Glenn Maxwell says he would return to the Bears in a ‘heartbeat’ as his five-week stint at Edgbaston comes to an end.

Speaking before Monday’s departure to Melbourne which he calls home, the all-rounder was full of praise for the Club’s young developing players, the culture and the captaincy of Alex Davies.

As the 18th all-time leading run scorer in T20 cricket, Maxwell is no stranger to the volatile world of T20 and franchise cricket, but having experienced the Bears changing room for the first time, he feels the team is heading in the right direction.

“Really positive as I’ve had a great time in the changing room,” said Maxwell when asked how he’ll reflect on his spell with the Club. “I feel like every experience I had with the group was just a positive one. I enjoyed how the playing group were willing to learn and listen, whilst trying to get better every day. There are a lot of young, talented players in the dressing room, which made it exciting for me to watch them develop as the tournament went on as well. There were so many positives I can think of in this tournament and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to come over.”

The emphasis that Maxwell put on his role within the group was pretty clear. As an experienced performer at 34 years old, Maxwell believes the role of an overseas is to integrate within the group and offer advice where necessary and not just score runs or take wickets.

For the Bears, that role became fruitful as younger players stepped up under his guidance.

“The role of an overseas goes further than just numbers as a player,” added Maxwell. “I’ve made it no secret that my role as an overseas is to help and develop whatever playing group I’m with and try and get the most out of them. Whether that’s just talking and answering questions or doing more one-to-one stuff with them between games. It’s been something I’m grateful for.

“The talent certainly surprised me as there were some players I hadn’t heard too much about, but I was able to watch them go about their business. Players such as Dan Mousley, Jacob Bethell, Chris Benjamin and Rob Yates, to watch them grow and get better has been exciting to watch and be a part of. It made every game exciting to be a part of.”

That may sound like someone who has one eye on coaching, but for Glenn, the passion for on-field success burns strong. A World Cup winner in both the 50-over and T20 format, where he scored the winning boundary to win the country’s maiden T20 world title (2021), he knows how to deliver on the biggest stage.

Reflecting on his performance, the Victoria native added: “I wasn’t expecting to bowl that much throughout the tournament, but as an overseas, you fit in where the team needs you. Whether that’s bowling in the powerplay or at the back end, I was there to play my role the best I could.

“Every year you play T20 cricket as a middle-order batter you feel you’ve always left runs out there. The message I put forward to the younger players in trying to think about the T20 game in a different way, is that middle-order players should leave the game in a better position than when we came in to bat. I felt I did that quite a lot, and although I may not have hit the big scores, when I was dismissed we were in a better place.

“We tried to keep our messaging consistent throughout the tournament and I think that was one of the big reasons why guys who may have failed, came back with the trust to go big again.”

Maxwell, who missed only one of the 15 games the Bears played during the Blast having arrived following the IPL knockout stage, was also keen to stress that progress has been made.

The Bears fell short in the quarter-finals, but they were the form team in the North Group, accruing 11 wins from 14, including seven straight to close. Memories of the heart-breaking loss to Essex will linger, but the Australian international is keen for the squad to remember the collective campaign.

“You shouldn’t define your whole season on one quarter-final loss,” added Maxwell. “I know how hard it was for the players who wanted to be a part of Finals Day and the experience that entails.

“I thought the way we played that game – we had no right to take it to the last over and get close – but we did and showed great fight throughout the second innings. It gave us a sniff and we almost sneaked it at the end. It just shows that this group is heading in the right direction and it will turn if they keep doing the same things next year. It’s a brutal game when you can play well all season and the team who sneaks fourth knocks you over in one game, but there are still plenty of positives.

“Hats off to Davo for the job he did in Mo’s absence. He was outstanding. I’ve played with him at Lancashire, but to see how much he’s grown, not only as a player but as a leader, was impressive to see. The way he galvanised the group and got them up and about for every game was really impressive. You’ve only got to look at some of the games which seemed unwinnable like Notts at 7/4 in the first over and we were able to chase that down with the belief we’ve got in the changing room. That’s something that will hold the club in good stead going forward.”

Whilst that fixture may have seemed to be Maxwell’s last, the right-hander had other ideas. With Danny Briggs injured and Jacob Bethell unable to bowl with a stress fracture, an experienced spinner to complement Yates was needed.

Step forward ‘Maxi’, with seven Tests under his belt, 78 wickets and a batting average just shy of 40.

“To be out there for Rob Yates’ first century as a White Bear was pretty special,” said Maxwell, who was also capped before the Kent fixture. “I know how much that capping meant to him, so for his first innings to be a big double hundred meant a lot to me. To see him take that white ball form into the red ball game was super impressive.

“The red ball group is slightly different to the white ball one, but I thoroughly enjoyed the week. I’m glad I went down there with the guys. I called Robbo to tell him I was available, but I think if my body had held up better at the start of the T20 tournament I could have played a little earlier.

“As soon as we got knocked out, and knowing I had another week here, it felt like a no-brainer especially as I’ve now got six weeks to recover and get better. If I wasn’t playing I’d probably have been around them as a coach or something. I’m very grateful to be a part of a three-day win that gets us higher up the ladder.”

For Maxwell, the future is Australia and the 50-over Men’s World Cup in October. For the Bears, it’s the LV= Insurance County Championship where they sit second and the Metro Bank One Day Cup.

But could the two reconvene next year?

“I would come back in a heartbeat,” concluded Maxwell. “Whether the Club would have me I don’t know. The next time I’m available I’ll be 36 so it all depends on timing and what the club needs from an overseas as that’s the key thing.

“I’ve had lots of chats with the leaders of this group about potentially coming back but it may be in another role as a freelance/assistant coach. Who knows. I’d like to.”

Additional tickets released for first three days of West Indies Test

A small number of tickets have been released for the first three days of our Men’s Test against West Indies this summer (26-30 Juy).

Tickets are limited for these day and are expected to sell quickly. Early Bird tickets for Day Four are still available if purchased before midnight on 31 March.

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