Sport is a profession that comes with a definite expiry date. If you wish to know the significance of age, an athlete is probably the best person that you can pose the question to. Well aware of the duration of their shelf lives, athletes go to unfathomable lengths to keep the undesirable consequences of age at bay. From Sachin Tendulkar to Lionel Messi, the sporting landscape is dotted with players who showed signs of greatness at very early stages in their life. At the other end of the spectrum are players who, despite realising their talent relatively late in their lives, leave behind monumental achievements in careers that do not last very long. It is time to take a look at 10 such late blooming athletes, who have enriched the history of their respective sports, not only numbers and mind-boggling statistics, but with plenty of memories as well.
#1 Michael Hussey (Cricket)
The 2010-11 Ashes series was nothing short of Ricky Ponting’s worst nightmare. Ponting lost the Ashes series for a third time and Australia looked in a shambles. However, one player, for whose blood the media had been baying prior to the commencement of the series, gave the Australian crowd something to cheer for, scoring 570 runs and ending up as the tournament’s second-highest run-getter, behind Alastair Cook (766 runs).
This batsman was none other than Mr.Cricket, Michael Hussey. Hussey spent a decade playing domestic cricket, for six years in Australia before shifting to England in 2001. His inordinate wait was finally over when he was called on to play for the Australian national side in 2005, aged 30.
Far from making him bitter and maybe even jaded, the time that he spent in domestic cricket had crafted Hussey into a near perfect batsman with sound technique and immense concentration, the latter attribute being one with which he would be associated for nearly his entire career.
When he first burst onto the international scene, Hussey displayed an almost insatiable appetite for runs, as he accumulated a jaw-dropping 1560 runs in just 15 Tests, while also becoming the fastest batsman to reach 1000 runs. His agility on the field, along with the ner superhuman feats that he achieved with the willow made one wonder if he was 30 or 13.
However, it was the ease with which this so-called old fashioned cricketer adjusted to the game’s shortest and youngest format, the T20s, that left everyone flabbergasted. In the IPL, playing for Chennai Super Kings, he dazzled the spectators with his electric brand of fielding and displaying an aggressive side to his batting, one that not many had known existed.
Despite playing alongside some of the powerful hitters that the game has ever known, such as Hayden and Dhoni, Hussey succeeded in carving a niche for himself and became one of the lynchpins of the batting order in a side that had a surfeit of batting talent. In January 2013, Hussey announced his retirement from international cricket after guiding Australia to a win against Sri Lanka with an undefeated 27 in Sydney. He continues to play in the IPL.