Versatality personified

04 Feb 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in Michael Hussey

For a man who had it all……Michael Hussey

Michael Hussey often compared with Michael Bevan and rightly so. Hussey has fit into the role of Bevan so beautifully. Hussey one of the best finishers around today is a very versatile player who can be depended upon at any situation.

Hussey made his international debut against India at Perth in 2004. He took a year before he made a position in the team. But, when he did so –he did so in style and hasn’t been dropped ever since—a hallmark of a good player.

Michael Hussey had to wait for 11 years and score about 15000 runs in the domestic arena before making his debut at the international stage. That too was because Justin Langer had broken his rib. Hussey was to open. Hussey was 30 when he finally made his debut for Australia. He made a paltry score of 1 in his first innings but after that there was no looking back for Hussey as he struck gold in the 2nd test with a magnificent century. He hit another three centuries that summer. That marked Michael Hussey into international cricket.

Hussey later became a bit of a floater in the Aussie line up with no fixed batting position all to do with his versatility. I use the word ‘versatile’ very often but in the cricketing circle Michael Hussey and versatility is now one and the same thing.

You put in Michael Hussey to open—he performs. If Hussey is put into a situation with Australia at 20 for 5—he performs. If Hussey is asked to slog ’em out of the park coming in at the 45th over of the innings it’s not a problem for him. If that isn’t a definition to versatility then what is?

To add to this Hussey is a fantastic fielder (Mind you: Most Australians are) at gully and has taken some splendid catches in his not so long career. The only thing holding back the relentless Hussey- is his age. Having made his debut only at the age of 30; Hussey may find it difficult to stretch his career beyond the ashes series at home against England or at best he might drag it to the 2011 ICC World Cup which is to be held in the sub-continent. Hussey is 34 now and is looking as fit as ever.

Michael Hussey’s averaged sky rocketed to 80 at the start of his career and to his credit he was able to keep it there for about a year and a half. However, it was in mid 2008 when recession was having its major impacts and it seemed to have affected Hussey too who barely scored runs. In the next 15-18 months Hussey’s averaged dropped from a phenomenal 80 to 55 intensifying the achievement of ‘THE DON’ and all that on uncovered pitches.

Hussey is one of Australia’s best finishers and has been compared to Michael Bevan for a long time now. But, there is more to Hussey then just a finisher. He is a maneuverer, a grinder and a slogger. He’s a full pack. Unlike Bevan Hussey has performed at the test level too this just goes to show his fine technique and long hours of concentration to go with it.

After all what makes Hussey so versatile and one of Australia’s best finishers?

His nerve—Hussey always manages to keep his nerve under tensed situations. It is those situations when matches are won or lost; those situations which could change the course of the series. Hussey always comes up on top and it’s the opposition who often wilts. He’s a man of steel and is invaluable to Australia come the world cup.

Quick legs—one of the most underestimated reason perhaps but quick running between the wickets always changes the momentum of the game and a sudden look at the scoreboard takes the opposition captain by surprise. In spite of being 34 Hussey is one of the fittest going around.

Sublime timing: Michael Hussey manages to find the meat of the bat whenever he makes an effort to. When Hussey is seen playing at his best the cover drive is the 1st sign of what is to come. He’s one of the few players who manages to get the ball away with pure ease and grace.

Technique—Above all let’s not forget the man has a wonderful technique not just to last 50 Overs but to last over 5 days and he has done so and proved himself at the international level.

Michael Hussey’s career stats besides his average may not be very revealing having scored just two centuries in the ODI format. But, what stats can’t show is how invaluable Hussey has been to the team. Hussey has batted from almost all positions be it from opening right down to number 7-8. And as mentioned above give him the situation, give him the stage and give him the position—MEK Hussey will have his work cut out—but will come out on top.

Hussey currently tops the charts for the number one ranked batsman in the world and rightly so. He has recently overtaken Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who had the spot for a year. Michael Hussey has been in the top 10 ODI batsmen ever since 2005 and although his form did see a slump in 2008-2009, his ODI game never seemed to get affected—it was the test game that suffered.

Nevertheless, the rut is over Michael Hussey is back and he is now not just back in the reckoning for the ashes but has booked the number four position. Hussey recently retired from the T20 form of the game—quite surprising actually as Hussey would feature in most countries top 11 in the format. Perhaps, it is his age which is an issue.

Mike Hussey has been given the nick of “MR. CRICKET” and indeed what an apt name it is for a man with all weapons in his repertoire. Truly, Versatility performed.

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