Michael Hussey – Australia’s Mr. Dependable
Andrew Flintoff rightly calls Michael Hussey, ‘Mr. Cricket’ and felt obliged playing alongside him in the 2009 season of the Indian Premier League in South Africa, even if it was for one week.
The man has an encyclopedic knowledge about the game, which shows due to the level of his cricketing brain portrayed on the field and when he is batting, with his brilliant skills coming to the fore. He eats, sleeps and walks cricket and this is the reason why he has been one of Australia’s finest flexible cricketers during the span of his 8-year international career. His involvement on the field and his concentration while batting makes him one of the busiest players to have played the game and that him an asset for not just the Aussies, but actually any team that he plays for.
Michael Edward Hussey was born on May 27, 1975 at Mount Lawley, an area in the city of the WACA, which is Perth. David Hussey is his half-brother and both of them have definitely made their family proud due to their cricketing achievements and global recognition. Michael though unlike David, had to wait for close to a decade to sneak into the Australian team, which was reminiscent of a NBA all-stars basketball team. He could have been one of the greatest talents Australia could never fully utilize, just as Victoria’s Brad Hodge or spinner Stuart MacGill, but his perseverance and determination were the instrumental factors in eventually making it to the national side.
Hussey’s total of 6471 runs in the Sheffield Shield competition playing for his home team Western Australia, is the eighth highest run aggregate of all Australian batsmen of all time, which proved how experienced he was in domestic cricket and the Aussie selectors were perhaps sleeping before the 2004-05 season. He even participated in English county cricket from the period of 2001 – 2005 playing for three teams, i.e. Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Durham. His biggest source of inspiration has always been Allan Border, the first World Cup winning captain of Australia who motivated him to practice for long hours in the nets to improve his batting.
He finally earned a central contract from Cricket Australia in late 2004, following his ODI debut against India at Perth in 2004 earlier that year where he hit an unbeaten 17 as Australia won by 5 wickets. The contract enabled him to make his Test debut in the first Test match of the home summer, against the West Indies in Brisbane in November 2005. And from there, there was no looking back for him as he kept on accumulating runs for Australia on a consistent basis, with his rise being astonishing as one of the world’s leading batsmen in all formats of the game and one of the best fielders around as well.
Michael Hussey’s best moments
The first of Hussey’s career highs was being the first man to hit the roof of the Telstra Dome with a six of Makhaya Ntini’s bowling in the third ODI of the Super Series between Australia and the World XI in October 2005. He was already having a brilliant 2005 in this format of the game and this achievement although small, capped off a remarkable year for him which also included his Test debut.
In his debut Test series against the West Indies, Hussey scored a hundred each in the first innings of the second Test match at Hobart opening the batting and the third Test at Adelaide batting lower down the order, at No.5. He remained unbeaten in the three of the first six innings he played, averaging an astounding 120.33. This was the perfect kick start Hussey needed for his Test career and were the first signs of his adaptability, which means that he can bat at any position if asked to by the team despite the fact that in domestic cricket, he played as a specialist opener in all formats of the game.
Come 6th February 2006, and Michael Hussey was tied with 22 votes alongside pacer Brett Lee, all-rounder Andrew Symonds and wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist to win the award for Australia’s ODI player of the year 2005, at the Allan Border Medal presentation. Hussey eventually won a close contest between the quartet as he had built a huge fan base in the 14 months of international cricket he had played at the time, with his great finishing abilities making many remind of Michael Bevan in his prime.
There was more to look forward for Huss in 2006 which is the year he was unanimously declared the ICC ODI Player of the Year, receiving the award in Mumbai on the eve of the final of the ICC Champions Trophy against the West Indies. He was also a part of the ICC’s World XI in 2006 as declared during the awards and also considered as 12th man in the following year’s XI. But prior to all this, it was in September in the triangular tournament in Malaysia that Hussey captained the Australian team for the first time against the men from the Caribbean, due to the rotation policy adopted by Cricket Australia which resulted in Ricky Ponting being unavailable for the game. And in his very first match as skipper, he hit an unbeaten 109 off just 90 balls despite batting at No.6, proving that he could be Australia’s vice-captain in the immediate future, with Michael Clarke currently leading the team.
