He couldn't quite live up to the million-dollar price tag in the IPL last season but after a spectacular debut for Kings XI Punjab this year, Australian batsman Glenn Maxwell says the "relaxed atmosphere" in his new team will help him be a consistent performer.
"It always feels nice when you know that you are going to be a regular in the playing eleven, something which was not possible at a star-studded Mumbai outfit. Here I feel more relaxed and don't feel the same pressure of expectations. The start has been good and hopefully we will only get better from here," Maxwell told PTI from Dubai a day after hammering 95 off 43 balls to ensure Punjab made short work of Chennai Super Kings' 205 in their IPL opener in Abu Dhabi. (Maxwell's 95 sets the tone for Punjab)
He surely set the the tournament on fire on Friday courtesy his sensational innings but it was not all hunky dory last season. (Punjab chase down 206 vs Chennai)
Maxwell could not make an impact in the three games he got after being snapped up for USD one million by Mumbai Indians, a team which boasted of international stars such as Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Kieron Pollard, Rohit Sharma and Dwayne Smith. (Highlights)
"That way, it is a lot different at Kings XI. The Mumbai Indians had all bases covered and the plan was to win every match and eventually the tournament. Here, the goals are different. We don't have big international names so the focus is on just doing the best we can in a game and improve from there on," said the 25-year-old Victorian. (Scorecard)
Asked about the Punjab squad led by his Australian one-day skipper George Bailey, Maxwell said: "It is a nicely balanced bunch and the presence of experienced Indian guys is a great help. Viru (Sehwag) is still an unbelievable and it is incredible what Cheteshwar Pujara has done in Tests in such a short time."
'Maxi', as he is casually called, showed enough signs yesterday that his ominous form at the World T20 has carried on to the IPL.
His creative shots often leave many flummoxed but the diminutive batsman insists it doesn't require a lot of work.
"I actually practice not just one specific stroke during training. And even something like a switch hit and a reverse sweep is not something I always try in the nets. I make sure I play all types of bowling including the throwdowns and try to hit the ball clean," he said explaining his practice routine in a nonchalant tone.
When asked about pacing his innings and managing a high strike-rate at the same time he replied, "I take things ball by ball mate, trying to find the gaps and manipulate the field."
Last year, Maxwell became a rare millionaire who drove a 15-year-old sedan and this season he has gone a step further.
"I have got rid of that car mate. I have come to a conclusion that I don't need one anymore. Roaming around in cabs is much easier and I have got people who deal with stuff like this and other money matters. It helps me maintain my focus on the field," he quipped.
On to his Australia career and the constant queries on what he is doing to transform himself into an all-format cricketer, much like compatriot David Warner.
"I think I have been asked about Warner some 200 times. He has obviously been a revelation for Australia. Not many people thought he could graduate from T20s and look what he has done. I too love playing in the longest format. Hopefully I will get my chances," summed up the player who has represented Australia in two Tests, 24 ODIs and 21 T20 Internationals.