As good as Glenn Maxwell is, Brisbane Heat expect Australia’s white-ball star to give a “chance” on Thursday night, and then it’s up to the hosts to grab it at the Gabba.
Maxwell will be one of the main attractions when Melbourne Stars team takes on the Heat in the opening match of the BBL season.
The 35-year-old batting powerhouse was superb during Australia’s recent 50-over World Cup triumph in India, with his unbeaten 201 off 128 balls to steer his team to victory over Afghanistan regarded as one the finest limited-overs innings of all-time.
Maxwell was also in top form during Australia’s subsequent T20 series against India, with the highlight being his 104 not out off 48 balls to guide his side to its only win in the five-match battle.
“He’s the ‘Big Show’ for a reason, isn’t he?” the Heat’s own batting powerhouse Colin Munro said of Maxwell.
“We know ‘Maxi’’ has been sometimes criticised in the past for the way he plays, but he stuck true to the way he plays and he’s coming out the other end.
“Every time the team relies on him he comes out and he does what he does best.
“That innings (against Afghanistan) when he was cramping up and looked like he was getting shot from all angles was exceptional.
“I don’t think you’ll ever see something like that again.”
However, Maxwell was given lives by Afghanistan when he was on 24 and 33, with Munro saying the Heat could not afford to be as sloppy in the field.
“When you’re bowling at a player like that, he’s always in the game – he’s going to give you chances,” Munro said.
“We’ve got to be on, and (remember) that old cliche – catches win matches.
“We’ve just got to have our planning and scouting in place, and hopefully we can execute to him.
“Hopefully he’s a little bit tired, and then comes in a little bit fatigued (on Thursday) night, and we don’t see him at his best.”
The Heat, who are missing a host of players due to PM’s XI duty, have bolstered their playing depth for the opening rounds of the BBL with the addition of three replacement players – Tasmanian top-order batsman Charlie Wakim, Gold Coast all-rounder Hugo Burdon and Toombul batsman Lachlan Hearne.
Brisbane Heat coach Wade Seccombe said: “The players who are coming on-board as replacements bring a wide range of skills to the group and if they have an opportunity to play, we will be very confident in their ability to contribute to the group.”