(Reuters) – The bowling side of Glenn Maxwell’s status as an all-rounder is often forgotten amid the fireworks of his power hitting but the mercurial Australian hopes his offspin can tie a few batsmen in knots at the World Cup.
Although used sparingly during Australia’s 2015 triumph on the pace-friendly pitches of home, Maxwell chipped in with six handy wickets to go with his 324 runs in a fine all-round tournament.
Spin is expected to play a far bigger role in England, particularly with warm weather forecast for the early summer, so Maxwell can see himself playing a bigger role behind specialist spinners Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa.
At England’s compact cricket grounds, that will mean avoiding getting “hit for six most of the time,” Maxwell said at training in Southampton.
“For me I suppose, a lot of the time that I bowl, I just try to limit the boundary balls,” he added.
“As long as I’m doing that, if they hit some good shots off my bowling I’m not too fazed.
“If I’m limiting the boundary balls and giving myself the best chance to squeeze a few dot balls, bowl a couple of tight overs, it might create a bit of pressure at the other end.”
Maxwell bowled plenty of overs in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan and away to India in recent months as Aaron Finch’s side claimed confidence-building series victories.
He gave up the chance of a rich Indian Premier League deal to warm up for the World Cup with England county side Lancashire.
In six one-day matches with Lancashire, he managed a top score of only 35 with the bat but took wickets in every game bar one.
“To have that continue into my time at Lancashire, where I got plenty of time at the bowling crease, you get that rhythm, you get that feel of the ball coming out consistently,” he said.
“You need that as a part-time bowler, to have that consistency of time at the crease and get a few of the cobwebs out, I suppose.”
Australia’s bowlers will have containment on their minds when they face West Indies and their master blasters in an unofficial warmup later on Wednesday at the Rose Bowl’s Nursery ground, a field small even by English standards.
Maxwell likened the venue to Hurstville Oval, a club ground within a cycling track in Sydney’s southern suburbs synonymous with big totals in domestic 50-over games.
“It’s good to practice your skills under heightened pressure and what you’re going to get later in the tournament,” he said.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)