Hussey was yet again looked up to by the Australian selectors to lead the team in the 2007 Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in New Zealand prior to the World Cup, due to both Ponting and vice-captain Gilchrist rested from the three match contest. Although Hussey has not win a single ODI for Australia being skipper, it is definitely a moment of honour and a dream come true for a cricketer to lead his nation someday.
As a batsman, in Tests, Hussey broke into the top 10 of the ICC rankings on 18th April 2006, making him one of the fastest players in Test cricket to do so. He had reached 1000 runs in Tests in a span of 166 days, which saw Australia win 5 of the 6 Tests played at home and whitewash South Africa and Bangladesh in their own backyard. While in ODIs, he became officially the World’s No.1 batsman in January 2010, replacing Indian captain and his Chennai Super Kings teammate MS Dhoni.
Besides, Hussey was a part of the Australian side which won the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 in India and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies. As well as the team which won 16 consecutive Test matches on the trot from the period of November 2005 – January 2008.
In the World Twenty-20 2010 in the West Indies, it was in the semifinal against Pakistan where Hussey stole the limelight by winning Australia lost game, by single-handedly making the team come back from the dead with a scintillating 60 runs off just 24 balls. He remained unbeaten in the end, and hit Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for 20 runs in the 20th over despite being under huge pressure to deliver after an average tournament otherwise for him. The knock lightened up the championship and is considered to be one of the best ever in T-20 internationals.
Michael Hussey in the Cricket World Cup
Knowing his stature as one of the finest finishers in international cricket, it is astounding that Hussey has an extremely poor World Cup record. He has featured in Australia’s last two campaigns in 2007 and 2011 respectively but has not contributed much on the grandest stage of them all.
In the 2007 edition in the Caribbean, he was not required to bat in five out of the eleven matches played by Australia in the tournament. But he did get an opportunity to bat in the first four games of the competition, but was dismissed for single digit scores of 4 against minnows Scotland, 2 against the Netherlands, 5 against biggies South Africa and 9 against hosts West Indies in their first Super Eight match. He did get into the double digit arena in the Super Eight games against Ireland and New Zealand, but those were still not as big a contribution that Hussey would have liked to provide his team. But it was not his fault since the Australian top order was on fire throughout the championship and since Hussey batted at No.6, he had to face a few deliveries and score as many runs as possible, which unfortunately did not happen. He ended the tournament with an aggregate of 87 runs at a meager average of 17.4.
Four years later, and Hussey was not a part of the 15 man squad for the World Cup to be held in the Indian subcontinent. It was because he had injured his hamstring during the ODI series against England at home prior to the big event. However, as fateful as this seems, Doug Bollinger got injured after the first three games of the tournament and a replacement was required. Fortunately, Hussey recovered well in time and was the automatic choice to replace Bollinger.
Although Hussey went past his 2007 aggregate in the four matches he played, yet again he failed to live up to the expectations of the Australian fans who expected him to fire big time so that the team can defend its World Cup title for the fourth consecutive time. He started off positively with a 54 off just 43 balls against pushovers Kenya in Bangalore but did not get a chance to bat against Canada in the next game. That perhaps was the last nail in the coffin as Hussey’s rhythm was broken yet again, prior to the marquee clashes against Pakistan and due to the loss against them, Australia had to play India in the quarterfinal at Ahmedabad. Against Pakistan, Hussey hit 12 off 22 balls struggling against spin, while he was dismissed for just 3 off 9 balls by one of his nemesis’ Zaheer Khan in the match against India.
Australia crashed out of the 2011 championship with Hussey not entirely at fault, as the worst sometimes happens with the best too. He finished with 75 runs in 3 innings, averaging exactly 25. In total, he has 162 runs in World Cup cricket in 8 innings at an average of 20.25, a record which he would be looking forward to improve in the 2015 edition of the tournament which will be played at home and in New Zealand.
The only question remains whether he will be playing international cricket for that long, considering he will turn 37 this May and by March 2015, he should be close to turning 40. Thus, World Cup cricket is perhaps the lowest point of an otherwise amazing career of his.
