December 21, 2007

The most under-rated player in the world

Perhaps Hussey's case illustrates a larger problem with cricket appreciation: the way in which a ruling aesthetic obscures the achievement of players whose methods don't fit its criteria
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One of the really interesting things about the Australian team right now is the standing of Michael Hussey. The man has played eighteen Tests: he is about to cross the threshold that's normally used to benchmark player performances, which is twenty Tests. And as we know, he has a batting average in the mid-80s. Allowing for Australian dominance, average inflation, wretched bowling attacks, making, in short, every deduction that a petty Indian fan might make to cut an Australian champion down to size, you're still left with figures that lift him so far above Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Kumar Sangakkara that you'd think cricket writers would be falling over themselves to crown him the Badshah of Batsmanship.

Not a bit of it. A few weeks ago, during Sri Lanka’s tour of Australia, Ian Chappell went on at great and carping length on how shocked he was that Hussey hadn't put his hand up to open for Australia when Justin Langer retired and how Hussey had missed a huge opportunity because Phil Jaques had made that position his own. I don't know about Chappell but if India had a player averaging 60 in the middle order, I'd have picketed the BCCI offices to uphold his right not to open. Even allowing for the fact that Hussey has opened the innings at the first-class level, I still can't follow why you'd want to mess with someone who has been delivering numbers like 86.18 per innings.

It's not just Chappell: listening to Channel 9's commentators, it's hard not to get the feeling that they're puzzled, even vaguely embarrassed by his statistics. Hussey himself is endearingly modest about his achievement. Talking to an Australian newspaper he said:

"I must admit I'm surprised and shocked by my numbers but it's early in my Test career. I'd love to retire with an average of 60 but it's in the nature of the game that it all levels out. I know deep down it's going to come down to a more realistic region as my Test career continues."

There are lots of bowlers round the world, not least the ones in the Indian touring party, who must be praying Hussey's right, but his self-deprecation doesn't explain why he has been so mutedly acclaimed. Just to put his achievement in perspective, after eighteen Test matches, Tendulkar's average was a fraction above 38, Dravid's was just under 50 and Brian Lara was a hair over 55.

One reason for the lack of full-throated acclamation might be a certain embarrassment on the part of the Australian cricket establishment that it waited till Hussey had amassed 15,313 first-class runs before picking him for Australia. I know that subcontinental selectors sometimes pick players before they're ready for the rigours of international cricket (Parthiv Patel is the classic example) but making someone serve a 15,000-run, eleven-year, apprenticeship seems excessive. Perhaps Australia's cricket mandarins got the timing of Hussey's elevation desperately wrong and are reluctant to admit to it.

Or perhaps Hussey's case illustrates a larger problem with cricket appreciation: the way in which a ruling aesthetic obscures the achievement of players whose methods don't fit its criteria. I haven't watched Hussey often enough to be able to confidently characterise his style, but the little I've seen suggests soundness and efficiency rather than grace, elegance, in-your-face aggression or unearthly stroke-play. As a left-handed batsman, Hussey is the Anti-Lara. There's no flourish, little follow-through and he doesn't fill you with the excitement of watching a great but fallible talent. If I were Australian, watching him would fill me with tranquility and confidence and calm, the sense that Hussey was at the wicket and all was right with the world.

Players like Tendulkar and Lara have the reputations they do partly because they play extraordinary shots, strokes that the averagely good player would find hard to carry off. Lara's bizarrely flamboyant driving where the bat describes a complete circle takes your breath away because it's hard to imagine how, in the course of that magnificent revolving-door flourish, he manages to hit the ball in the middle of the bat. Conversely, Tendulkar is venerated by his peers, especially bowlers, because it's hard to fathom how he generates such power with that curiously abbreviated cover drive, played on the up, off the backfoot.

But what if, like Hussey, you scored at a decent rate (his strike rate is over 53, considerably quicker than Dravid or Laxman), hit centuries and fifties regularly and in general were so massively consistent that you piled up this mountainous average, all the while playing in a matter-of-fact way? Wouldn't spectators and pundits have to re-work the aesthetic that rules our appreciation of batsmanship? If Everyman's results turn out to be consistently and conspicuously better than those achieved by aesthetically certified Genius, wouldn't we have to redefine what it means to be 'great' or a 'genius'? If Vijay Singh found a way of beating Tiger Woods regularly and filling his cabinets with winner's trophies from the majors, how long would it be before golf pros began teaching Vijay Singh's way with the driver? Ilie Nastase was commonly acknowledged to be a genius, but Bjorn Borg defined genius out of the equation by demonstrating year after year that topspin and incredible fitness married to the best temperament in tennis added up to greatness.

Now Hussey's career may or may not turn out to be Bradmanesque, but he's already done enough for us to acknowledge that he is as good as the best in the contemporary game; very likely better. So it's baffling that someone as ordinarily good as Michael Clarke seems to evoke more enthusiasm amongst Australian pundits than the Olympian figure of Hussey. Clarke is widely touted as Ponting's heir apparent (incredibly, Clarke seems to think so too) and the Australian press is eloquent about his precocity as a player, his litheness in the field and his brilliance as a batsman.

This is a useful example of the ruling aesthetic trumping achievement. There's little a commentator likes better than a batsman 'using his feet' and Clarke is Twinkletoes himself. Pundits might be better occupied looking at the results of his shimmying. He has a Test average of 46. He has played twenty-nine Tests and after his eighteenth, his average was around 38. It's interesting that Clarke was picked for Australia when he was 23 in 2003 while Hussey had to wait till 2005 by which time he was 30. The only half-reasonable explanation for this is that Hussey in his first-class career was an opening batsman and got his 'break' in Test cricket in that role whereas Clarke's always been a middle-order batsman. It's an unsatisfactory explanation simply because while there's a case to be made against elevating a middle-order batsman to open the innings (because he's unused to starting his innings against the new ball etc.) there can be no rational argument against using a hugely prolific opening batsman in a middle-order role.

The fact is that Hussey would have played for Australia earlier if he'd been a blond, bubbling, all-dancing middle-order batsman. This Inconvenient Truth (to borrow Gore's ponderous capitals) is absurd, but undeniable. The folly of not selecting him earlier becomes more apparent with every innings he plays: this is Hussey's highest average since his fourth test. For the sceptic who thinks it's bound to be downhill from here on, it's worth pointing out that Hussey's average at the end of his tenth Test was in the lowly upper sixties. Through the last eight Tests his average has been rising! I suspect that selectors and pundits who thought that Clarke was Australian cricket's golden future are finding it hard to admit that they nearly overlooked the greatest batsman of Ponting's generation.

Speaking as an Indian, I wish they had.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rahul Mahan on June 18, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    Its been a fantastic article.

  • Kumar Neeraj on February 1, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    Huh I am writing second comment of the day on your blogs ...you are actually playing to the gallery, well done. Whatever happened to journalistic impartiality, and your conspiracy theories can really give a run to Tom clancy :). I dont understand why does the new India need a romantic class struggle in everything that is related to Cricket.

  • Kaushik on January 31, 2008, 12:29 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. The World, not just the cricketing world is full of prejudices. Prejudices which continue to restrict, sometimes ruin the careers and lives of manmy people.

  • krsna on January 17, 2008, 22:24 GMT

    mr cricket was his nick way before he made his test debut, years before.

  • j-pures on January 8, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    Hussy is a great batsman, but if any great innings should be remembered world wide it should be Nathan Astles epic double hundred against England a few years back. Nz still lost the game but that innings will never be forgotten.

  • MADHANAN NATARAJAN on January 6, 2008, 16:15 GMT

    Whatever be it, Australians are behaving badly on the ground and the umpires' wrong decisions have made them win and the whole world knows. I am wondering why these are not using the wireless given to them to consult the third umpire before giving some crucial decisions because what happens today will be history tomorrow. People watching are not fools. Why there is a third umpire? Australia cannot boast that they have won.

  • Niranjan Sahoo on January 6, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    Hussey's achievements are undoubtedly phenomenal,especially considering the fact that he is only 18 tests old.My prediction is that his average is not going to fall as drastically as the cynics fear.He has played match-winning knocks,both in onedayers and tests.But to put him in the same league of Lara and Tendulkar is a travesty of cricketing common sense.Aesthetically,Lara's one innings equals three of any other batsman.sachin's consistency is enviable.

    Hussey is going to retire a great batsman in cricket history.So is Clarke.The latter might even end his career spectacularly as an Aussie captain.

    Is not Kallis an equally great player as Tendulkar?His innings are priceless.He has held his position for long.He takes wickets at regular intervals.His sleep catching is assured.And yes,he has more arrogance than an average Aussie.To me he is the most under-rated player in the world.

    Huss'll score heavily in the middle order with notouts and retire with an average in the high 70's

  • pixie on January 6, 2008, 5:39 GMT

    Why dont you guys talk about how good kallis are? In SA he is regardes as the best, and IMHO Symonds dont have what it takes to be a captain

  • bigyan on January 5, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    it is good to read about hussey and injustice done to him .perhaps the thinktanks of cricket should have thought about it rather than the author. the article laments a lot but suggests nothing.

  • Giovanni C. on January 1, 2008, 3:40 GMT

    As an avid cricket fan, I also wander why 'huss' hasn't been at least tried as an test opener. Are the powers that be feel the need for a 'fallback' batsman or just a bit frightened he - 'Huss' may steal the show & someone elses thunder, so to speak, also adding to the debate as to why the man was overlooked for so long. If it came down to it I'd much rather see Hussey made captain than the pompus & appropriately named 'PUP'. Regards, Gio

  • Rahul Mahan on June 18, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    Its been a fantastic article.

  • Kumar Neeraj on February 1, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    Huh I am writing second comment of the day on your blogs ...you are actually playing to the gallery, well done. Whatever happened to journalistic impartiality, and your conspiracy theories can really give a run to Tom clancy :). I dont understand why does the new India need a romantic class struggle in everything that is related to Cricket.

