Glenn Maxwell is Having a Hollywood Meltdown

Glenn Maxwell is on the nose, big time.

But like a Hollywood actor whose career has hit the skids, he’s not beyond redemption. If he can put together a solid comeback strategy, he has the chance to turn things around both on and off the field.

Given Maxwell’s taste for the limelight, he could do worse than take heed from two of Hollywood’s greatest comeback kids – Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey.

Affleck first burst properly onto the scene as a precocious young actor/writer, having teamed up with Matt Damon in the excellent 1997 film Good Will Hunting. A few roles ensued in big budget action flicks like Amargeddon and Pearl Harbor, and things looked good for a lengthy stint at the top of the Hollywood food chain.

Aff

However, things fell apart for Affleck when he started to buy into his own hype. He hooked up with Jennifer “J-Lo” Lopez and took on some silly roles in box office flops like Daredevil and Gigli – and before he knew it, he was more tabloid fodder than bankable Hollywood actor.

Things turned around for Affleck, of course, when he swallowed his pride and stepped behind the camera, with his first full-length directorial debut (Gone Baby Gone) earning rave reviews from various critics.

He also followed the well-trodden path of celebrities taking the piss out of themselves after a controversy and/or career malaise, when he appeared in a Jimmy Kimmel spoof video entitled I’m Fucking Matt Damon. This showed layers – an ability to laugh at himself; an acute self-awareness – that, until then, audiences were unaware he had.

In 2010, Affleck starred, directed and co-wrote the Boston-based thriller,  The Town – a nod to his own Massachusettian roots. Since then, he has continually made smart movies – and he’s so back in favour now that he’s been tapped as the next Batman: the Winfield Cup of Hollywood male acting.

It’s a similar story with McConaughey. Early on, he was the quintessential rom com heartthrob; the logical choice to partner genre luminaries such as Kate Hudson in a string of feel-good box office hits.

MCC

But just as McConaughey was scaling similar heights to Affleck, he fell from grace with equal aplomb. A few terrible movies set the tone for an embarrassing arrest, where he was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after being found playing bongos in the comfort of his own house, stark naked.

McConaughey knew he had to repent. He worked hard and took on a number of obscure roles in a bid to move outside his comfort zone; to be seen differently. 

Before long, he was no longer the blonde surfer stereotype, but a gritty character actor prepared to get method in order to win the respect of his peers, not to mention an audience that had long written him off as just a good looking bloke with an excellent rig.

Basically, this is what Maxwell needs to do.

Maxwell has been typecast as an explosive, enigmatic player – a tag that he will find hard to shake. Because, by embracing this perception, Maxwell won himself a few massive IPL contracts and became an instant millionaire.

He managed to catapult this momentum into a couple of (inexplicable) test appearances, as the Australian selectors employed their ridiculous strategy of choosing aggressive bit-part players over proven specialists (sadly, a policy that continues to this day, despite all the money and resources spent on the Argus Review, which was principally aimed at making us good at cricket again).

Don Argus' review really didn't provide many answers for mine
Don Argus’ review really didn’t provide many answers for mine

After a dreadful showing in the UAE and some absurd, overly aggressive public statements, both verbal and physical, he has found himself on the outer again.

His mental game is shot; this was evidenced in its purest form the other day, when he charged down the wicket first ball only to shoulder arms and be bowled leg stump. Until now, this writer had only ever seen such an incident in the computer game Cricket ’96, where a player could run down the wicket and, by pressing ‘enter’ too late, would inadvertently shoulder arms to a straight one.

We speak a lot about rebranding on The Public Apology, but really, now is the time for Maxwell to rebrand himself; to reinvent himself as something more substantial than just a mouthy T20 hitter with a good arm.

Maxwell should, ideally, follow the career strategy of both Affleck and McConaughey. He must show self-awareness and a streak of self-deprecation. He must acknowledge that he has erred, if he is to win us back – not to mention his place in the Australian team.

Where Affleck chose to get behind the camera in filming the satirical Oscar winning political thriller Argo, tackling the Iranian Revolution in 1979 with a charismatic flair, Maxwell should look to focus on scoring runs in 4-day cricket.

Where McConaughey shed his chiselled rom com persona to play an AIDS riddled activist in Dallas Buyers Club, Maxwell should strive for a similar statement by leaving the Big Bash to work intensively on his technique. Preferably, this will take the form of a gruelling boot camp run by reality TV’s The Commando, where he treks the Andes and “learns a lot about himself in the process.”

Commando: the man for the job
Commando: the man for the job

Maxwell’s supporters fall into two categories: a) contrarians with little else to write about; b) blokes he went to school with. They’re the ones who’ll tell you that “you take the good with the bad with Maxy;” that we should “embrace his unpredictability,” etc.

I’m all for ironically embracing someone for being shit, but in that case, we shouldn’t confuse ‘unpredictability’ with ‘being shit’. And as for his X-factor, I don’t really get it. The reverse sweep – his pet stroke – is not the endangered species it once was, with plenty of state players now using the stroke to even greater effect than Maxwell.

Right now, he’s just a guy not scoring runs – and there are plenty of those around. Without runs, the only currency that matters, he will continue to fuel this (not wrong) perception that he is nothing but a sugar coated Twinkie snack cake: a tasty, cream-filled snack with no nutritional value whatsoever.

In summary, Maxwell must follow the tried-and-true trajectory of Hollywood actors such as Affleck and McConaughey. Blokes who have survived the career downturns and emerged with even greater upside.

It’s not all over for Maxwell. But it’s up to him, now.

