Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has said that the culture around Australian cricket teams being abrasive and not mingling well with the opposition players until a series/tournament was over made him uneasy in the beginning stages of his career.
In a recent interaction with The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Maxwell said, “It’s weird how if you’re normal to people you actually make friends with them, isn’t it? It’s something I’m really thankful for, I think even looking back to my first couple of years with the Australian side, there was still a bit of that ‘we’re not friends with them during the series, we wait until after the series and you can have your conversations then’.”
He further added, “But you play with everyone throughout the year. I played with [Wanindu] Hasaranga for two seasons in the IPL, then I’m playing a series against him [in Sri Lanka], of course I’m catching up with him between games and talking about different things. [Dushmantha] Chameera as well, the same thing.”
Over the years, the reputation of Australian teams taking the game hard to their opposition, getting into their heads has been well known. Part of it was highlighted in the new Ben Stokes documentary, Phoenix from The Ashes, in which the Australian players can be heard systematically sledging and succeeding in dismissing the England players. Maxwell, who has played cricket in several franchise leagues around the world, believes it will be hard for one to survive in contemporary cricket if they keep moving with such mindset.
“You’re just crossing paths with players all over the place, whether county cricket, IPL, all around the world, so it’s hard to keep that deadpan, killer instinct during the game and just ignoring people,” he said.
“You probably won’t survive in the game if you keep doing that. There’s going to be all of a sudden a reputation about you, and teams won’t want to pick you up. But to be able to play the game hard and fair but still keep your friendships intact, I think is more the modern way of playing. I know it’s more enjoyable for me, because I love having fun and I love playing with a smile on my face. To be able to play against friends who I consider family sometimes and not shy away from the competition, but still be able to have a good hard contest and never have it get in the way of our friendships off the field.”
The all-rounder is currently part of the Australia squad for the limited overs series against Zimbabwe that begins this Sunday in Queensland.