  • Kaushik on January 31, 2008, 12:29 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. The World, not just the cricketing world is full of prejudices. Prejudices which continue to restrict, sometimes ruin the careers and lives of manmy people.

  • krsna on January 17, 2008, 22:24 GMT

    mr cricket was his nick way before he made his test debut, years before.

  • j-pures on January 8, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    Hussy is a great batsman, but if any great innings should be remembered world wide it should be Nathan Astles epic double hundred against England a few years back. Nz still lost the game but that innings will never be forgotten.

  • MADHANAN NATARAJAN on January 6, 2008, 16:15 GMT

    Whatever be it, Australians are behaving badly on the ground and the umpires' wrong decisions have made them win and the whole world knows. I am wondering why these are not using the wireless given to them to consult the third umpire before giving some crucial decisions because what happens today will be history tomorrow. People watching are not fools. Why there is a third umpire? Australia cannot boast that they have won.

  • Niranjan Sahoo on January 6, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    Hussey's achievements are undoubtedly phenomenal,especially considering the fact that he is only 18 tests old.My prediction is that his average is not going to fall as drastically as the cynics fear.He has played match-winning knocks,both in onedayers and tests.But to put him in the same league of Lara and Tendulkar is a travesty of cricketing common sense.Aesthetically,Lara's one innings equals three of any other batsman.sachin's consistency is enviable.

    Hussey is going to retire a great batsman in cricket history.So is Clarke.The latter might even end his career spectacularly as an Aussie captain.

    Is not Kallis an equally great player as Tendulkar?His innings are priceless.He has held his position for long.He takes wickets at regular intervals.His sleep catching is assured.And yes,he has more arrogance than an average Aussie.To me he is the most under-rated player in the world.

    Huss'll score heavily in the middle order with notouts and retire with an average in the high 70's

  • pixie on January 6, 2008, 5:39 GMT

    Why dont you guys talk about how good kallis are? In SA he is regardes as the best, and IMHO Symonds dont have what it takes to be a captain

  • bigyan on January 5, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    it is good to read about hussey and injustice done to him .perhaps the thinktanks of cricket should have thought about it rather than the author. the article laments a lot but suggests nothing.

  • Giovanni C. on January 1, 2008, 3:40 GMT

    As an avid cricket fan, I also wander why 'huss' hasn't been at least tried as an test opener. Are the powers that be feel the need for a 'fallback' batsman or just a bit frightened he - 'Huss' may steal the show & someone elses thunder, so to speak, also adding to the debate as to why the man was overlooked for so long. If it came down to it I'd much rather see Hussey made captain than the pompus & appropriately named 'PUP'. Regards, Gio

  • shamoni8 on December 29, 2007, 18:24 GMT

    of course yaar. y only hussey, even jason gillespie was a better batsman than sachin. sachin is juss over-rated & a has-been. mitchell johnson is da future of international batting!

  • dwblurb on December 29, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    A. Wilson wrote: "Kim Hughes had the knives out for him always.Marcus North was better credentialled than Jaques also!"

    Speaking as a West Australian who spends a lot of time watching Shield matches at the WACA, I have to say that is the biggest lot of ill-informed tosh I have read for a while. Kim Hughes was extremely lucky to play as much as he did, and wouldn't have played as many tests in most eras of Australian cricket. As much as I admire Marcus North, his record doesn't stand comparison with Phil Jaques', leaving aside the obvious fact that North is a middle order player and Jaques an opener, the position that became vacant when Langer retired.

    As others have pointed out, the main reason for Hussey's late arrival in Test cricket was his moderate form for WA during the late 90s and early part of this decade, after a strong start to his career. Having worked out his game and, as he admits, become somewhat less intense, he was ripe for Test cricket, as the results have shown.

  • Dave on December 25, 2007, 3:24 GMT

    To Sunny Pradeep...Is hussey the only batsman who plays in a position where he can remain not out in world cricket? Or is it the inability of the bowlers to get him out in ODIs? And is an unbeaten 30 or 40 in the death overs in an ODI at a strike rate of 100 not a gem? If it was so easy remaining not out playing at no. 5 or no. 6 in ODIs to boost one's average than every batsman at no. 5 or no.6 irrespective of the team he plays for should be boasting of an average of over 55 in ODIs. But thats not the case. I guess talent and ability also have something to do with the fact that Hussey has such high averages both in ODIs and Tests. The only issue is we mistake flamboyance with class and grafting with lacking class. Hence, we praise a sachin or a lara, but not a steve waugh or a hussey.

  • rahul on December 25, 2007, 3:18 GMT

    To Sunny Pradeep...Neutral venues are defined as venues where a team is involved in a series featuring more than one team at a away venue. So if you look at Hussey's neutral venues stats, his average is down because of the 11 games he played in the WC. .Where he managed 87 runs in 11 games owing to the fact that he used to have only 3-4 overs to play. Hence, his average in neutral venues is a bit off compared to his away average. And he has not played at a host of neutral venue. The only neutral venues that he has played have been WI,Malaysia and England. I cannot figure out how India has been included by you. One needs to go by stats, the only issue is one needs to interpret and understand it correctly and in context.

  • Rabindra Nepal on December 24, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    well said! No doubt Hussey has been underrated player till now but there is still much more to prove by playing against all test nations in different part of world to became as Lara and Sachin. And i agree that he is a complete player with all cricketing shot in his batting. At last i will love to see him playing in sub-continent against Murali.

  • stephen halcrow on December 24, 2007, 8:34 GMT

    hussey, just like michael beavan before him bats for his average, which is really easy to do in a side which is dominating. he is not a real batsman. lara has finished his test career with outstanding figures ina team that struggles towards the end. tendulkar has great figures and has almost finished his long and illustrious carrer, 18 games does not a career make. come on nz i would love to hear something constructive..

  • Liam on December 24, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    I think you will find that Clarke will be captain because of age more than anything else, Punter will play another 4-5 years min which will make Hussey 34-35 years of age with only another 2 or 3 years left in his career where as Clarke will still have 7 or 8 years left.

    One of Australia's great strengths is that they have had long serving strong captains over the last 2 decades.

  • Peter Jean on December 24, 2007, 1:58 GMT

    Mukul, if you have some brain then better use it. Australia never needed Hussey before and although he came is a bit late, he still has 5-7 years left, plenty to be an established cricketer. Hussey is no doubt at his best and this is how Ponting, Kallis, Md. Yousuf or Dravid for that matter plays, they are hard workers whereas Lara, Sachin are gifted. In the end the one who stays at the crease more, concentrates and do the basics right scores. Lara and Tendulkar are among the greatest, but at the moment Hussey and Ponting are the best.

  • John on December 23, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    pushing Clarke for future captain over Hussey reminds me of the early 80's when Hughes was pushed ahead of Border. Border had more runs, more centuries, more consistency, and a tougher exterior, but Hughes got the job. Then what happened.......................?

  • Peter on December 23, 2007, 20:06 GMT

    OK Karthik, and the rest of you Indian fans. We accept that there has never been a greater batsman that good old Sachin, there never will be, and that he is in fact a god. Somebody in the ICC should change some rules to ensure no other batsman can ever better his record. And as his skills are in decline these days, and his average is plummeting, maybe he can be given a life or two each innings to help him maintain his standing in the game...

  • A Wilson on December 23, 2007, 14:18 GMT

    Antony Bright's observation is totally on the mark. Not only about NSW players getting the red carpet into the side, but also staying there longer and getting so many chances. Compare that to when a player from West Australia has 1-2 bad scores and the eastern states press are already questioning his position and lining up their next NSW replacement. Langer was always getting this crap, evem though he was one of the best performed batsmen over many years, yet even at the beginning of the last ashes series, Jaques was being pushed to replace him. Martyn the same, at 21 years of age, blamed for the South Africa loss in 1993/4 for one bad shot (after scoring 59 in the first innings) and banished for years even though many NSW batsmen failed before him.Kim Hughes had the knives out for him always.Marcus North was better credentialled than Jaques also!.And Hussey, well, maybe it's because his brother moved east and the press got confused, so they picked the wrong one.

  • Confused on December 23, 2007, 8:27 GMT

    Where has all this hate come from? Mukul was merely pointing out how people readily heap plaudits on Tendulkar, Lara, Laxman etc. (those with techniques and tendency to play 'beautiful' innings) but the 'grafters' or less watchable players seem to not be held in the same light (Dravid, Kirsten, Hussey etc.). Everyone seems to forget that Bradman had more 'watchable' players when he was breaking records (McCabe etc.)and also that his production line of runs means that people today talk of his career and average rather than talk about a few singular beautiful innings.

    Mukul's point was comparing the praise and accolades given to Clarke ahead of Hussey, he also just asks that we stop and appreciate a guy who is averaging 80+ before we get caught up in watching Ponting, Tendulkar and the rest.

  • Hassan on December 23, 2007, 6:44 GMT

    Hussey got his chance only when Lehmann was dropped and Lehmann is another classic example of a batsman scoring consitently in Domestic and not getting a test cap. He scored heavily in domestic cricket but could not break into the famous middle order containing Waugh twins.But the bottom line is " Had aussies lost without Hussey and Lehmann?" I think not.

  • Karthik on December 23, 2007, 6:16 GMT

    Every body can take note of one special comment made above that average players like hussey and ponting are being glorified these days just because there is a dearth of bowlers these days and the true guys are those sachins the laras the dravids who bore the brunt of facing those excellent fast bowlers like wasim waqar donald mcgrath warne etc and many other names including the west indian greats walsh and ambrose these people are just puppets on green relishing the smiling heavens and the irony is that if you ask any of the bowlers above who is the toughest batsman they have bowled at it always should be a lara or a sachin... if this not enough to convince yourself does anybody dare to say in public that a ponting or a hussey is a better player than the ones above!!!! and the fact is that when it comes to making statements they always say sachin is the best or Lara is and not these chickens..

