THE batsman who holds the record for the fastest 50 ever scored in Australian domestic one-day cricket has joined South Wilts – via the IPL!

Glenn Maxwell, 24, smashed an amazing half-century off just 19 balls for Victoria Bushrangers against the Tasmanian Tigers in an Australian Ryobi Cup Big Bash t20 match in 2011.

This season he will be plying his trade for South Wilts and, weather permitting, will make his competitive debut against the Hampshire Academy on the Ageas Bowl Nursery Ground on Saturday.

Maxwell’s signing is a massive coup by South Wilts, who have finished third in the ECB Southern Electric Premier League for the past two seasons.

The Vicorian all-rounder – a hard hitting right-hand batsman and decent off-spin bowler – plays regular Sheffield Shield state cricket and played twice for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL before arriving in Hampshire.

“He had hoped to play county cricket for Hampshire, but regulations didn’t allow it,” South Wilts skipper James Hayward explained.

“We got word that he was available and wanted to play club cricket, so nipped in smartly before news got around.

“For us to pick him up is incredible really. Three weeks ago he was playing alongside the best players in the world at the IPL. He seems hugely enthusiastic and is clearly a dangerous guy with bat in hand.”

South Wilts haven’t won the Premier League since 2004 but, with Maxwell aboard, Hayward harbours genuine hopes they’ll mount a challenge this season – even if they are a little under-cooked after the recent wet spell hit their preparations.

“We’ve only managed one friendly and the twenty20 with the Hampshire Academy – and lost them both – but everyone is in the same boat.

“There is a lot of talent in our squad so I am not overly concerned by the lack of cricket.”