Hyderabad v Chennai, IPL 2013, Hyderabad

With Hussey, maiden doesn't mean all over

The pressure of dots balls can be enormous in Twenty20 cricket. Hussey knows he can always fall back on three foundations of his Twenty20 batting: his running, the cover-drive and the shovel pull

Sidharth Monga

May 8, 2013

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A

Michael Hussey swivels and plays a pull shot, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2013, Hyderabad, May 8, 2013
From 0 off 6 to 67 off 42 © BCCI

It could be a complete coincidence, or perhaps not, but two of the best batsmen in Twenty20 cricket have faced the most maidens in the IPL. Chris Gayle has gone through four run-less overs. When Michael Hussey was done blocking out Dale Steyn in the first over of this match, he had faced his third maiden of the IPL.

In a format that a couple of dot balls often result in stupid dismissals, here are batsmen playing out 5% of a team's resources without scoring a run. That should put teams under immense pressure, right? Wrong. Of the seven times Hussey and Gayle have played out a maiden, their side has lost on only one occasion. Twice Gayle has scored a century after facing a maiden.

Gayle has been well documented. He just bides his time, picks his bowlers, and then goes boom. Because he knows he can, because he knows fielders and boundaries don't mean anything to him once he starts hitting.

What of Hussey then? On the surface it might sound surprising that Hussey comes back from these slow starts often, but he is possibly the likelier of the two to do so. The number of times his team, Chennai Super Kings, have gone from around 60 in 10 overs to 160 in 20 suggests he has done so more consistently.

It is perhaps logical that Hussey should do it as often as Gayle, if not more. He is a more complete batsman. Until he surprised everyone by suddenly giving up international cricket, he was one of the few batsmen in the world who was equally good at all three formats. However, whether it is Gayle or Hussey, the acceleration from slow starts is easier said than done.

The pressure of dots balls can be enormous in Twenty20 cricket. You begin to owe your team that many balls as soon as you start playing those dots. If you fall mid-acceleration, for, say, 20 off 25, you end up doing your team a disservice. You leave yourself no other option but to play about 40 balls and make up for those starts. You have to be extremely sure of your game to be doing that often.

Not many know their own game better than Hussey does. He knows he can always fall back on three foundations of his Twenty20 batting: his running, the cover-drive that he plays as well as anyone, and the shovel pull that he hardly ever fails at.

It is not as if he deliberately plays out deliveries at the top. He minimises the risks while the pitch is a stranger. While most openers try to get the hitting out of the way, Hussey waits, as he did today. This was a ground where 130 had been the season's highest score. Hussey was out there with an opening partner who has not been through the best of seasons. Super Kings were against bowlers who have kept their side in the competition without much help at all from their batsmen. And the leader of that pack, Steyn, was about to bowl outswingers at mid-140kmph and register the second-best IPL figures for a bowler in a score of 200 or more.

Four defensive shots covering the swing, one leave outside off, and one hit on the inside half of the bat. All of a sudden it's 19 overs v 20. Only two runs would come off the next Steyn over. Almost inconspicuously, though, Hussey followed the pattern: change gears, turn a single into a two here, nudge a four there, and while you are looking at Vijay's three sixes off Ishant Sharma Hussey has quietly reached 14 from 11.

Vijay fell, but Hussey kept on doing what he does: run hard, drive supremely, go deep in the crease and bend his knees to manufacture his own length and play the shovel pull. Along the way he reclaimed the Orange Cap. By the time he fell, having scored at a strike-rate of 160, you had even forgotten the game had begun with a maiden. Quite possibly because Hussey had played out that maiden.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by starincricket on (May 10, 2013, 9:46 GMT)

Hussey is truely Mr.Cricket.. the way he is on-field and off-field and building the innings at top.. and the more conisistent he brings .. ll leave the down the order to play freely... Hats off Hussey.. keep doing the good work.. we loves to c u more years on the field.. all the best...

Posted by rakesh_vedika on (May 10, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

Hussay is indeed the first pillar of CSK's success just like Hyden was in previous IPLs.. Now chennai can also play faf given that they have already qualified.. faf,Hussay,Raina,Badri,dhoni,Bravo,Jadeja,Morkel,Aswin,Mohit should be there first Ten..with eleventh spot going to any Indian fast bowler.. CSK has bought a lot of Domestic fast bowlers this season.. This team will further increase their batting strengh at the top without depleting their bowling attack..

