September 30, 2011


Multistat: 1033

Andy Zaltzman

Test runs scored by Mike Hussey in eight Tests since he began the 2010-11 Ashes, sharing a hotel room with a noisy gaggle of question marks over his place in the Baggy Green team. Those question marks had earned the right to rifle through Hussey's minibar, dance in his jacuzzi bath, and snooze groggily on his couch. In his previous 34 Tests, over almost three years, he had scored just three hundreds and averaged 34 - 56th in the world (of players who had played five or more Tests in that time), and the tenth-best Australian. Having averaged over 35 in only three of his last 11 series, Hussey could have had no complaints that the writing was on the wall, nor that the writing was not entirely complimentary in tone, and contained the words "You are selectorial toast" in especially lurid paint. But rather than accept this unwanted decor, he whipped out his old set of paintbrushes, and covered over that writing with a high-class mural depicting himself waving his bat around, celebrating. In eight Tests since then, he has hit five hundreds and five more half-centuries, and posted an average of 73 - the fourth highest in that period, behind Bell, Cook and Misbah, and almost double the average of the next-best Australian, Shane Watson. Hussey's fallow period had followed one of the most remarkable starts to any Test career. In 20 Tests, he had scored 2120 runs, including eight centuries, at an eye-ballooning average of 84 - the best in the world in the November 2005 to January 2008 time slab. During his two Himalayan peak periods, therefore, he has hit 12 hundreds in 28 Tests and averaged 80 - midway between Graeme Pollock and Bradman - whilst in the rift valley in between, he nestled in amidst the statistical likes of Brendan Nash, Wasim Jaffer and Greg Ritchie. For a player and a man who seems to be the embodiment of consistent reliability, Hussey has had a barkingly odd career.

Also: The last year in which there were no recorded disputes about umpiring in top-level cricket.

Also: Virender Sehwag's close-of-play score whenever he visualises himself batting undefeated throughout the first day of a Test.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

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Andy Zaltzman
Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.

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