A good player in the shortest format of the game is one who pays more attention to consistency over wild slogging and one who has maximum impact on the outcome of games for his team. Two people come to my mind instantly; they have not put a foot wrong when it has come to that, yet, have never been given the opportunities they deserve: David Hussey and Brad Hodge of Australia. Brad Hodge has scored and has kept scoring runs forever, but never got the warranted break. His Victorian teammate seems to be facing a similar situation – the world’s best T20 player cannot find himself a place in the playing XI for Australia in the ongoing World T20.
He not only is the highest run-scorer in T20 cricket – domestic and international – but is also the most experienced player in T20Is. Nobody in world cricket has scored more than Hussey’s 4670 runs. Hussey offers great commitment in the field apart from his aggressive batting and part-time off-spin. His versatility can make him an asset to any team, but the Australians don’t seem to think so. They have opted for Cameron White ahead of David Hussey. Good move or bad? – in my view, terrible. White may have been an explosive batsman earlier, perhaps still is, but his selection isn’t warranted given the way he has been batting in recent times. If White’s form and performances are acceptable, David Hussey should be making the cut far ahead of him purely on the basis of lending a spin option to the team.
Hussey has a record of 756 runs at an average of 23.62 and 19 wickets at an average of 19.47 in 38 T20Is; having said that, David Hussey’s recent performances have been below par. His batting average that was once 31 in early 2010 has fallen down to below 24 over 13 outings – that perhaps speaks volumes by itself. But on the other hand, similarly, Cameron White has nothing solid in terms of performances to warrant his selection ahead of David Hussey. Glenn Maxwell has delivered some match-winning performances in the UAE prior to the World Cup and thus has justified his spot in the team.
Former Australian skipper, Ian Chappell has gone onto another plane and said that current skipper – George Bailey needs to make way for David Hussey, as White, Maxwell and Hussey deserve a place in the side. Bailey, who replaced Cameron White as captain of the T20 side, made his debut as a player and captain of the national T20 side in February, and averages 25 in 8 games. Coach Mickey Arthur feels Bailey is a remarkable leader and is contented with his influence and involvement in the team.
I quite agree with Chappell’s assessment of the Australians handicapping themselves by leaving David Hussey out. With the Aussies known to struggle against spin, his ability to adapt in conditions and play spin better than many in the team will be missed if he doesn’t make the team even in the Super 8s, which could be the turning point for the Aussies’ campaign. Whether or not they will make the right decision at the right time, time will tell.