  • Karthik on December 23, 2007, 5:56 GMT

    I think the author is forgetting that hussey has played only 20 odd tests to his credit and i am sure most of them have come at home He is called Mr. cricket and I think it should be limited to the australian circles To celebrate a player replicates another Lara Sachin Murali a Viv Richards or a Warne( I still have strong feelings against his drug use) If he has the potential to be a Don Bradman let it be and everyone surely start recognizing him when he is old enough in the test arena I would like to reiterate that you dont start celebrating players after 30 odd innings they play and perhaps going to bat at plenty of runs on the board always just makes life so simple in the middle and well hussey is just a wheel in the team thats beating everybody like the rest of the team

  • Krishnadas on December 23, 2007, 5:48 GMT

    I want to make a reply to MR ARUN P. When bowlers cannot take 20 wickets to win a game for India, what can Sachin do even after getting 241 against Australia.India had a very very weak bowling when comared to Aussies.Please dont underrate our own Hero Sachin.Hussey might have hardly played 18 tests and when he comes already the bulk of the scoring will be done by the top batsmen and he invariably remains not out,Please dont compare this guy with other greats as they were always playing for a weaker side than Australia.Please remember this while posting and we all consider HUSSEY to be a world class batsmen but the averages dont suggest the class of a batsmen.

  • Mahesh Sethuraman on December 23, 2007, 4:54 GMT

    I agree with most of the things that u said but I would like to point out one thing - please dont generalize that all channel 9 commentators underestimate Hussey. In fact Mark Nicholas has so much admiration for the man that if asked to choose between Ponting and Hussey he might choose Hussey. Also he must have told a million times on TV that Hussey is the best cover driver in the world (Aesthetically also he's appreciated). But I do agree with you that most of the pundits haven;t given him the recognition he deserves.

  • Sunny Pradeep on December 23, 2007, 4:03 GMT

    To Rahul,

    You seemed to have directly lifted the stats from statsguru - no offence, even I did the same. But, you missed the section called neutral...

    If you add the games played at neutral venues, you will have Hussey's average crop from 67 to 60.

    But, a comparison at the scores that he scored in Australia and those that he scored abroad, will tell you that the abroad scores are mostly because he remained not out after scoring a 30 or a 40, and not because he played some gems...

    Especially, at neutral venues, his scores seem to be worser, because he played at a host of neutral venues - including India.

    Never just go by STATS.

  • Sunny Pradeep on December 23, 2007, 3:48 GMT

    Dear rext,

    I partially agree to the fact that Hussey's not outs are because of the bowlers' futile efforts to get him out.

    But, a careful look will let you know, that out of 7 not outs, only 2 not outs are big scores (133 & 74) and the other 6 (31, 30, 14, 61, 34) are all not outs only because he came at the end of the innings.

  • Roscoe on December 23, 2007, 3:40 GMT

    I don't think Bradman was much of an aesthete either. But Bradman liked to dominate, to be ruthless, & to demoralise the bowlers by doing things like hitting the ball through a field position from which a fielder had just been removed. Hussey is just himself: no real weaknesses, doesn't like getting out, gets on with the job for his team. And nobody, it seems, dislikes him.

  • dan on December 23, 2007, 3:22 GMT

    I hate when people make comments without facts. Nikhil and Rahul have pointed this out but a few more facts: 1. Hussey opened his 1st 2 tests: 1, 29, 137 and 31*. He also opened in the 2nd inn of 9th test as Langer was injured and scored 89. In this 1st inn of that test he came in at 2/68 (3 if langer injury counted) and scored 73 runs to get Aust to respectable 270 total. 2. So out of his 29 inn opened in 5 of them. 3. He then came in at scores of 3/54 6th test - 45, 2/68 9th test - 73, 3/65 13th test 91 & 2/33 61*, 10th test 2/54 74* 4. A sign of a good batsman is batting with the tail. For this see 3rd test, when Aust was 8/295 chasing 400+ and he was not out 133* with total of 428. 5th test 9/248 to 355, 8th test 7/259 and last man at 369. Lastly he has only had relatively few chances to show himself but the facts show he has performed in all circs - just look at them and feel free to argue. In another 20 test it may be different but right now check them first.

  • Manoj on December 23, 2007, 1:40 GMT

    all i can think abt is indian bowlers v oz batsmen. ok so you got the wickets of haydo and jaques.. then what? how do you get rid of punter, pup, symonds, of course hussey, and then u've got gilly. if you have any of these with lee, mitchell/tait, clarke and hogg (which order??..doesnt matter)you will have a total beyond 400. blimey! before i wrote this i thought india will have a good series. if i could rely on indias batting, i might have given them a chance but, we will be down to 100-4 if not worse, and then we really dont have much to come if a couple of quick wickets fall. here's hoping kumble wins all tosses and decides corrcetly. a total of 500 and let oz bat, then we might have a game on our hands. good luck India!

  • rext on December 23, 2007, 1:27 GMT

    Shadaab attempts to make a point re Hussey's number of not outs contributing to his inflated average. The reason he has seven not outs is because opposition bowlers have not been able to get him out. "Not out" doesn't mean he only batted for a short time, as he's batted long enough to make seven hundreds and eight fifties, alongside his seven not outs! So the nonsense of Shaadab's argument is obvious! Hussey, like Warne, has a modest domestic record but also like Warne the big stage brings out the best in him. Who knows what his final average might be, but at the moment it's 86+ and that's the problem and reality for the Indians!

  • rahim on December 23, 2007, 0:45 GMT

    Everyone is saying that because of Hussey remaining not out makes his average higher than others but i think thats not the case if u see other teams even if u take tendulkar he also has something around 20 to 25 not outs if u take them out his average will be under 50 so u cant judge a player with his average Hussey scored 100 or more with the tail thats not easy for that u must have great hitting and defencing ability and thats wat Hussey have i list Hussey is one of the greats

  • Paul on December 23, 2007, 0:06 GMT

    Well said Mukul. I enjoy the impartial observations of someone outside the "established" Australian Media. Hussey's problems stem from two great "sins" in Australian cricket. Firstly he doesn't come from Sydney or Melbourne, so his great feats on the field do not translate into higher TV ratings because Perth accounts for only 10% of the national viewing audience. Secondly, he's a nice bloke, a simple family man. He's not a "jock" nor a womaniser, or even a heavy drinker. He's the sort of nerd that Chappell, Healy, Warne can't understand. And your comments about the accepted asthetic are so true. As evidence I offer the comparisons between Langer and Hayden.

  • Juned on December 22, 2007, 21:29 GMT

    I don't know if being blond or twinkle toes helped Clarke get the breaks; but being from New South Wales definitely has. Hussey alas is from Western Australia. A New South Wales cricketer is like a Mumbai player: show some talent and you have mentors opening doors for you at the right time. Western Australia seems to be the Indian equivalent of Tamil Nadu: players have to prove themselves again and again before they get noticed. S. Badrinath, don't worry, there is still hope!

  • simon owen wright on December 22, 2007, 18:26 GMT

    Hi SRI, Give me a break. You want me to believe the Dravid is a magical player or possessing an "aura". He is more in the mold of Hussey - efficient, can play delightful shots, reliable and a very, very good player. In my view both are worth watching, anyway. Maybe we'll see alot of both this series!

  • Tapish on December 22, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    What?? Who has failed to acknowledge that Michael Hussey is a fantastic player and is now one of the top batsmen in world cricket. For godsakes the Australians gave him the ODI captaincy so early in his career. That alone speaks volumes about his status in Australian cricket.

    Also, Ricky Ponting is the only batsmen spoken of in higher esteem than Hussey and rightly so, since he has scored runs at an average if nearly 70.00 in the last 4 years, and that too batting at number 3. Hussey always comes in when the australian top order has piled on the runs, hence its easier for him.

    Also, his average will always be higher than a player who bats at no.s 1-4 as he will have more not outs batting at 5-6. Still, it is amazing to see him get runs by the bucketloads and takes nothing away from his ability.

    No, no Mr Kesavan, nobody has failed to acknowledge that Michael Hussey is and has been one of the premier batsmen in world cricket the past 2 yrs. (even if not the most watchable)

  • Tim on December 22, 2007, 18:18 GMT

    wasnt hussey captain of WA? and captained australia in the Chappel Hadlee Series a few years ago?

  • adam on December 22, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    Hussey is a great player but in a team of match winners like AUS it is a very natural thing to not get chances to exhibit your talent that much. For excellent discussion on Indian and Australian cricket why not visit www.cricketfiles.com?

  • sharad on December 22, 2007, 17:38 GMT

    The article and comments make compeling reading.I will skip the points already made-both for and against. Cricket is in a paradoxical situation.In an era where batting is supposed to be on the ascendancy and bowling on the decline current batting greats are struggling to even to reach the average of 60 wheras current bowling greats ,especially the spinners ,are scaling new peaks.Mukul has only articulated the yearning of cricketlovers for new peaks in batting of which Hussey is the great bright hope(mind you I have avoided the word white;true cricketlover transcends race/nationality)of even being in the vicinity of the Don's levels) Current batting greats can be classified into three genre -artistic geniuses like Lara,Sachin,genius artists like Ponting,Dravid,Sangakarra,Jaywardene and great artisans like Kallis,Chanderpaul.Hussey should fall into the second category. Hussey should work his place up the order to avoid the Bevan way-remarkable but not great. Wish him all the best.