Michael Hussey’s ODI records
Michael Hussey had to wait for a period of twelve months before playing the second one-day international of his career, since the team had no vacancy to accommodate him in the team for the remainder of 2004 and the triangular series at home against Pakistan and West Indies at the beginning of 2005. But he made an immediate impact in the second and the third ODI of the five match series in New Zealand where he finally got his due. Batting at No.7, he smashed 32 runs off just 20 balls, involving three fours and one six to make Australia go beyond 300 in their 50 overs, which was looking improbable at one stage. Australia went on to win by 106 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the series. While in the next game, he bettered that effort with another unbeaten knock. Only this time, he hit a 73-ball 65 at a strike rate of 89.04, coming into bat in the 29th over with Australia struggling at 128/5. With the help of Hussey’s knock, the team finished at 264/5 in 50 overs, and Hussey ultimately proved to the difference between the two sides as the Aussies went on to win by 86 runs to wrap up the series, with two matches to play. Unfortunately, the jury adjudged Michael Clarke as man of the match when Hussey thoroughly deserved it.
The tour of England was up next and Hussey made up for his failure in the T20 internationals against the hosts, with some fine performances in the one-day matches against them as well as Bangladesh. He ended with 227 runs in 5 matches, unbeaten in 2 of them therefore averaging 75.66 but more importantly possessing a strike rate of 95.78. His 62 not out in the final at Lords was critical in Australia managing an appalling 190, which proved to be enough for at least a tie and not a defeat.
In the initial years of his career, he was shuffled more often than not between No.6 and No.7 depending on the situation of the match and because of the fact that he was flexible enough to come into bat anytime required by the team. But there were more fifties to follow in the year with another unbeaten knock from him, a 74-ball 75 against the ICC World XI in the third ODI of the 3 match series at home, as he shared a 145-run partnership with Shane Watson off only 133 balls to ensure that Australia reach a competitive total of 293/5 in 50 overs. In the end, the Aussies prevailed by 156 runs to whitewash the World XI in the series.
Two months later, he hit an aggressive 56-ball 88 and outstandingly, remaining unbeaten till the end in the third ODI at Christchurch against New Zealand yet again. That innings took Australia to a colossal 331/7 batting out the entire overs, with fifties from Clarke, Ponting, and Brad Hodge helping the cause. However, this was a rare instance that a half century from Hussey led in Australia losing the match as New Zealand chased down 332 with sheer grit for a consolation victory, as Australia won the 3 match series by 2-1.
2006 proved to be even better a year for Hussey as he kept piling on runs after runs, as this was definitely the inflationary period of his career. He played some good knocks against South Africa in the traditional triangular series at home, which also involved Sri Lanka which was the team that eventually made it to the final. Hussey finished with 308 runs in 11 matches, remaining not out in three of those matches at a strike rate of 100.98, averaging 38.50.
That form continued in South Africa as well, as in the five one-day matches played there, Hussey hit fifties in the first and the last ODI, ending with 200 runs at an exact average of 40, as he was dismissed in all the matches. That maybe the reason Australia lost the series 2-3, with the last match in Johannesburg seeing South Africa chase down a world record total of 434. However, Hussey’s strike rate remained impressive, that of 102.04 as his reputation was increasing by the day in the ranks of any opposition which may have been relieved to see Michael Bevan no more playing for the Aussies.
An almost nothing series in Bangladesh was followed by a short break before Australia playing some kind of warm-up matches prior to the ICC Champions Trophy in India by playing India and West Indies in a triseries in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Hussey was made captain of the team for the first time, but it turned out for only one game, which was the first match against the West Indies. He won the toss and made Australia bat first, but the team was in trouble at 104/5 in 26 overs when Hussey was joined by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin at the crease. Both of them went on to put up a record 165-run partnership with Hussey scoring his first ODI hundred and that too as captain of the team, another rare feat achieved by him. His 90-ball 109 not out took Australia to 272/6 in 50 overs, which had something in it for the bowlers to defend. However, West Indies chased down 273 with three overs to spare and it was a bad start for the world champions in the tournament. Australia made a strong comeback though, to go on and win the DLF Cup as Huss played a crucial 24-ball 30 not out to take the team to 240/6 in 50 overs, a modest total but atleast a little challenging for the West Indies to chase. Australia won the final by 127 runs with Hussey bludgeoning 152 runs in 3 matches, at an average of 152!