By Dave Edwards

The Ian Higgins Show featuring TPA’s Dave J. Edwards

This week on the IH Show, Higgins and Edwards discuss all things cricket, including:

  • The early report card on new Test captain Steve Smith
  • The decline of sporting dynasties – and how this generation thrives on change, whether it be iPhones, careers, or relationships
  • How new sporting coaches are similar to CEOs, setting overly ambitious five-year turnaround strategies in order to secure their tenure for a lengthy period of time
  • The possibility of chance – and how this relates to circuiting
  • The Boxing Day test match preparations
  • Who the fuck is Joe Burns?
  • Why Shane Watson just does enough, but wouldn’t grab you a takeaway latte from the cafe

And much more, including an absurd promo at the end for Sydney radio station Triple H, 100.1 FM. Click the audio file below and listen in if you want to.

How to Become a Professional Cricketer

Each summer, as the Channel 9 cricket theme song lures us to our screens like sailors to sirens, we are reminded what is the greatest achievement in this land: to play in the Australian cricket team.

We cheer, praise and lionise these few men to the point of apotheosis, but little thought is given to how they got there. So how exactly does one become one of these lucky few? Is it hard work? Tenacity? Talent?

Partially, yes. But in reality, there are a series of attributes – an algorithm, if you will – that will get you ahead of the pack in your desperate quest to become a professional cricketer.

In short, make sure you have all, or at least several, of the following qualities before you waste years of your life chasing the dream:

Genetics

Be born with ridiculous genetics. Having any form of illness is an obvious ‘no-no’ but you’ll need a specific body composition to be noticed from the crowd.

Having a great rig can get you into a lot of places, nightclubs included, but it is also going to make you more inclined to be selected for certain tours where “shirts vs skins” in the warm up will have you first-picked in any line-up.

A good rig can do wonders for a fledgling international career
A good rig can do wonders for a fledgling international career

Hand-eye coordination is absolutely key. You can’t train hand-eye coordination. It’s one of those things where you either have it or you don’t, so be born with high levels of that.

A close family relation with a decent playing career will also stand you in good stead. If your entire family is uncoordinated, you’re just not going to cut it at this level. You can’t tell me that Steve and Mark Waugh’s dad wasn’t a ping-pong champion or something equally ‘wristy’.

Family

The family plays a very important role in developing you into a successful cricketer. Financially speaking, you want to be somewhere below ‘comfortable’ and just above the poverty line.

Cricket is an expensive game; the kit alone will cost you a fortune, but the petrol prices and general on-road costs of your family car will be astronomical as you drive all across the state from the age of 10 in the hope of one day getting that Baggy Green. Put simply, being broke is not an option for a future international cricketer.

Equally, if you’re from an affluent family, chances are that one of your parents has enjoyed a successful career, and therefore will likely frown upon any activity that pretty much hinges on a combination of luck and good health, so don’t be from a family with money.

"Accountancy is a solid career choice, son"
“Accountancy is a solid career choice, son”

Having a brother, preferably younger, who possesses a decent level of coordination but is easily manipulate, will help fast-track your development. We all want to be batsmen, so make sure your brother is an OK bowler so you can dominate him and score at least 1,000 backyard centuries.

Your parents can also play an important role here. Your parents want to resent each other just enough (probably from driving you all across town every weekend) that your dad won’t mind getting out of the house to give you a few throw-downs every now and again.

You definitely don’t want to be from a broken home, though, because there’s no way you’re getting throw downs from a single father who would prefer to be on Tinder than working on your cover drive.

Education

This should go without saying, but don’t go to a private school. Statistically, this pretty much writes you off.

Despite spending millions of dollars in school fees on world class facilities, these schools don’t want you to become an athlete. These schools want you to become respected members of the community – and that’s obviously not your goal here.

Private schools will do nothing for your cricketing career. Great sandstone buildings though.
Private schools will do nothing for your cricketing career. Great sandstone buildings though.

Private schools are going to encourage you to be intelligent and educated to the point where a good job with a stable income may become a viable option. The key takeaway here? Don’t even think about assessing your options for your future. To this end, university is extremely frowned upon. Books are not your friend; late cuts and flicks off the pads are.

You want to be spending a minimum of 30 hours a week hitting cricket balls and subsequently becoming a one-dimensional human being. In this day and age of professional athleticism, you need to be putting all your eggs in the ‘cricket basket’ before you leave school, so don’t bother learning about the world.

Don’t be interested in travel/friendships/relationships/earning good money, etc

All of these things will hold you back. If you do end up playing Test cricket, you could earn a lot in a five year window (if you’re suitable for a vitamin commercial). Being interested in things other than the weight of cricket bats or how to attract an unpaid sponsorship, will distract you from irrelevant things in life like history, politics, sociology and love.

Be popular

This isn’t always a given, but can get yourself on a tour to the West Indies just by being a good bloke and good to circuit with. This can be hard if you’ve been hitting cricket balls for your entire life, though.

Being a good bloke helps
Being a good bloke helps greatly

Don’t be attracted to a sensible woman or woman with a career

Women, to their credit, will rightly point out that the chances of you playing for Australia are slim to none, and it would be wise for you to go back and do a night course at TAFE and make some sensible decisions regarding your credit history.

Any woman urging you to settle down will deny you the opportunity to play one obscure test match in the sub-continent that gives you a taste for higher honours, a feeling you will then chase for another decade, thereby crippling your post-cricket career as you seek an internship in your late 30s.

 

Your decision to pursue a cricket career will be met with resistance
Your decision to pursue a cricket career will be met with resistance

Be really lucky. Timing is everything

Hit back-to-back hundreds after the stalwart with 80 test caps next to his name scores a pair and becomes unfashionable and you’re in. It doesn’t matter if you averaged 15 in the Shield season prior.

Once you get yourself into the starting eleven, there is an even more complex algorithm – perhaps for another day.

Good luck.

By Ian Higgins