  • Nug on December 22, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    Yes... Hussey is a very good player, but I'm not so sure that the Australian team of the last 10 years struggled without him. I think he came late to the Test team because he wasn't really needed... no mistakes by the selectors. Unfortunately for non-Australian supporters, many very good players who would walk straight into other test teams... Stuart Law for instance... can be 'overlooked'. Efficient, wins games, Australian... no need to be 'great'.

  • vineet on December 22, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    just wonderful atlast i know someone else also has same views about m.clarke ,to me he is the most overrated and hyped cricketer just remember the lamb to slaughter look he sported asked to open in india in two one dayers very un aussie like to me that is quintessential clarke

  • jon on December 22, 2007, 15:59 GMT

    Hussey is a fantastic player,no doubt about it. But I don't think he has played too much cricket in sub-continent conditions or in England. He did not play in the 2005 Ashes, against quality bowling. Whether he is an all-time great or not will depend on how he plays in alien conditions and against spinners like Murali and Kumble. He is certainly one of the best batsmen in the world currently, but not yet in the league of Tendulkar, Lara or Ponting.

  • SRI on December 22, 2007, 13:22 GMT

    come on now. I would anyday pick pleasing strokeplay or even defense over someone as monotonous as hussey. It just isnt fun to watch him bat. Yes, the "numbers", but is that all we are looking for in a great player. Id say even if he accumulates all the runs in the world, it just isnt worth watching. Especially, to be called a test great, youve got to give the spectator a sense of awe. He just doesnt carry that aura. The aura that a magical Laxman,Tendulkar, Dravid, Lara , etc. create. You can run those replays a hundred times and people will watch. Not the case with hussey. hes effective, very effective but not one bit aesthetic. That definitely is a criterion for greatness. Youve got to have the spectator hooked all the time you bat.

  • Kish Kumar on December 22, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    I agree that Hussy is not been apperciated enough for his achievements so far. It is incredible to see someone averaging 80 plus in both forms of International cricket. But, as some of the other readers commented, I do believe that Hussy still needs to prove a lot. He has to do it in touring and he also has to do it against variety of opponents. I think Hussy's average will come down after the Indian series. He could be vulnerable to Jumbo!! Even then, it could only come down to 60 or there about. You do have to give considerations to the pitches. Every pitch nowadays is conducive to batting. When there is a bowling pitch, people make complaints and they will even ban that venue!! I like to see teams getting all out for not more than 300, if not 200.

  • jason on December 22, 2007, 12:05 GMT

    having watched hussey for most of he's first class career here in WA he did nothing in the first ten years to even suggest he would even make it to test cricket. It wasn't until he was dropped from the wa side that he woke up to himself, knuckled down and got on with the job of scoring runs, which eventually gave him an oppunity on the international stage. Now im not knocking the guy you cant take away from what he has achieved but to menition him in the same breath as Bradman is bordering on insane. Here was a man who averaged 99.96 at a time when pitches were not covered and didnt have the luxery of a helmet, who against the best effots of the M.C.C. still averged 56 in the bodyline series and if he was still playing today would treat the spineless bowling attacks around the world with contempt. I for one would love to see that. Now Hussey is a good player but he will never be revered in the same way as Bradman nor should anyone else,including Sachin, Lara etc.

  • Omer Admani on December 22, 2007, 11:46 GMT

    Bowling has become attritional and ordinary to watch. Fast bowlers feel more secure bowling slower balls consistently rather than fast balls. The Pathans might be thriving in one-day cricket in such circumstances, but the cricket pundits have to ask the question sooner or later: where's the sport in this?

  • Peter on December 22, 2007, 11:43 GMT

    "A batting average with a lot of not-outs and when the top order has scored 300+ most of the time is irrelevant" Unless of course it was an Indian batsman hey Rohit? And what's this obsession with overseas players having to "prove" themselves on the sub-continent? Who made that the litmus test of a player's worth? India's woeful away record just goes to show that it's doctored pitches don't really give a true indication of a team or player's abilities...

  • Omer Admani on December 22, 2007, 11:43 GMT

    If averages were the last word in sport, then Sachin would be better than Lara and Mcgrath better than Akram. Waqar, having the greatest strike rate ever, would be the most ideal bowler for test cricket. It is too early to claim that Hussey is a great player. His average seems to be stunning, but there seems to be a trend on offer in the past few years: Mohd Yousof, Younis Khan, Ponting, Sangakkara, and others have probably have had similar averages in the past few years (around the period Hussey made his debut). A major reason is that world standard of bowling is at its lowest ebb. The ideal article, after, say, a random thought about the high average of Hussey, would be on the nature of pitches these days and the nuts in the ICC who are making this game boring to watch. Test matches in the last year have been boring, bereft of good bowling whilst the game has carried itself on batting friendly pitches. Third powerplays and free hits have been introduced in one-day cricket.

  • BT on December 22, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    Mike Hussey is undoubtedly a hugely talented run getter but the main reason his average is so high is precisely because he was picked late in his career and by that time he had already worked out his game and so avoided any periods of failure that a younger, untested player might have had (i.e. Clarke). If Ponting was selected for the first time in his late 20's, by which time he had worked out his game completely, his average would be in the 70's instead of high 50's.

  • Rohit on December 22, 2007, 10:52 GMT

    Truth be told apart from Australia, Hussey has played in South Africa and that great cricketing country Bangladesh.The pitches in Australia these days are flatter than they have ever been and its no surprise he scored tons of runs against a weak English bowling attack.South African pitches haven't been too dissimilar either.To call him one of the all time greats on the basis of only 18 tests, most of them home , is ridiculous . Both Kambli and Azharuddin had tremendous averages when they began , but their flaws were soon evident as they toured more.Let him tour the subcontinent and play more matches , then we can be sure of his quality and mettle.Clarke has shown his class both in the subcontinent and at home, thats why he is tipped to be the next captain and gets a lot more attention.A batting average with a lot of not-outs and when the top order has scored 300+ most of the time is irrelevant.

  • Kartik on December 22, 2007, 10:43 GMT

    I have this feeling that Hussey will be India's biggest tormentor this series, just like his predecessor in the middle order, Damien Martin, was when Australians toured India previously. Ironically, that series is again remembered for Clarke's century on debut at Bangalore and his 6-for at Mumbai rather than Martin's quiet but effective deconstruction of the Indian bowling.

  • Usman on December 22, 2007, 10:19 GMT

    Australia didn't pick Hussey until AFTER they had lost the Ashes to England. Who knows, if they had played him earlier, they may not have lost that series.

  • Ashok Trivedi on December 22, 2007, 10:10 GMT

    Hey Deepak,

    If the fall in bowling standards are responsible for Poting's drastic improvement, then why has Sachin's game fallen in that same period? Ya Sachin had to face Ambrose, but he couldn't play him at all.

    - Ashok

  • Aditya Mookerjee on December 22, 2007, 9:38 GMT

    In Australian cricket, there are a few 'special's who are chosen early in their youth, to represent Australia. The tragedy of Australian Cricket, is also its greatest triumph. The reason why Michael Clarke elicits so much enthusiasm, is because, one anticipates, a great career unfolding, in front of one's eyes. Hussey has matured like 'old wine', in the grind of the domestic cricket of Australia. The system made Hussey, like, I guess, the system made Hayden. Unless one is considered a prodigy, or someone exciting, one has to mature, through 'the grind'. If this scenario were seen in India, or if Clarke, had been seen with a different perception, both he and Irfan Pathan, would have played their first match in their early thirties.

  • Aditya on December 22, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    Hussey is the player he is now because of 10 yrs of rigourus domestic cricket and county cricket. Lets say he was selected at 20 and he may not have been the player he is now. Batting at different positions in the batting order and in different conditions has made him what he is now. He is obviously talented and has a fanatastic technique. He is probably the best judge of his off stump and thus is very good "leaver" of the ball. He defintely falls in the category of S.Waugh, Dravid,Kirsten,Chanderpaul. But as much as it's true that he has great numbers to his name, whether he is a legend it's too early to say.

  • Rahul on December 22, 2007, 9:03 GMT

    To Mr . Sunny Pradeep who wrote - " Though, this comparison is not right, I add that Hussey's abroad record in ODIs is not as good as his home record. Why shouldn't it hold true for his test career, when he travels across the 6 other test nations that he has to visit?"..well a check on ussey ODIs record shows the reverse of what you have written- home 28 622 75* 51.83 0 4 0 - - 0 13 0 away 27 872 105 67.07 1 6 2 1/22 58.00 0 19 0 His away ODI average is almost 16 runs better than his home ODI average. So goig by your point, it seems that Hussey would do even better in tests away from home and prove that inspite of being a late entrant to the international scene, when he leaves the scene, he will have his name etched as one of the all time great.

  • deepak on December 22, 2007, 8:56 GMT

    I think Hussey is glorified without reason in this page.1st thing,when sachin started this career he had to come up against bowling greats like imran khan,walsh,ambrose,mcgrath,wasim,waquar, donald,warne,murali,pollock etc..often coming in at situations like 10/2 he had to bear the brunt of these pace attacks and restore some respect to Indias score.Mukul,can you name one fast bowler in the past 5 years who is any good or at least comparable with the previous generation bowlers.no way.only Mc grath and Brett lee and both are aussies.so Hussey hasnt played any serious cricket against great bowlers.He wasnt there during ashes 05 when england had a great attack.He hasnt played murali,kumble in subcontinental conditions.Same goes for Ponting who was an average player till the great bowlers were there and suddenly his average has shooted up against mediocre bowling.So comparing a hard working player like hussey to a great player like sachin is a sin!Be proud of your nation's treasure Mukul!

  • deepak on December 22, 2007, 8:55 GMT

    I agree completely with Prasanth Nottah and Sunny Pradeep.Mukul has the same mentality of thinking that anything Foreign is great.Pity that many support his views.Mukul's next column will be titled "why Graham Hick is the greatest batsman of all time(more than 150 tons in county cricket)"!!god save him.!

