Maxwell poised to lead Stars in BBL|09
Gun allrounder set to make his return to cricket in the upcoming KFC Big Bash League after taking break to deal with his mental health
11 December 2019, 05:17 PM AEST
The Melbourne Stars believe the KFC BBL is the perfect environment for Glenn Maxwell to make his return to top-flight cricket with the star allrounder set to resume the captaincy reins this season.
Maxwell stepped away from cricket in October during Australia's T20 series against Sri Lanka citing mental health issues, but has since returned to training with Victoria's Marsh Sheffield Shield squad.
The 31-year-old has also played three Premier Cricket games for his Melbourne club team Fitzroy-Doncaster in recent weeks ahead of the Stars' season getting underway next week on December 20 when they travel to Brisbane to face the Heat on the Gold Coast.
Maxwell earnt plaudits for his leadership last summer from the likes of Mitchell Johnson after taking the club from bottom of the ladder to the verge of a maiden BBL title last summer in his first season as skipper.
"He did an amazing job last year from taking the team from dead last to second," Hussey told cricket.com.au. "He's got an infectious personality, he's great to be around.
"The environment we've created is one of freedom. You can go out there and be your individual self and you know that everyone in the team will back your abilities.
"It's a nice environment for him to go out and just play, he's protected from all external (noise)."
Beyond the BBL, Australia's next limited-overs engagement is a three-match ODI tour of India in January, with series against South Africa and New Zealand (at home and away) to follow in February and March.
Victoria also have four more Sheffield Shield games after the BBL, but it remains to be seen whether Maxwell will put his hand up for inclusion in those campaigns.
"I've been in touch with him a lot the last three weeks, we've caught up quite a few times," said Hussey. "He seems to be in quite a reasonable place. Obviously I'm not a professional in this area so I'm guided by him.
"But he seems very excited by the Stars' season and what he can bring to the table and how he can help out the team go one step further than previous years."
Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson both stuck half-centuries in their first games back for Victoria last month after they too took mental health breaks.
Along with Maxwell, all three have been praised for the decisions to take a break from the game, with India captain Virat Kohli and Australia coach Justin Langer among the many to commend them.
"It has set the right example for cricketers around the world that if you're not in the best frame of mind you try, and try and try, but as human beings you reach a tipping point at some stage or the other," said Kohli.
Cricket Australia's sports science and medicine chief Alex Kontouris labelled the trio "role models".
"It's what society needs, to talk openly about it and break down some of the stigma associated with (mental health)," Kontouris told cricket.com.au last month. "Hopefully it helps people in the wider community, particularly younger people, who are experiencing troubles to go out and talk about it.
The Stars were denied a maiden BBL title last summer after a horror collapse in the final against cross-town rivals Melbourne Renegades.