What can Australia do without Mr. Cricket? However, the Champions Trophy showed perhaps for the first time ever Hussey’s defensive style of batting in the ODI game after he hit a painstaking 32 runs off 85 balls against England in a group game at Jaipur, to guide Australia to a small target of 153 and that too batting at No.5. While in the semifinal against New Zealand at Mohali, he scored 35 runs off 52 balls as Australia went on to post 208 runs on the board after 50 overs on a difficult batting surface, which was a winning one in the end. Despite not seeing much of his antics, Australia won the tournament by defeating the West Indies again, in the final in Mumbai.
The home summer in Australia was average but Hussey was back as captain for 3 matches in New Zealand and a hit a 105 in the second match at Auckland, which Australia would go on to lose as well as the series 0-3 just before the World Cup. The next 12 months beginning from the World Cup turned out to be quiet for Hussey, and in the triseries at home against India and Sri Lanka, he showed his constructive style of batting, a rarity indeed. However, his IPL form aided on the tour of West Indies where he hit 194 runs in 4 matches. The rest of the 2008 went without much from him, but Hussey had enough and made 2009 his own with above 1000 runs in the calendar year, which saw Australia win series in England, India as well as defending the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa.
The beginning of 2010 saw Hussey score 315 runs in 9 ODIs, 5 against Pakistan and 4 against West Indies where he averaged 35. There were five fifties to follow and no century in an average year for him and the ODI team in particular which lost series in England, a one-off match in India and at home against Sri Lanka.
2011 did not start well for him since he was injured for the first six ODIs against England at home, which left him out initially of the World Cup. But even as he miraculously recovered, he failed to make a big impact in the championship and that resulted primarily in Australia’s quarterfinal exit. He hit a 91-ball 108 against Bangladesh in an ODI in Dhaka which was the highlight of the year. While he played the ideal finisher for his team like the old times with a 30 not out of 21 balls in the first ODI and 45 not out off 64 balls in the third ODI against South Africa in South Africa, and both the games were won by Australia to take the 3 match series, 2-1.
Hussey has played 167 ODIs and scored 4862 runs, remaining not out as many as 43 times with an outstanding average of 51.17 and a strike rate of 87.76, despite scoring only 3 ODI hundreds and a highest score of 109.
Michael Hussey’s Test Cricket records
Hussey made his Test debut against the West Indies at The Gabba in 2005, by opening the batting for Australia alongside Matthew Hayden since Justin Langer was injured. He did not have the best of debuts, scoring just 1 and 29 in the match. However, in the second Test at Hobart, he displayed his true potential to the fullest with a 234-ball 137 in the first innings, hitting as many as 19 fours and a strike rate of 58.54. This took Australia’s score to 406, which was massive to the West Indies’ 149. That was followed by an unbeaten 31 in the second innings as Australia won the Test match by 9 wickets and he was subsequently named man of the match for that fine effort.
Come Adelaide and Michael Hussey would score another first innings century, but batting as low as No.5 so that Langer was back opening the batting with Hayden. His 133 came off 215 balls, this being a much more enterprising knock with 16 fours and 3 sixes, at a strike rate of 61.86 and also remaining not out till the end of the innings. It gave Australia a handy first innings lead of 23, since Brian Lara’s double century took West Indies to a competitive total of 405 batting first. While in the second innings, he remained unbeaten on 30 off 61 balls to guide Australia home by 7 wickets chasing 182 runs to win, and whitewash West Indies 3-0 in the Test series. His average remained above 120 and that almost ensured that Hussey cemented the No.5 spot in Tests for a period of time, even if Michael Clarke had to be dropped from the team at his expense. But what happens, happens for the best and eventually Hussey and Clarke got to play together and have guided Australia in the right direction ever since.
The following series against South Africa at home may have belonged to Ricky Ponting, the then captain but his efforts would have meant nothing if it was not for Michael Hussey’s consistency throughout the series. His half-century in the second innings of the first Test at Perth ensured a draw while he followed that up with a 122 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the second Test on Boxing Day, which was another match-winning performance. It came off just 203 balls, and included 14 fours and 4 sixes at a strike rate of 60.09. As the others failed miserably, it took Australia’s total to 355 in the first innings which fortunately the bowlers could do justice to and eventually Australia won by 184 runs. Hussey ended on an aggregate of 279 runs in 5 innings, averaging 55.80 and thus ending a perfect first home summer for him in Tests.
South Africa hosted Australia two months later, so the battle continued between the two giants. He scored two fifties in the final Test at The Wanderers in Johannesburg, which eventually proved to be extremely important as Australia went on whitewash the South Africans in their own backyard by the margin of 3-0 in 3 Tests, winning in Jo’burg by 2 wickets. They were behind for most of the game and more so when Justin Langer was injured yet again. But Hussey stepped up to open for the Aussies and this was the umpteenth time he showed his adaptability to be comfortable batting at any position for the team. Isn’t he is a complete team man?
His 257 runs in the 3 Tests in South Africa made him one of the most outstanding feats a batsman can ever hope to achieve in Test cricket. Against Bangladesh in the second Test at Chittagong, in the process of his 182, he reached 1000 Test runs taking just 18 innings to do so. His century was his first away from home and his fourth altogether, out of the 16 Test centuries he has scored till date. Expectedly, Australia whitewashed Bangladesh 2-0 with Hussey’s performances still not well highlighted enough but effective as he finished with 242 runs in the 3 innings he played, averaging a superb 80.66.
Australia did not play a single Test match for the next seven months, until the Ashes series at home against England in November 2006. It was one of the best series Hussey ever played in and for Australia, who went on to whitewash their archrivals 5-0 and regaining the Ashes in style. He began well with an 86 off 187 balls in the first innings of the Gabba which took Australia to a colossal score of 602/9 decl. That was enough to demoralize England and go 1-0 up in the series. But his moment in the sun came at the Adelaide Oval in the next Test match where he smashed 61 runs off just 66 balls in the second innings, making Australia successfully chase a target of 168 runs in only 32.5 overs, winning in the dying moments of the game. It proved that Australia’s batting did not just consist of the top-order and oppositions had to get rid of Mr. Cricket to feel comfortable at some stage of the game.
He was in such good form that many felt that another Test hundred was due from Hussey, and England’s bowling attack was looking miserable that it actually happened. Hussey scored his fifth Test hundred on his home ground, the WACA at Perth in the third Test match in the second innings. England and Australia were equal in the first innings, but Australia had already taken the game away with this century leading them to 527/5 in the second innings, setting the visitors an improbable 550 to win. What was most impressive of this innings that Hussey was promoted up the order to bat at No.4, so as to suit the team strategy to replace Damien Martyn with Michael Clarke, and since it was felt that Clarke would do more justice to the No.5 spot having just made a return to the team. Hussey won the man of the match award for the same, as Australia won another Test on the trot.
He did not contribute as much in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne and the New Year’s Test at Sydney. Yet, the team managed to win both the Tests which showed its strength and the form it was in. However, Hussey had already become a run machine for Australia who did not mind, not being in the limelight in comparison to his other legendary teammates, scoring 458 runs in 7 innings at an average of 65.43. By now though, he had become one of the best batters in the world in Test cricket as well as ODI cricket and this is brilliant considering he had just played close to two years of international cricket on average in both forms of the game.
With hardly any Tests in the year 2007, Hussey could not accumulate many more runs in the year. But his peak form resumed in the next home summer against both the Asian sides, Sri Lanka and India. He hit two back-to-back centuries against Sri Lanka in two Test matches. A 133 came in Brisbane off just 249 balls as his 245 run partnership with Michael Clarke was crucial in taking Australia to a massive 551/4 declared and the team went on to win by an innings and 40 runs. While his 132 in the first innings in the following Test at Hobart came off 220 balls, at a strike rate of 60 which included 18 fours and 1 six. He was supported well by the rest of the batsmen, as he top scored in Australia’s effort of going beyond 500 for the second time in two innings, getting to 542/5 declared. Australia went on to win by 96 runs to win all Tests of yet another series.
But the series against India was the first signs of Hussey proving to be human. What goes up, has to come down afterall. He scored an excellent century in the second innings of the second Test at Sydney, hitting 145 not out off only 259 balls as Australia were able to declare at a score of 401/7 and go on to win the Test by 122 runs, although the innings is forgotten by many due to several controversies created in the game. With Australia’s 16 Test winning streak coming to an abrupt end following a defeat in incidentally Perth which is Hussey’s home town, the team’s form begun to take a beating and this co-incided with his misfortunes with the bat. Although his misfortunes can be considered as average performances if another batsman was in his shoes, but such did his stocks fall that many doubted if he could play in the same manner again and that too with several factors to contend with, such as a team in transition and playing more in away conditions.