  • deepak on December 22, 2007, 8:45 GMT

    I think Hussey is glorified without reason in this page.1st thing,when sachin started this career he had to come up against bowling greats like imran khan,walsh,ambrose,mcgrath,wasim,waquar, donald,warne,murali,pollock etc..often coming in at situations like 10/2 he had to bear the brunt of these pace attacks and restore some respect to Indias score.Mukul,can you name one fast bowler in the past 5 years who is any good or at least comparable with the previous generation bowlers.no way.only Mc grath and Brett lee and both are aussies.so Hussey hasnt played any serious cricket against great bowlers.He wasnt there during ashes 05 when england had a great attack.He hasnt played murali,kumble in subcontinental conditions.Same goes for Ponting who was an average player till the great bowlers were there and suddenly his average has shooted up against mediocre bowling.So comparing a hard working player like hussey to a great player like sachin is a sin!Be proud of your nation's treasure Mukul!

  • cuskadhakkan on December 22, 2007, 8:43 GMT

    MICHAEL HUSSEY....!! a born ecstatic , a songbird who needs to fly high to the universe to lift the essentials of being a character a NITION usually rememebers one as THE HERO-A LEGEND LIVES;

    great article..by the way mukuu..!!

  • Sunny Pradeep on December 22, 2007, 7:18 GMT

    It is sad that people like Mukul fall prey for stats, despite believing that stats dont mean a thing.

    Yes, Hussey is a great player of his time - but that is it, nothing beyond. Valid points have been raised throughout to prove that point.

    1397 runs came from Hussey's bat at home - under known conditions from 21 innings. Contrary to that Sachin played only 1 innings at home in his first 29 innings, Dravid 10 and Lara 16. Lara had 2 double centuries within these first 29 innings.

    Hussey toured only 2 countries, South Africa and Bangladesh. He has a lot more challenges to face.

    Though, this comparison is not right, I add that Hussey's abroad record in ODIs is not as good as his home record. Why shouldn't it hold true for his test career, when he travels across the 6 other test nations that he has to visit?

    The article, at least when it comes to placing Hussey along with the all-time greats is unreasonable. He is too far behind now, and not ahead.

  • Prasanth Nottath on December 22, 2007, 6:57 GMT

    I agree that Mike Hussey has been exciting to watch. But pray, where has he toured apart from SA and the weak Windies and Bangladesh? The Aussies have played more tests at home than away in the last 7-8 years, and Hussey has tons of experience playing at home. I think the real litmus test of Hussey will be in England and India, where a certain Ricky T Ponting has also prove himself.

  • ottofister on December 22, 2007, 6:43 GMT

    I agree with the 'anti-lara' call in terms of Hussey's technique, although the simplicity of his method has a certain charm in itself.

    Hussey's success is testiment to millions of balls faced against the bowling machine. Everything about his batting is the result of learning rather than instinct - in fact he actually is really a right-handed batsman that is mascarading as a left hander to emulate his boyhood hero. His brother David has that natural elegance and languid style that any cricket lover adores - he is also regarded by most as the more naturaly gifted of the two. Mike on the other hand learned batting through ROTE, placing his right foot down the pitch to the ball angling across him and relying entirely on the length as to whether he leaves the ball or plays an irresistible cover drive. Even his pull-shot is basically an on-drive with more bottom hand (as a result he plays it mostly through midwicket). His one real weakness is the ball slanting back into him from around.

  • Abhimanyu on December 22, 2007, 6:32 GMT

    Mukul, Hussey has the distinction of being nicknamed "Mr.Cricket" but thats really because of his current statistics at the international level. From what I understand, the only point to be made in this article was surrounding his bizzarely late selection into the side. And I see that happening everywhere to be honest. India hasnt tried a single middle order batsmen for 7-8 years now. We've had the same line up for so long! Maybe Australia went through the same. Badrinath and Manoj Tewari are such prolific scorers in the domestic circuit that if the public followed domestic cricket with enough enthusiasm, they'd have pushed the selectors into picking the two. But note here that there's nothing very attractive about their games. So I guess Mukul's right there too. The selectors and the public fall for batsmen who can send a frenzy with just one cover drive. probably thats important too. Cricket, after all, is a sport that's primarily meant to entertain.

  • GuruBrahma on December 22, 2007, 6:14 GMT

    Isn't Hussey one of the richest Aussie sportspersons by way of endorsements? Nothing suggests that he lacks popular admiration; critical acclaim, may be, Mukul has a point there.

  • Subramani on December 22, 2007, 5:43 GMT

    Like Mathew Hayden, Michael Hussey is a late bloomer and is a legend already regardless of the 20 test benchmark. The reason he may been given his chance late could be because he is not the usual Australian aggressive stereotype. He has proved himself against all types of bowling, has all the shots in the book and has that nevelessness that is needed today to be a lynchpin in his team's fortunes. I would rate him more Bradman than Ricky Ponting not just because of his phenomenal performances in the short time he has been around but because of his humility and grace. I wish he would be the role model for the Australians if they want to shed their image of arrogance as rightly pointed out by Shane Warne recently.

  • andrew schulz on December 22, 2007, 5:34 GMT

    Maybe Hussey's incredible success suggests he was picked at exactly the right time? Delve a bit deeper, and don't make too much of the 15000 run apprenticeship. Rightly, Australian selectors value runs in English county cricket not very much at all, including 3 triple centuries. The fact is, Hussey's numbers in the Pura Cup have always been, and remain, quite ordinary, including a shocking run over about 20 games against the strongest pace bowling attack of his era, Queensland. (averages 22 against them)And two points you make are pure dribble: the bit about being selected earlier if he were blonde, bubbling and dancing, and the argument that Hussey does not receive due credit because of embarrassment that he wasn't selected earlier. Pure offensive dribble, and quite laughable.

  • Prabhu Jagannathan on December 22, 2007, 4:49 GMT

    Undoubtedly, you are right Mukul. Mr.Cricket's acheivement is not only seen from the statistical figures but also the times he take innings/match away from the opponents with the tail at the other end. No one forget the partnerships he had with Gillespie and Mcgrath in the other end. Hussey, is not only on averages he tops also with the match winning ability at the games highest level.

    True cricket fan will delight in watching Mr.Cricket's lovely coverdrives or magnificient pulls against best odds. I request everyone to recollect his dominance on the south african bowlers when his own team mates struggled against Nitini in Australia.

    I also agree with the word "under rated", unfortunately its true to the best man in the cuircuit. But this lovely game and true critics like you (!!!!) the best of crivcket will always be felt by all.

  • Manas on December 22, 2007, 3:52 GMT

    Oh Mukul, Please stop writing such nonsense. Please spare us all from your stupid articles. Hussey is widely regarded as the next best batsman, he is nick named "Mr. Cricket" and there is nothing about him that suggests he is "anti- Lara". He is a very aggressive and elegant batsman to watch as well. I guess you are perhaps the only person in the cricketing fraternity who thinks Hussey is under-rated. And by the way your comment about "upholding the right not to open" shows the difference in Indian and Aussie approach, doesn't it? When Dravid is asked to open we feel that he is made a sacrificial lamb; whereas what Chappel was saying that if Hussey opens he gets more opportunity to build an innings and have a longer stint at the wicket. It's all about putting your best foot forward.

  • Muhammad Umair on December 22, 2007, 2:26 GMT

    I am always been a big fan of Mike Hussey. I think that a player who can score a 108 runs partnership at 10th wicket and 94 runs partner ship at 9th wicket cannot be an ordinary batsman. He is the best player I ever seen in cricket and especially Test Cricket.

  • Aparajithan on December 22, 2007, 1:55 GMT

    it brings to the forefront an important modern day question surrounding all things artistic - art for art's sake or art for life's sake... the more significant exercise is to define what is art in the modern context... taking the example of architecture, is good architecture that which is defined by the traditionally acclaimed artistic value but something that does not fully solve its initially commissioned purpose, or something that is effective in its design and construction process, serves the business purpose, but does not have much of a traditionally defined artistic value?? this article seems to be putting forth a similar question in cricketing parlance, and while i do not have the answer, i can just point out that this dilemma does not affect just cricket, but its a question on our way of life...

  • Peter on December 22, 2007, 1:42 GMT

    Shadaab, that's just nonsense. Penalising Hussey for keeping his wicket intact? By turning his not-outs into outs? What's next - deduct a few runs off each of his innings until his average drops below one of your heroes? A batsman's average is an expression of how many runs he scores per dismissal, not how many runs he scores per innings...

  • Rod on December 22, 2007, 1:40 GMT

    Actually Hussey was probably lucky to make it to the test team at all. His domestic (in Australia) average was around 42, and, in Australia plenty of other people averaged good or better than that. I think Australian fans know just how good Hussey is - very good - but will wait a bit longer to put him above Ponting, Lara etc.

  • Dan on December 22, 2007, 1:18 GMT

    Michael Hussey is not a captain, nor has he ever had those aspirations. I don't think Mukul was claiming that Hussey should be captain and Clarke shouldn't, he was merely illustrating the strength of the aesthetic.

    As a batsman, Clarke deserved his chance in Test cricket but he has never earnt assured spot he gets now. Hussey should have been in the side long, long ago. But 1) Clarke is from NSW (endorsed by Waugh), 2) He's a Julio and Hussey's a Nerd, making him marketable, 3) He's a lot younger. My opinion is that Clarke hasn't even earnt his spot as a batsmen and many players, not just Hussey, should be higher in the pecking order.

    As for Clarke as a captain (a point which is somewhat irrelevant), the same reasons as outlined above have brought him into the position he now holds. It's always been CA's grand plan for Clarke to take over the reigns, but I simply don't think he has it in him. I've seen enough to suggest that he's no Waugh nor Ponting, I doubt he'll grow into one.

