Michael Hussey - The Most Honest Australian Cricketer

The most adorable thing about Hussey was seen in his last test innings

Every side needs a player like Mike Hussey | Getty Images

Michael Edward Killeen Hussey is also known as Mike Hussey but will be more fondly remembered as Mr. Cricket. He was called Mr. Cricket, not because of his Bradmanesque batting technique but because he played cricket the way it should have been played.

Hailing from a country like Australia, Mike Hussey was expected to play his cricket the rough and hard way like the Pontings and the Slaters but instead, he was soft (not by temperament) and steady yet equally competitive as Punter and Slats. He was the guy every team needs, a player who brings sanity to the madness. India had Dravid, New Zealand had Vettori, West Indies had Chanderpaul and Australia had Hussey.

Michael Hussey had to wait for a long time for his debut as he had to score 15,313 first-class runs before his Test debut. By the time most people start looking for other career prospects, Mike Hussey retained his intensity to make his debut for Australia.

In a very less time, he acquired the status of a match-winner in a side that included the likes of Gilchrist, Warne, Ponting, Symonds, Mcgrath and a few more world beaters. Irrespective of how dire Australia's situation was in the game, the opposition would not relax until they send Mike Hussey back in the hut.

Pakistan will be most familiar with this trait of Mike Hussey who have fallen prey to his 'never-give-up' attitude twice. In January 2010, Australia were effectively 51/8 in the second innings of the Sydney Test with Pakistan knocking at the doors of a long-awaited test win in Australia. But Mike Hussey was still holding one end and with a little help from Kamran Akmal, he scored 134* giving Australia a fighting lead of 175. Pakistan were shot out for 139 and Australia won the Test match from scratch.

Pakistan faced the heat of Mike Hussey's match-winning abilities more than once | Getty Images

A few months later, Mike Hussey slammed 60* off just 24 balls coming in to bat at number 7. At one point in the chase, Australia needed 53 to win with 21 balls left but Hussey's brilliance took the Aussies to their first World T20 final with a ball to spare. These are the two innings that make him immortal in the memory of cricket fans. 

Another cricketer with a similar reputation in the Australian side was Andrew Symonds. Both Hussey and Symonds were similar in many aspects of the game. Both of them peaked at the same time and had the capability of turning any game in Australia's favor. Both could roll their arm over for some part-time bowling and were impeccable as a fielder as well. But one thing that made Hussey different from Symonds was the spirit with which they played their cricket.

Mike Hussey was calm and composed whereas Andrew Symonds was loud and controversial. A young cricket fan will start growing white hair before coming up with a controversy that involved Mr. Cricket. On the other hand, Andrew Symonds' name will remind a cricket fan about the infamous 'Monkeygate' scene before his match-winning performances.

Probably this is why Symonds faded away while Mike Hussey stayed to make a name for himself. Before the Ashes 2010, a dip in form saw Hussey on the verge of being dropped from the Aussie side. In a disappointing series for the home side, Mike Hussey emerged as the lone torch-bearer for the Aussies scoring the highest number of runs for them.

Another example of his dedication can be seen by the fact that Mike Hussey was naturally a right-hander. As a child, he adored Allan Border. Trying to copy him his idol as accurately as possible, Hussey started playing as a left-hander and turned out to be one of the better left-handed batsmen in world cricket.

But probably the most adorable thing about Huss was seen in his last test innings. Australia needed just 1 more run for a victory against Sri Lanka with Mike Hussey at the non-striker's end. It was evident that everyone wanted Mr. Cricket to score the winning runs. Mitchell Johnson could feel it too so he started to block the remaining deliveries in the over. Somehow, he blocked the 5th ball in the gap without any intentions to score but when he looked up, Hussey had already started running forcing Johnson into the run.

Ultimately, Mike Hussey didn't want to steal the limelight by making someone wait for him to hit the winning runs. He put his team ahead of himself even in his final match - something, not every cricketer can do.

Even in his last Test, Mike Hussey put the team's cause before him | Getty Images

Mike Hussey had decided to retire after that series even before its start but he held the thought to himself as he was afraid that he won't be picked in the XI to make way for a youngster and he did not want to be benched for his last 2 tests. His fear was proved to be true as he was not even selected in the ODI series against Sri Lanka that followed up later (despite being available) to blood someone else.

In January 2016, Hussey defined the phrase, 'Old Is Gold' as he turned Sydney Thunders' fortunes taking them from rock bottom to the Big Bash Trophy after leaving a champion side like Perth Scorchers.

Michael Hussey put the Thunder in Sydney Thunders | Getty Images

Playing for 8 years, Huss played 79 tests and 185 ODIs maintaining an average of 50+ and 45+ in both forms of the game respectively. God knows what record-breaking stats he could have reached if he had not started his career late.

In the end, it won't be wrong to say that Mike Hussey was the nicest cricketer to play for Australia. His opponents loved him yet they were scared of him when he came out with a bat in his hand. Among the cricketers who scored over 10,000 international runs for Australia, only Adam Gilchrist comes close to Mr. Cricket in terms of being loyal to his job.

By Shubh Aggarwal - 25 May, 2018

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