A tribute to Mike Hussey
Back in February 2004,when Mike Hussey made his ODI debut against India, he left a telling impression. He scored 17* (4 x 2) as he helped Australia clinch the match by five wickets. It was a fantastic display of batting as he scored two glorious boundaries through the covers off Irfan Pathan as the Aussies chased down the target of 203 runs by 5 wickets. Soon after, I saw him playing in South Africa in the year 2006, where the Proteas won the series 3-2. In the fifth match of that series, Hussey played a supportive knock with Ponting coming at number four. He scored a quick fire 81 (75), studded with 9 blistering boundaries and 3 sixes. In that particular match, he didn’t take any risks as he was just finding the gaps and when the loose ball was delivered, he made the most of it. I was really amazed after watching that particular innings of Hussey.
Hussey was the most reliable batsman for Australia as the top-order batsmen fumbled in the Test series against South Africa in 2006. For instance, in the 2nd Test at Kingsmead, Durban, Hussey came in the 80th over of the innings when the score read 198/3. He was the last man to be dismissed for 75 as the Aussies were folded up for 369. Yet again, he showed his master class in that Test match as he played some delightful shots on a tough and bouncy track. Hussey had been the trump card for the Aussies from 2005 till his retirement; and now without him, the Aussies are now suffering a lot.
Hussey also won the ICC’s ODI Player of The Year award on November 2006 and was the 12th man in the World ODI XI 2007. Hussey also won the Australian Player of The Year award at the annual Allan Border Presentation in February 2006. He deserved these awards, as he picked up from where the legends had left.
The greatest asset Hussey has is his way of approaching the innings. He never takes the attack to the opposition immediately. First, he reads the conditions and the nature of the wicket really well. Also, he adapts to the situation of his team and he can be a more valuable player when his team is under trouble. No other player in the world can bat like Hussey, and therefore, he has been the trump card for the Chennai Super Kings as well. Many people or fans of Chennai Super Kings will be relieved as Hussey would probably be available for the entirety of IPL 6.
Even in the IPL he shows his patience, which ultimately led to his success. He plans his innings well in the first 6 overs and scores as many as runs as possible. But after the PowerPlay overs, the field is spread out. At that point of time, he would still be able to pick the gaps and score boundaries and, at times, clears the fence. That’s the trademark of Hussey, and perhaps we would witness it in this year’s IPL as well.
Australia would certainly find it difficult to replace Hussey, as he’s been a great and reliable cricketer for Australia. He’s one of the greatest cricketers of the modern era.