  • Adi on December 22, 2007, 0:59 GMT

    Nicely written. The perfect opposite to Hussey is our own Veeru who's hand and eye co-ordination that compensated for his non-existent footwork and technique has vanished but he's still picked because he brings the "x-factor" and such.

  • Chris Dezso on December 22, 2007, 0:55 GMT

    I'm sorry during which world record winning streak were Australia supposed to drop one of their high performing batsman for someone who (like many others) was plundering runs in the English County League.

    Hussey has been a revelation but the earliest he should have been picked was the 2005 Ashes.

  • Nathan on December 22, 2007, 0:48 GMT

    Both arguments are correct. On the one hand, he hasn't been praised enough for the achievements to date. while on the other hand, this is an anomaly and completely unpredictable based on his domestic performances. Nigel was spot on with his guess that his Pura Cup stats are much worse than his overall FC stats:

    Name Mat I NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct St MEK Hussey 100 183 10 7282 223* 42.09 15 36 98

    The Australian selectors are always going to place more emphasis on Pura Cup results than County cricket, as the players will spend more time in Australia than anywhere else.

  • Antony Bright on December 22, 2007, 0:41 GMT

    Having studied Australian cricket since 1978, I can add a vital element to your "Inconvenient Truth". Simply, it's the State that the players in question represent: Clarke is from NSW, and Hussey is not. Since Kerry Packer, cricket has been about profitability. With NSW being the biggest market, pandering to its wants is good business sense. A simple study of the average age of Test-debutants from NSW, as opposed to other states, will outline the relative ease with which the NSWmen enter the national side; as will the evidence that players that are considered to have withered on the vine- such as Jamie Siddons, Dene Hills, Jamie Cox and Darren Lehmann,(for a while)-came from elsewhere. There isn't a prolific NSWman that has been untried. Indeed, it is known here that if you want to be considered for a Test berth, move to NSW. Simon Katich, Casson and Hauritz are prime examples. All 3 were frontline players in their home States, without a need to move to get a regular domestic berth.

  • Nick on December 21, 2007, 23:58 GMT

    Ponting has scored 203 more runs than Hussey has in his last 18 tests. His average: 80.73. Sangakkara has scored 2222 runs at 85.46 in his last 18 tests. Yes, these are Hussey's first 18 tests. Yet, were Ponting and Sangakkara almost fully developed cricketers when they were picked? Of course not.

    Hussey was picked at the top of his game, and has easily slotted into the team due to his experience, knowledge and temperament. Unsurprisingly, the barrier to his being picked earlier was his form in the Pura Cup, which was indifferent for many seasons.

    I can't understand your comparisons between BCCI and CA. Australia don't tinker with players before they are ready because they have a wealth of players who have proved themselves in the top domestic competition, and a team with no notable weaknesses. One recent exception: Australia's testing of Hauritz and Cullen at international level. Coincidence? No: an awareness that spin bowling will soon be a weakness. Sound like the BCCI to you?

  • Kristin Carville on December 21, 2007, 23:40 GMT

    Mukul, it seems that you have a real problem with Michael Clarke!!And as for your rant abotu why Clarke debuted before Hussey, it is easy - at the time Clarke made his debut, he was in much better form, where as Hussey was just starting to regain his permanent spot in the WA team. History will show that being dropped from the WA team was probably the best move ever made, as it has intensified his hunger for runs, and that has given him the mindset to be averaging 86 at test level.

    As for the captaincy, unlike other countries Australia look for the long term solution, not a band-aid solution. When Ponting was made captain, it would have been quite easy to make Gilchrist captain as well - he was vice captain before Ponting, but is older and therefore CA went for a candidate who was skilled and would hold the job long term. Same applies for Clarke - he is 6 years younger, and by the time Ponting retires Huss will be not far off himself. Stand back and look sometimes Mukul!!

  • Dave on December 21, 2007, 22:48 GMT

    As an Australian I am very happy to have Hussey on the team, but the reason why I perhaps give less weight to his figures is because so far he hasn't come up against truly testing bowling which I think inflates his figures. While Tendulkar and Lara scored their runs against the likes of Warne/McGrath or Younis/Akram at their peak and Border against the might of the West Indies, the current Australian batting masters have never been tested fully by a concerted bowling attack with no let up. The one time they did, against an English quartet who all fired at once, is also the time that they failed en masse, including Ponting who is often mentioned alongside Lara and Tendulkar (though I don't rate him quite there). Until Hussey really tested we won't know the extent of his quality, though he is undoubtedly a very fine batsman. Also, I think Shadaab has a very good point.

  • Dan on December 21, 2007, 22:37 GMT

    Shadaab has a good point about the not-outs, and Adi about his not having done the tough tours yet, but there are a couple of other factors:

    1. Hussey is of the same generation as a number of other champions. The selectors sensibly preferred a younger man in Clarke who could underpin a future side.

    2. Hussey came into the side at the peak of his powers. Those with 15 yr Test careers tend to score less in the early, learning, years and again in their decline. Hussey spent his learning period in state cricket and his Test average benefits from that, but he is still expected to lower his average when his abilities decline.

    The note about his less flamboyant style is well taken, though. Such players sneak up on you. Dravid was never as widely praised as some of his teammates in the early years, until it became apparent how he'd managed to maintain a terrific average through his low-key style. If Hussey can get to 50 Tests and maintain his average the plaudits will really roll in.

  • cover of Australia on December 21, 2007, 22:12 GMT

    The reason why Hussey was overlooked for many years was because of the strength of the Australian batting, and Hussey's ordinary performances for Western Australia. Sure, he'd rack up the runs in county cricket, where he'd average 60+, but he'd come back to Australia and average 30-45 for Western Australia. He averaged 60 in season 2004/05 for WA, and that was the season of his international debut.

    If he had debuted earlier than 2005, his numbers, I feel, won't be nearly as high as they are now. He made his debut at the point where he knew his own game very well so there was less chance of failure. People often say here, why didn't he play international cricket in the 90s? He wasn't ready for it at the time. But he's ready for it now, and I feel he won't ever suffer a patch of poor form because of how well he knows his game and his maturity.

    As for aesthetics, I found all of his shots off the front foot through the off side, especially the cover drive, as pleasing as any in the game

  • Simon B on December 21, 2007, 21:59 GMT

    An interesting article, but it seems to employ a fair bit of hindsight. I would pose the question: When *should* Hussey have been picked? He WAS an opening batsman, make no mistake, and remember that Langer and Hayden were as good as any Australian openers in history, and had been since the turn of the century. At the time of his selection, Hussey did not deserve a place ahead of either.

    It is now obvious that Hussey should have been picked in the middle order much earlier, but ahead of whom? Who knew he was going to average in the mid-80s? Martyn and Lehmann were superb players, established in the middle-order for their whole careers, and they deserved their chances. Perhaps Hussey should have been picked ahead of Katich in 2005; perhaps he would have saved the Ashes. But no-one was quibbling about that at the beginning of that series.

    Why is Hussey under-acclaimed? As an Australian, I think superstition has a lot to do with it... if we start talking him up, he might fall over!

  • sachin on December 21, 2007, 21:52 GMT

    Yes indeed he is a good batsman but to count him as the best is foolish. The reasoning behind averages of other players at 18 tests is not at all appropriate. Consider this Hussy started playing when he was 30 already matured and hard grinded player he was more than ready for the rigours of test cricket. If you compare Sachin he started playing at 16 yrs of age...and to be successful from there would take a lot since you got to be a genious to be able to play test cricket at 16. Throw in Hussy when he was 16 and ask him to face Wasim, Waqar, Imran, Walse etc and you would have known the difference.....unfortunately did not happen....There is a reason why even a middle class person who cant afford a ticket to the game goes to watch likes of sachin , lara and doesnt repent it later.....

  • Sunny on December 21, 2007, 21:35 GMT

    the guy gets dropped all the time...sri lanka dropped him twice and he ended up scoring a hundred. also as a member of the best performing / consistent batting line-up he usually ends up a bunch of not-outs (may be that's why he doesn't want to open!) which helps his average considerably as well. let's see him perform overseas first before we anoint him as heir apparent to steve waugh.

  • Longmemory on December 21, 2007, 21:26 GMT

    Hussey's average of 80+ has to be placed in context: batsmen dominate the game like never before. The # of current test batsmen with 50+ career averages is stunning; there is a dearth of quality fast- or spin bowling; there's teams with pea-shooter attacks (Bdesh and Zim aren't the only ones - add WI, Ind, and on occasion Pak & Eng to that list); covered pitches + helmets; heavier bats & smaller grounds; I could go on. In recent times, Kumble and Vaas have made centuries which neither could in their first 90 tests. Hussey is probably a fine batsman (I haven't seen him play) but he is also a sign of things to come. If a batting average in the low 40's once made you good, & mid-50s made you great, soon averaging 60 will make you good & you'll need 75 to be considered great. Pretty soon the species called "bowler" will be extinct, following that other specialist, the "wicket-keeper" into oblivion. Before that, of course, test cricket might become extinct and we'll all be watching 20/20.

  • santosh on December 21, 2007, 21:16 GMT

    nice one... Clarke very much overrated..though he is a gud player.. Hussey is an unsung hero....

