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Lessons from Maxwell’s innings

Life is unpredictable as we tend to experience unexpected circumstances that take away our confidence, and motivation. How we tread through this uncertain path makes or breaks us as we endeavor to accept the realities of life. Cricketers also give us a glimpse into such realities and how to deal with them. What transpired on November 7, 2023, during the thirty-ninth match of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup between Australia and Afghanistan was nothing but an extraordinary feat of sportsmanship and a resolve of the highest order.
Australia’s Glenn James Maxwell played one of the finest innings in the history of ODI cricket. It was extraordinary not because he scored 201 not out (128). It was for more than one reason that signified the true potential of the human spirit. Maxwell came out to bat when his team was 49/4 in 8.2 overs chasing Afghanistan’s target of 292. Australia needed 243 with six wickets in hand.
Just when Maxwell took his 147th run, he fell on the ground. His hamstring was the problem and that was not a good sign for Australia. While the physiotherapist attended to Maxwell, Adam Zampa entered the field as it was evident Maxwell would leave the ground. Maxwell took a decision that was not the wisest – at least for his team, the spectators, or those watching at home. Instead of quitting, he decided to follow his will, and his heart, and not surrender to the pain that his mind was registering.
Taking a single or two was not in the question. He could not run, let alone stand on both feet. He kept scoring boundaries and in the process did the unthinkable. He resolved to stand his ground to play the game – not to win or to score 201, but because that is what he was supposed to do – to keep playing.
Maxwell could have scored a double ton without being injured and that too would have been a feat. However, completing 200 runs, scoring 21 fours and 10 sixes with a strike rate of 157 with one leg that is not working at optimum is a Herculean task indeed.
Maxwell had the option to return to the pavilion. He did not. He chose the alternate path. So what if taking singles and doubles was not possible? Hitting boundaries and sixes was doable. Maxwell’s resolute stance showed us the mental acumen and stamina etched in the Australian cricket team. Australia’s Steve Waugh showed a similar resilience during the 1999 Cricket World Cup’s Super Six match against South Africa. He came out to bat when his team was 48/3 in 11.3 overs while chasing 271. Waugh scored 120 runs (110 deliveries) including 10 fours and two sixes.
There are certain life lessons that we learned by watching play Maxwell that night against Afghanistan.
First, Maxwell’s determination to continue playing despite his injury demonstrates the importance of determination in overcoming obstacles and the willpower that we must always exhibit.
Second, Maxwell made a well-calculated sound decision to stay on the pitch and accept the situation as it was.
Third, Maxwell displayed resilience by continuing to play despite being hurt.
Fourth, Maxwell’s commitment to playing the game shows the importance of setting meaningful resolutions.
Fifth, Maxwell willingly adapted to the situation and accepted an alternative plan when the anticipated game plan was not available.
Sixth, Maxwell’s innings encouraged us to believe in our capabilities, especially when facing setbacks. Seventh, Maxwell’s performance highlights the mental strength and resilience individuals should channel to complete their goals.

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