Slow and steady: Maxwell expects respect for Afghani spin king

Glenn Maxwell is plotting a game of survival against Afghan superstar Rashid Khan with Australia's most aggressive batsman ready to take it slow against the legspinner.

Saturday's World Cup clash with the South Asian minnows would usually be considered an ideal opening fixture, if not for Australia's struggles against their slow bowlers.

Khan has been one of the biggest names of the Big Bash League, his average of 16.02 the lowest of players who've taken more than 50 wickets.

Fellow Afghan spinners Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have also both averaged under 24 in the domestic competition, giving the Australians a reason to be on guard.


But on a wicket known to favour spinners in Bristol, it will be Khan who presents the biggest challenge with his wrong'un one of the toughest to pick in world cricket.

"At times I think I can," Maxwell said. "He's very difficult. He is probably one of the more difficult ones I've played against. He and [West Indian Sunil] Narine are probably the two you go through stages where you think you are going to hold them and then they bowl a ball that beats you.

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"And you sit there shaking your head. I think for me I feel like I don't think I'm going to get out to him but I don't feel like I'm going to score much off him. It's about targeting other blokes and making sure I'm putting pressure on him to change his lengths. I felt like I did that against him during the Big Bash at different times."

Maxwell's conservative approach is telling given his ODI strike-rate of 121.95 is the highest of any Australian who has had more than three innings.

But after three warm-up wins since landing in England, the right-hander is well aware of the danger 20-year-old Khan presents.

"I probably try and pick my spinners I go hard against," Maxwell said. "Whether it's history against them or I have confidence against them or that I've got a good game plan against certain players.

"But I think for him because he is such a dangerous player for them – they rely and him and Nabi a lot to stop [runs] and get wickets just after the powerplay. Just putting pressure on them to bring back the medium pace and faster bowlers might be the way we go."