  • Fanon on December 21, 2007, 21:00 GMT

    The self-effacing hussey is indubitably the best batsman seen in a long time. Not the most graceful, most charismatic, or thrillingly watchable as per Richards, Gower, Lara and Tendulkar. Not a McEnroe or even Sampras but more Borg, highly competent and more than capable of sluging it out with the best. Moreover he deserves his incredible success having been robbed of a much longer career by his the AC. Amazing but then he is no golden child or poster-boy. Great or talented though Warne, Clarke, Watson et al are, maybe it says something about contemporary cricket and society that the likes of McGill and Hussey, given their significantly more outstanding numbers (wicket strike rates, batting averages) are not given their due. Despite what we think and say about American sport those found gambling on their sport (Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson) got life bans. It amazes me to this day that Marsh, Lillee, Ponting, Warne are considered greats. Hussey needs to sully his hands prhaps

  • Nikhil on December 21, 2007, 20:36 GMT

    @shadaab: you say "Try counting a few not-out innings as outs, and his average comes down into the more reasonable 50s". I tried, results below

    0 not-outs: 65.38 1 not-out: 67.7 2 not-outs: 70.2 3 not-outs: 72.9 4 not-outs: 75.84 etc 7 not-outs: 86.18, his current average...

  • Nishant on December 21, 2007, 19:56 GMT

    I would agree somewhat that he is not getting due respect but I completely disagree with your comments on leadership. Even if the establishment is embarrassed about giving him a chance too late, it does not mean that he needs to be made captain. It is safe to assume that Ponting has another 3-4 years left in him as a player and captain, perhaps more. By then, Hussey would be 36 or 37 and that's hardly the best time to make someone captain unless you are looking for a stop gap arrangement like Kumble. Foretunately, Cricket Australia is a better planner and I think they have made the right decision to groom Clarke as future captain. As for Hussey, I think he is a very good player but he will have to continue batting like this and prove himself in all conditions. I have no doubt he will contniue to achieve more and earn everyone's respect in due course.

  • srikan on December 21, 2007, 19:47 GMT

    Hussey is a super batsman but his average is bound to come down to the high fifties as he plays more tests. The man himself seems well aware of that. Ian Chappell is very opinioniated and he is billed as a great. He is part of the channel nine pool who also call Symonds a great allrounder. It will be interesting if Mukul writes an article about how the word great and legends is used in today's media to refer to folks who are actually not great.

  • srikan on December 21, 2007, 19:43 GMT

    Hussey is a super batsman but his average is bound to come down to the high fifties as he plays more tests. The man himself seems well aware of that. Ian Chappell is very opinioniated and he is billed as a great. He is part of the channel nine pool who also call Symonds a great allrounder. It will be interesting if Mukul writes an article about how the word great and legends is used in today's media to refer to folks who are actually not great.

  • arun p on December 21, 2007, 19:34 GMT

    well the only other player who can shift gears at his will,apart from sachin tendulkar i had seen is Michael Hussey...His strike rate may be just around 53,but i can't forget the two 80+ knocks he made against south africa in about 50 deliveries 2 years back.just awesome hitting,and at one stage his one day strike rate and batting average was in excess of 100!!!!!!!!!simply if there is a left handed analogy for Bradman after Gary Sobers,i can't think of anyone apart Michael Hussey...and the greatest thing which puts him above Sachin or Lara is that he is a perfect team man and all is awesome knocks came when the teem as reeling under pressure and had been match winning one's unlike Lara's 400 or Sachin's 241 against Aussies.

  • Jayanth on December 21, 2007, 19:28 GMT

    Amazingly good article Mukul. It was always a wonder for me why Hussey has been so underrated. I really wonder, why he was ignored until 2005 !!

  • Shadaab on December 21, 2007, 19:16 GMT

    Not surprising. He comes so far down the order and remains not-out so often that his average simply shoots up. Out of 29 innings, he's been not-out 7 times, which is almost 25% of all his innings! Try counting a few not-out innings as outs, and his average comes down into the more reasonable 50s. Yes, he's a very good batsman, and a future great, but he hasn't played long enough to be declared the the best of the best.

    Let's look at MS Dhoni. He's played 96 ODIs and has an average of 43.3. That's better than Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Sehwag, Yuvraj, and only slightly less than Tendulkar. Does that mean Dhoni is a better batsman than all of the others? Not really - the truth is that he's been not-out 20 of those 96 innings, which is more than a fifth of his total innings.

    Hussey is a similar case.

  • dilip on December 21, 2007, 19:06 GMT

    mukul,i am sure upto something naghty.playing up hussey against clark.i am hoping desperately that i am right.keep it up.we need your support to pip them at home

  • nigel on December 21, 2007, 19:02 GMT

    There are a few things you're missing out on I think in this article.

    Success in Australian domestic cricket doesn't always mean you're going to be a success at an international level, although admittedly this is far truer for bowlers than it is for batsmen.

    Hussey did very well in English county cricket, but less so in Australia. You've focused on his accumulation of runs, but unfortunately statsguru doesn't seem to let me check out his other statistics in Australian domestic cricket only, but I'm sure they'd be lower than his county stats.

    As others have noted, the Australian selectors, unlike other boards, understand that cricket is a team game, and that to focus on dropping and promoting players rather than concentrating on producing a winning team is a mistake.

    Hussey should probably have been given a go earlier, but I don't think it's as egregious a mistake as you're making out. Australia has had a strong batting lineup that has simply been difficult to break into.

  • souvik on December 21, 2007, 18:59 GMT

    From a man who's thus far praised artistry of an 82 -test 40 something averaging batsman over recent form and performance of every other less gifted (in his eyes) players, this is indeed a welcome surprise. As usual it is exceedingly well-written with an eclectic blend of facts, persuasive logic, and well directed barbs. Keep it going Mukul. These days, I do look for your post before Peter Roebuck's.

  • Krish on December 21, 2007, 18:41 GMT

    Appreciations to Mukul for highlighting Hussey's greatness. Cricket (or any sport for that matter) would have lot of unsung heroes for several teams like Hussey is there for Australia. However, that doesn't mean that Clarke wouldn't be a good leader. Usually, countries like Australia go for someone who has the leadership capabilities (say Border, Waugh and Taylor) more than being the no. 1 batsman of the side. Clarke may not be the best, but if his leadership is good and scores decently, he should be ok.

    For India, Kumble is a better captain than Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid. However, the bad system there prefers a batsman as a captain always, which is why Kumble never had the chance. I am glad that the current India team has Dhoni and Kumble captaining limited and test sides respectively. Welcome change!

    Funny and hypocrital how Grud is upset with sub-continent mentality. Imagine blaming whites for all world problems. Generalizing too much on a blog is simply stupid.

  • TonyP on December 21, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    Mukul raises some very good points in a fine article.

    Selectors have a hard job, they're understandably reluctant to make changes to a winning team and it isn't always the case that first class excellence translates into test success. Sometimes it's better to let a player mature. Ponting, Clarke, Hayden and Martyn were all better players after forcing their way back into the team while Dirk Wellham was elevated way too early and his talent remained unfulfilled. But for a dearth of talent in Australian cricket in the mid-80's Steve Waugh might've gone the same way, how long did it take him to score a century?

    The issue of Clarke being groomed for leadership is a straw man however & Grud's counter about leadership quality is spurious. Hussey has already captained the ODI team including Clarke, showing that the ACB sees leadership potential in him. The central issue here is that by the time Ponting retires Hussey will be in the twilight of his career while Clarke will be at his apogee.

  • puranjoy on December 21, 2007, 18:11 GMT

    Ponting is going to be around for a few years. By the time he retires, Hussey will again be very close to retirement himself. That's why Clarke is going to be the next captain, because he will still have at least five or six years of cricket left.

  • Vikram Jadhav on December 21, 2007, 18:06 GMT

    The author does not pay attention to following key issues. 1. Cricket Aus (CA) places team above individuals even if it translates into sacrificing a few promising careers (entirely or partially), a concept that Indian selectors are just beginning to embrace inspite of meddling by BCCI stalwarts. 2. It's unfair to blame CA selectors for many reasons a) Domestic achievements do not necessarily translate into international excellence. There have been numerous test discards in the Indian fold without even having to name any. b) CA is a well-oiled machine which does not waste time and efforts on doling out international caps just for a match or two or a series as the Indian selector is wont to do. CA invests for a longer duration. And if Aussies decide to put money where their mouth is, they think well before doing so and put the team before the individual. c) In retrospect, my dad could have been a millionaire betting on India at 60:1 in 1983. 3)Clarke 26yrs, Hussey 32yrs. Think future!

  • Anjo on December 21, 2007, 17:58 GMT

    Hold on there... Its quite likely Huss's average won't change after the series... You need to take two wickets before he comes in to bat... run outs maybe... I can't wait for the turbanator to play his one and only match of the tour at Sydney, hope it will finally convince everyone that someone with as big a mouth as his, would be better off set to pasture... Oh yeah, and Hogg will be the third highest wicket-taker in the series...

  • Sri Ramachandran on December 21, 2007, 17:57 GMT

    Spot on. I in fact read thru the first half of your article looking every moment for a mention of, or comparison with, Michael Clarke. And I was relieved when I found it. It has baffled me for the past few years (even before Hussey came on the scene) as to how much plaudits are heaped on this guy (Clarke) and how little he has justified it, thus far. I kept 'consoling' myself saying it was much the same with Ponting early in his career and perhaps the Australian media and pundits know something about Clarke that the rest of the world doesnt. Which basically means he will soon blossom like Ponting ultimately did. But so far there is nothing to warrant that level of optimism. And, now that Hussey has burst on the scene and cemented his place as a really good or even great batsman, it is simply astounding how little mention he gets, especially compared to Clarke. And it seems his Test captaincy aspirations will never bear fruit, if only because of that 0-3 loss to NZ in ODIs. Sad.

  • rabbie on December 21, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    good article about hussey, but it's time to remember to write about the most destructive opening batsman in in test cricket.52 tests, 12 tons,av 49.46, sr 75.75.how do you replace an opening batsman with a middle order batsman,typical indian mindset(fickle) yuraj is good player but the team needs veeru at present to challenge the aussie pace attack.

  • Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati, Ohio on December 21, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    Better late than never I always say. Theres no doubt in anyones mind that Hussey is an incredible talent. The sheer weight of runs that flow off his bat speak volumes for his ability.