The next tour of Australia was in the West Indies, where he scored just one fifty in six innings, averaging a mere 23, his lowest in a Test series as of that moment. He did score a century in the first innings of the first Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy against India in Bangalore in October 2008, which helped in a draw. But Hussey was not at his best because he could get more hundreds after reaching the fifty mark and even those fifties were scratchy efforts, which led to Australia losing the trophy back to India although he was one of the best batsmen to have performed on the trip. His aggregate was 394 runs in 7 innings at an average of 56.28.
The flame of poor form had clearly burst in the Australian summer with Hussey scoring one fifty in the five Tests played. Australia needed him to fire against the resurgent South Africans but ended up with 85 runs in 6 innings. While the return trip of South Africa was no good either although it was a better showing than the series at home, with 132 runs in 6 innings averaging an exact 22. A mediocre Ashes tour in England followed, although it was lit up for Hussey with a century in the final Test at the Oval, where he hit 121 in the second innings on an Indian subcontinental like pitch to give Australia some hope to square the series and retain the Ashes, which ofcourse did not happen eventually.
The only highlight of Hussey’s contribution in the 2009-10 home summer was the 134 not out he hit against Pakistan in the second innings of the Sydney Test, batting most of the time with tailenders which is a very difficult task for a regular batsman and this proved his class. Australia, who were trailing by above 200 runs in the first innings, set Pakistan a target of 176 and went to win a lost Test by 37 runs to take the series 2-0.
2010 as well went in vain for Hussey until the first Ashes Test in Brisbane when he hit his highest Test score till date, 195 runs off just 330 balls in the first innings after Australia were reeling at 145/5. He put a 307-run partnership with Brad Haddin to tilt things in Australia’s favour, although the match ended in a stalemate. He was Australia’s most consistent batsman in the series, despite the team losing 1-3 in 5 Tests. Like in 2006, he failed to perform in Melbourne and Sydney but had a purple patch in the first five innings of the series, as three fifties followed and then a 116 at Perth which won Australia the game. His fine record against England was kept intact as he finished with 570 runs on aggregate.
Hussey seems to enjoy subcontinent conditions and his role in Australia winning a Test series in Sri Lanka under Clarke’s leadership in 2011 was pivotal. He hit 463 runs in 5 innings, which included two consecutive centuries as he won the man of the match awards in all the 3 Tests as well as the man of the series award for even bowling surprisingly well and picking up 2 or 3 wickets.
Another mini-recession seemed to be on the cards following poor outings in South Africa and at home against New Zealand. But he got things back on track to an extent with 293 runs in 6 innings against India recently, which included an 89 not out in the second innings at Melbourne, which was reminiscent of the Sydney innings against Pakistan and a century in the second Test at Sydney, that being his 16th of his career, an amazing number considering that he either bats at No.5 or No.6.
He has played 70 Tests in a span of seven years, scored 5489 runs with an average of 50.82.
Michael Hussey in T20s and the IPL
Michael Hussey is the personification of the evolution of T20 cricket in the last seven years. He is typically orthodox, trying to work and caress the ball in the gaps available in the ground therefore relying more often than not on ones and twos, and all these runs have huge value in the shortest format of the game. However, if required, he can play the role of a finisher with panache like he does in ODI cricket by smashing the ball to all parts of the ground. This style of batting can frustrate any opposition, but unfortunately he does not get support from the rest of his team who degrade T-20s as ‘festival cricket. This attitude clearly explains Australia’s mediocre performances in T-20 cricket but he does remain till date one of the most sought-after batsmen in the world.
This was realized by the Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural Indian Premier League auction of 2008 and he was picked by the franchise for just above half a million US dollars.
And as of now, he has been one of the most valuable players for the team, having played all the seasons with Chennai itself. In the second match of the IPL 2008, he hit a ferocious 116 not out against Kings XI Punjab making him the second player to score a hundred on his IPL debut after the New Zealand opener and Kolkata Knight Riders’ Brendon McCullum.
Unfortunately, he missed out on the 2009 season in South Africa due to Australia’s ODI series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. And it reflected on the Super Kings’ performance, as they finished fourth in the tournament having a topsy-turvy run and eventually losing to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the semifinals.
But he made amends in the 2010 edition of the tournament which returned to India in the second half after Australia’s tour to New Zealand. His entry changed the fortunes and the overall morale of the team which was languishing at the bottom of the table, making them fight back into the competition and eventually like a fairytale ending, go on to win it by defeating the Mumbai Indians in the final.
Michael Hussey replaced his out of form Australian teammate Matthew Hayden to open the batting for Chennai super Kings in the 2010 Champions League in South Africa alongside the rookie Murali Vijay, and supported Vijay’s attacking style of batting by playing in a composed manner without losing his wicket atleast till the 16th over. Therefore it set the platform for big scores, with some of the powerful strikers of the cricket ball in the team such as Suresh Raina, captain MS Dhoni and South Africa’s Albie Morkel. He won the man of the match for his match winning fifty against one of the home sides, the Warriors and due to that effort, Chennai proceeded to the knockout stages from where they went on to win the title. This made it a glorious double for Chennai Super Kings, having won the IPL and Champions League T-20 the same year thereby confirming their stature as the No.1 T-20 club in the world.
Come the next year, and Michael Hussey was bought back by the Chennai franchise in the auction which allowed teams to revamp their rosters as per the IPL rules. The Super Kings’ were different from the rest by possessing the same team for the following three years as well, and 2011 was the first sign of the team’s dominance likely to continue in the future. Hussey had now cemented the opener’s slot alongside Vijay and helped Chennai win their second IPL on the trot, despite tough competition from teams such as the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders. This time, Hussey was available for most of the tournament since there was no series for Australia till they played Sri Lanka in July.
However, Chennai was shockingly knocked out of the first round of the Champions League 2011, therefore being unsuccessful in defending the title. Huss played well in the first game against the Mumbai Indians in Chennai hitting a crucial 87 and remaining not out till the end, as the team finished with 159 runs in the stipulated 20 overs. But the team went on lose and then beat Cape Cobras but again were defeated by Trinidad and Tobago, with Mr. Cricket not scoring many runs.
Overall, he has played 21 IPL games and 8 Champions League games, scored 989 runs in the 29 matches remaining unbeaten in 12 of the matches at a strike rate of 122.03.
Michael Hussey has not been involved as such in any major controversy except for being a part of the team that won the Sydney Test in 2008 against India in dubious circumstances. Apart from that, he was criticized firstly for turning out for the Chennai Super Kings rather than his home team, the Western Warriors in the inaugural Champions League T-20 in 2008 since he must have felt that money had to given more priority than loyalty. However, the issue was put to rest as the event was cancelled and none of the teams qualified for the next year’s Champions League.
While he participated in the 2010 edition of the tournament for Chennai in South Africa alongside his team-mate Doug Bollinger, despite knowing that in case the team makes the final, he would have to appear to play for Australia in a Test match against India in Mohali four days later. Chennai won the tournament but Hussey performed miserably on the tour, which was the time he had to face flak from some sections of the Australian media.
Otherwise, he has been squeaky clean and has won many admirers across the cricketing world for his dedication towards the game and consistent performances.
Michael Hussey’s present and the future
At the moment, Hussey holds a key position in Australia’s batting line-up as the No.6 player in both Tests and ODIs while he has not been considered to play T-20 cricket. He was woefully out of form in Test matches in South Africa and at home against New Zealand last year. But a decent outing against India has rejuvenated to play cricket, which has quashed all rumours that he could have quit the game any time soon. His focus must be the 2013 Ashes and from there, perhaps it is up to the Australian selectors to decide how to phase out the senior players which involve Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin.
But Hussey continues to remain a livewire on the field, encouraging his fellow fielders on a regular basis to field well, which is actually the captain’s duty. While he himself sets the example of fielding magnificiently even at an old age. These days, in Tests he possesses the ‘golden arm’ according to Michael Clarke, the captain. In Sri Lanka, he picked a few important wickets which went on to help his team win the series 1-0. Hussey no doubt admires Clarke’s captaincy for the faith he has in him despite his inconsistency in 2011.
He is already close to turning 37 and with age not on his side, it will not be astonishing to see him give up one format of the game to focus on another only. If his Australian career runs in jeopardy, he is secure as of now to play for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2012 and the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.