January 6, 2013
Michael Hussey, one of Australia’s most consistent, hard-working batsman who formed the backbone of their middle order, has retired from all international cricket after having whitewashed Sri Lanka in the three-match Test Series 3-0.
Truly, Mike Hussey has got to be one of Australia’s all-time greats, purely because of the fact that he amassed so many runs, despite being picked after he was 30 years old, an age where the retirement talk looms.
Having been part of an Ashes winning squad that whitewashed England 5-0, to having won the ODI World Cup in 2007, Hussey has had an exceptional career, given that he had just a 7-year career, compared to other greats that didn’t win an ODI WC, such as Jacques Kallis.
Hussey has always proved to be a ruthless finisher, and two knocks that come to mind are the 61* vs England off 66 balls during the 2nd Test of the Ashes 2006/07 and the 60* off 24 balls vs Pakistan in the 2010 T20 World Cup – which remains his highest T20I score.
In the rapid knock vs Pakistan in the crucial semi-final, Australia needed 34 runs from 2 overs. Mr. Cricket at the crease? No worries. First, he took apart Mohammad Amir who had bowled a fine spell until then (3-0-19-3), playing some smart shots like paddles and scoops to take him for 16 runs.
A further 18 runs from 6 balls was required, that too of the lethal Saeed Ajmal who continues to be a threat to the opposition even today. Not that it mattered to Hussey though. All that he needed was the strike, which Mitch Johnson gave him after taking a single.
17 runs off 5 balls, pressure all around. Hussey absolutely crushed Ajmal taking him for 6,6,4,6 to end the game and take Australia to the finals. It was so epic, that Cricinfo described the match-winning shot thus:
Australianism prevails! …. Michael Hussey has played like a dream. Whaddaplaayaaaa! …. U N B E L I E V A B L E. …. Take a bow Michael Hussey. Respect.
The second knock, which was the 61* vs England, was really special. It helped England win the Test in quick time, after the Aussie bowlers had bowled England out for 129. The fact that he hit only 5 fours in that innings display his stamina and intelligent batting. It was only fitting he hit the winning runs, establishing his role as a finisher.
So as you can see, two of my more cherished knocks of Hussey’s weren’t hundreds, but they contributed to the team when Australia badly needed them. A man for the team, it was no surprise his nickname was “Mr. Cricket”!
Apparently, he was a Australia's secret weapon when it came to bowling, as he could take wickets out of nowhere, being Clarke's go-to man whenever Australia needed a wicket. He even took Kumar Sangakkara's wicket in SL, not something everyone can do!
The magnificent slip catching, the sunscreen smeared over his face and the stunning consistency shown in such short time will surely be missed. So long, Mr. Cricket.
Author: Sai Ram
Sai Ram is the founder of The Cricket Diary, an avid manga reader, an animeaholic, a Federer/tennis fan, a football (soccer) fan, a passionate blogger, but most of all, a die-hard cricket fan - you knew that of course.