    As captain of Australia? I dunno. He seems too nice and self deprecating a guy to lead a side of swaggering individuals that is Australia.

    Thats my two cents.

  • Prithu on December 21, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    I agree with most of the article but I don't think being blonde or twinkle toed or bubbly has anything to do with choosing Clarke. If all that were true Steve Waugh would never have been Captain he was. Also slowly but surely Hussey is getting his due respect.. As the latest Mastercard Ad says " Getting sledged by Hussey .. Priceless"

  • Alex on December 21, 2007, 17:03 GMT

    Fantastic article!!! As an Australian I am incredibly proud to have this man in the team and long may it continue! Everyone talks about Jason Gillespie's 200 but what about the bloke at the other end nailing 182?

  • Deepanjan on December 21, 2007, 17:01 GMT

    Being an Indian cricket fan, its often baffling how the apparent flourish and few outstanding performances are enough to deify cricketing idols. Tendulkar and Dravid, in their contrasting ways , have been greats, and consistency is one trait which is the common thread.

    You are spot on, in remarking, its part embarrassment of the 'establishments' that they have ignored Hussey for so long, that now, his hunger for success matching his cricketing acumen acquired over the years is sticking it out to their face.

    Mike Hussey might end up as one of the greats, or may not .But even keeping in mind the relative decline of the balance in favor of bowlers, and considerable supremacy of Aussies, here's a man i'd root for .. 'coz his ambition matches his modesty, and no less skill. They don't make em like this too often !!

  • Edward Davis on December 21, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    Excellent article. Watching him for years, and initially thought that had he played in the Ashes 05, the Aussies would have won. Maybe he can prove the doubters and finish with the best stats of all time. Maybe he'll go on to he's 38! Good luck bowlers. On his technique, I think he is the most complete batsman I have ever seen. I don't think people realise how hard he hits the ball (ON and OFF SIDE). Plus he is very confident, this gives him a real edge possibly another 10 runs in his average. Mentally there is no-one in the world more astute. He is the quiet assassin. Maybe the Aussies played a blind eye after his third (yearly) successive triple hundred. Funnily enough, I actually think of Bradman when he bats, he has an old fashioned technique, and machine like confidence. He always expects to come out on top, and he usually does. Most importantly is his temperament. Like Chanderpaul and Sangakkara he is like Bjorg! Ponting and Hayden are my other favorites. Happy holidays Edward.

  • Grud on December 21, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    I had noticed something in this article. Looks like you have a problem over choosing Clarke as the next captain of Australia over Hussey. Not to put you down or anything, but you have to understand the basics of leadership before writing such articles.

    It is not totally your fault. It is the typical sub-continent mentality, hailing from India. I used to think in similar lines when I was 7. Hussey is a world class player….no denying it. But, I am pretty Cricket Australia does a better job of identifying better leaders than your or the BCCI. Sachin is a way better batsman than either Dravid or Ganguly, but show me one person in this world who can say that he is a better captain. I would even say Mark Waugh was a better batsman than his brother who was a much better captain than Mark.

    Skill and leadership are two totally different things and do not try to mix them up. It doesn’t yield any good.

    Also may I say you are a ...? Yesterday when you wrote about “More than a Test Series”, I happened to come across a comment regarding why there isn’t a blog for the Australians to boast about…and here it comes. Good technique to impress everybody. But Mukul, you cannot make everyone happy all the time.

  • Nimal on December 21, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    Hussey is a mature starter. How many more years will he have if his average falls to, say the 50s? For that to happen he will have to have a string of low scores.. will he survive then? Starting at 30 may have robbed him five years of play about 50 tests. Even if his eventual average over 30-40 tests drops to the high 40s it would have been a remarkable career.

  • Karthik on December 21, 2007, 16:46 GMT

    Great article Mukul. Very well written. Dismissing Hussey early is going to be a huge challenge for India down under. Yes, indeed Oz committed a big blunder by not giving Hussey his debut much early. Hopefully, he has an ordinary test series against India.

  • Richard on December 21, 2007, 16:21 GMT

    I and many people around the world tend to think that Steve Waugh was a genius, and he was a no nonsense player, hardly aesthetically pleasing but a man who got things done. Thank god there is still a place in the game for this type of player(Hussey,Waugh etc) it gives us all hope!!!!

  • Vatsa on December 21, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    I think Mukul's articles are becoming repetitive and on popular lines. Hussey is a popular batsman and is acknowledged rightly as a top notch player, Mr. Cricket. It has been written and rewritten that Hussey was late to Test match cricket.

    Dont understand what the purpose of writing this was all about.

  • Adi Mehta on December 21, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    A good batsman no doubt. Better than Lara, Sachin and Ponting, I doubt. Lets give him a couple of more years and a series in SL and Ind. He is yet to prove himself in the dustbowls of the world and come out shining. The only sub-continent trip he had was Bdesh and that really not test cricket.

    Not to take anything away though, he is a fine player.

  • Ravi on December 21, 2007, 16:02 GMT

    Absolutely right Mukul. This man is a legend in the making, I too cannot understand why he is not hailed more by the media that constantly craves heroes. I shudder to think of the damage he will do to our bowlers in his own backyard. Here's hoping for his first poor series.

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  • Ravi on December 21, 2007, 16:02 GMT

    Absolutely right Mukul. This man is a legend in the making, I too cannot understand why he is not hailed more by the media that constantly craves heroes. I shudder to think of the damage he will do to our bowlers in his own backyard. Here's hoping for his first poor series.

  • Adi Mehta on December 21, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    A good batsman no doubt. Better than Lara, Sachin and Ponting, I doubt. Lets give him a couple of more years and a series in SL and Ind. He is yet to prove himself in the dustbowls of the world and come out shining. The only sub-continent trip he had was Bdesh and that really not test cricket.

    Not to take anything away though, he is a fine player.

  • Vatsa on December 21, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    I think Mukul's articles are becoming repetitive and on popular lines. Hussey is a popular batsman and is acknowledged rightly as a top notch player, Mr. Cricket. It has been written and rewritten that Hussey was late to Test match cricket.

    Dont understand what the purpose of writing this was all about.

  • Richard on December 21, 2007, 16:21 GMT

    I and many people around the world tend to think that Steve Waugh was a genius, and he was a no nonsense player, hardly aesthetically pleasing but a man who got things done. Thank god there is still a place in the game for this type of player(Hussey,Waugh etc) it gives us all hope!!!!

  • Karthik on December 21, 2007, 16:46 GMT

    Great article Mukul. Very well written. Dismissing Hussey early is going to be a huge challenge for India down under. Yes, indeed Oz committed a big blunder by not giving Hussey his debut much early. Hopefully, he has an ordinary test series against India.

  • Nimal on December 21, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    Hussey is a mature starter. How many more years will he have if his average falls to, say the 50s? For that to happen he will have to have a string of low scores.. will he survive then? Starting at 30 may have robbed him five years of play about 50 tests. Even if his eventual average over 30-40 tests drops to the high 40s it would have been a remarkable career.

  • Grud on December 21, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    I had noticed something in this article. Looks like you have a problem over choosing Clarke as the next captain of Australia over Hussey. Not to put you down or anything, but you have to understand the basics of leadership before writing such articles.

    It is not totally your fault. It is the typical sub-continent mentality, hailing from India. I used to think in similar lines when I was 7. Hussey is a world class player….no denying it. But, I am pretty Cricket Australia does a better job of identifying better leaders than your or the BCCI. Sachin is a way better batsman than either Dravid or Ganguly, but show me one person in this world who can say that he is a better captain. I would even say Mark Waugh was a better batsman than his brother who was a much better captain than Mark.

    Skill and leadership are two totally different things and do not try to mix them up. It doesn’t yield any good.

    Also may I say you are a ...? Yesterday when you wrote about “More than a Test Series”, I happened to come across a comment regarding why there isn’t a blog for the Australians to boast about…and here it comes. Good technique to impress everybody. But Mukul, you cannot make everyone happy all the time.

  • Edward Davis on December 21, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    Excellent article. Watching him for years, and initially thought that had he played in the Ashes 05, the Aussies would have won. Maybe he can prove the doubters and finish with the best stats of all time. Maybe he'll go on to he's 38! Good luck bowlers. On his technique, I think he is the most complete batsman I have ever seen. I don't think people realise how hard he hits the ball (ON and OFF SIDE). Plus he is very confident, this gives him a real edge possibly another 10 runs in his average. Mentally there is no-one in the world more astute. He is the quiet assassin. Maybe the Aussies played a blind eye after his third (yearly) successive triple hundred. Funnily enough, I actually think of Bradman when he bats, he has an old fashioned technique, and machine like confidence. He always expects to come out on top, and he usually does. Most importantly is his temperament. Like Chanderpaul and Sangakkara he is like Bjorg! Ponting and Hayden are my other favorites. Happy holidays Edward.

  • Deepanjan on December 21, 2007, 17:01 GMT

    Being an Indian cricket fan, its often baffling how the apparent flourish and few outstanding performances are enough to deify cricketing idols. Tendulkar and Dravid, in their contrasting ways , have been greats, and consistency is one trait which is the common thread.

    You are spot on, in remarking, its part embarrassment of the 'establishments' that they have ignored Hussey for so long, that now, his hunger for success matching his cricketing acumen acquired over the years is sticking it out to their face.

    Mike Hussey might end up as one of the greats, or may not .But even keeping in mind the relative decline of the balance in favor of bowlers, and considerable supremacy of Aussies, here's a man i'd root for .. 'coz his ambition matches his modesty, and no less skill. They don't make em like this too often !!

  • Alex on December 21, 2007, 17:03 GMT

    Fantastic article!!! As an Australian I am incredibly proud to have this man in the team and long may it continue! Everyone talks about Jason Gillespie's 200 but what about the bloke at the other end nailing 182?