Glenn Maxwell admitted he is very aware of the fastest century records and sometimes chases them to his own detriment, after clubbing the quickest ODI World Cup hundred off just 40 balls in Australia’s thumping win over the Netherlands in Delhi.
Maxwell obliterated the record set by South Africa’s Aiden Markram just a couple of weeks ago at the same ground. Maxwell also has the fourth fastest World Cup century off 51 balls against Sri Lanka in 2015, which was one ball shy of Kevin O’Brien’s then-record of 50 against England in 2011.
Maxwell conceded he has gone overboard in the past trying to set such records.
“I’m very aware of them,” Maxwell said. “I’m very aware of balls faced. I love the fastest 50, fastest 100 records. I think they’re pretty cool records. Sometimes to the detriment of myself, I’ve always probably pushed the boundaries a bit too much.
“I think against Afghanistan in 2015, I was 88 off  and I was like ‘I’m getting it in the next two balls’. I hit one straight to cover and butchered it. I think I got my fastest hundred next game.
“I’ve been in those positions before where I could make fast hundreds when I get on the run – I know I’m difficult to bowl to. It’s just about getting past the first ball.”
Maxwell revealed that the situation of the game and his own health helped calm him down after falling to a crazy first-ball slog in the previous game against Pakistan, where the perfect platform had been laid for him to do something similar.
He revealed he had been feeling unwell in the lead-up to the Netherlands game and had not had much sleep following the arrival of his wife and infant son to India.
“I was sitting in the changing room and I didn’t really want to bat, which is a bit different than last game where I was way too eager to get out there,” Maxwell said. “We talked about over-arousal levels and I probably reached double maximum [against Pakistan] if you couldn’t tell. But I was a little bit more chilled when I got out there. I didn’t have many high hopes. I’ve been pretty cooked the last couple of days.”
Australia’s innings had also stalled badly. They had slipped from 244 for 2 after 36 overs, to 267 for 5 in the 40th over when David Warner picked out fine leg just after reaching his century. Maxwell did not face his first ball until the 41st over. Australia fell to 290 for 6 when Cameron Green was sensationally run out by a direct hit from Sybrand Engelbrecht running in from long-on.
It forced Maxwell to play conventionally in the early part of his innings, which set him up perfectly. His first five boundaries featured three glorious drives along the ground, a leg glance, and a stock paddle sweep to a ball drifting down leg.
“It’s a bit weird that I had to calm myself down for the first 20-odd balls and rebuild,” Maxwell said. “I think the circumstances of, I suppose, the timing of the wickets probably changed the way I would have gone about it if it was just me and Davey at the back end. I felt like I was just super selective. Even with the boundaries I was hitting, until I got to about 50 or 60, I was literally hitting them flat through the gap or picking my spots pretty clearly where I wanted to go and it was only the back end where I tried to just pump everything.”
It wasn’t until Maxwell was on 35 after 21 balls that he unfurled the first of three outrageous reverse swats over backward point. He admitted that he thought he had got himself out with the second one when he picked the wrong length off Bas de Leede but still managed to reverse flick it into the stands at backward point to bring up his half-century off 27 balls.
“I thought it was going to be slower into the wicket or back of a length and he bowled it full at I think middle and off and luckily enough my hand speed got me out of trouble,” he said. “I feel like tonight, I actually gave myself a chance to be able to play those shots at the back end, where circumstances and pitch types, I suppose, in the first few games probably didn’t allow me to.
“I was in the stage of rebuilding and trying to get through and trying to bat as long as I possibly could, and just haven’t probably had the opportunity. And as I said last game, had the opportunity and threw it away.”
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo