exceptional and he was fantastic last year, so we will miss him – and we have done on the bowling front.

‘But we’ve got a different side now.

‘We have a different way of playing and it’s working.

‘The boys are battling hard and throwing everything into it and I’m really pleased with how we’re travelling at the moment.’

Afridi’s absence is not only a shame for the club, it’s also a blow for the fans – many of whom will have bought tickets on the back of seeing the all-rounder announced for the new season.

White highlighted the problems with high-profile overseas players, though.

And admitted off-field problems can take proceedings out of the club’s hands.

However, he refused to rule out another return for the 33-year-old in years to come.

‘These things happen in cricket and sport,’ said White.

‘Unfortunately it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen.

‘There’s so much cricket around these days and visas have been hard to come by for number of teams and a number of overseas players.

‘It’s been difficult for clubs to secure them and we’ve had the same situation ourselves.

‘Shahid is disappointed – he wants to come over and wants to come over in the future.

‘He was a fantastic player for us last year and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘He wants to come back and play county cricket but the cards haven’t fallen for us this time around.

‘We hope we will get together again in the future.’