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (May 10, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

Hussey should keep playing for big bash and other Australian domestic cricket to keep match fit so that he can play for CSK for another 3-4 years.

Posted by   on (May 10, 2013, 2:01 GMT)

Unique achievement for CSK - CSK table toppers on the Points Table & Fair Play Award along Hussey with the Orange cap and Bravo purple at any one given time. Well deserved too.

Posted by Siva_Bala75 on (May 10, 2013, 1:25 GMT)

Culturally CSK is very different. hussey fits in very well in this. CSK's strength is to have non flashy but high performers. You hardly see their management talking much; the owners are also so low key.

Posted by Tootaa on (May 9, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

Two great batsmen for sure

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

all I can say is that if a strokemaker or hard hitter whatever the correct word plays sensible initially then they can score quick runs later in the innings if the pitch does not get slower. Players like Gayle, Sehwag, Brandon Mc Cullum, etc feel the pace of pitch and then go for big shots then they will do miracles. Hussey is player who will initially take singles and then started hitting big shots. Sometimes he hits big one from starting also. Whatever Sunrisers Hyderabad depends too much on few individuals and if they fail then it is over. In bowling Ishant Sharma, Karan Sharma and Amit Mishra. All these bowlers were hit all round the park by Raina. Anyhow have to see how SRH will do in coming matches. CSK is already qualified for play offs. So this win might not have made much difference to them.

Posted by Micky.Panda on (May 9, 2013, 18:32 GMT)

It impresses me when players play for the team and try hard to maintain that high run rate. Too many matches were lost when Kallis or even Tendulkar made a big score, because they refuse to step up the pace for the good of team. That meant that while they were magnificent test players, they were greatly over rated at T20. Gayle and Hussey are the ones who deserve the plaudits as score with great pace for the team or get out trying to.

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (May 9, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

Fitting tribute to a perfect gentleman. CSK's senior leadership of Fleming, MSD, and Hussey reflect the spirit and culture of the team and conduct themselves with such poise and dignity. Huss, lets go win IPL6. Cheers.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 10:56 GMT)

A lot of CSK's success can be attributed to the unassuming team and calm nature of all players in the team. Yes, they do have Raina and jadeja who get a bit excited, but I guess as a team, CSK enjoys the game more than any other team!!!

Posted by TRAM on (May 9, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

This only proves that opening batsmen have the big advantage in T20 to take as much as one full over to study the pitch and get the eye in. The difference between other openers and these two (MHussey and Gayle) is that they are able to compensate and get to 160+ rate soon. Even MHussey has been doing that only in the last few matches. Earlier (stat of 2013 season and in the previous seasons) he was doing only 100-120 rate - which was hurting team. The way he is playing in the last several matches though is amazing.

Posted by Dhinucric on (May 9, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

Hussey is a great player. Good to see him make runs while some other seniors are struggling.

Posted by latecut_04 on (May 9, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

Hussey===CSK's answer to Rahul Dravid,Or should I say Aussie version of Rahul Dravid...Graceful,great,teamman,unassuming and ofcourse invaluable.Hope these two gentle giants face off in IPL finlas!!!any takers???

Posted by pinn on (May 9, 2013, 9:50 GMT)

It is more of a respect given to the ball rather than thinking on conceding the maiden. Even in the fastest 12 ball 50, Yuvi had few dot ball. Same with Gayle on 30 ball ton. As CSK fans we are more prepared for these (to see the slow starts) :-). Mr. Cricket hardly fails and he can always bounce back later as we saw yesterday.

On Vijay, give him sometime buddy. Once he starts going , he is a match winner by himself. Remember, similar stuff happened in last IPL, but he got clicked towards the play off.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

his energy levels are amazing , i mean sweating , dehydrated and even the red nose look ....nothing deters him . He is the best person to mentor CSK for the next 10 years if he ever deecides to give up cricket ..that is!!!

Posted by TRAM on (May 9, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

This only proves that opening batsmen have the big advantage in T20 to take as much as one full over to study the pitch and get the eye in. The difference between other openers and these two (MHussey and Gayle) is that they are able to compensate and get to 160+ rate soon. Even MHussey has been doing that only in the last few matches. Earlier (stat of 2013 season and in the previous seasons) he was doing only 100-120 rate - which was hurting team. The way he is playing in the last several matches though is amazing.

Posted by TheUltimateTruth on (May 9, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

The problem with Hussey going forward is that without match practice he won't be nearly as good. We have seen this happen to Hayden, Ganguly, Gilly, etc. I hope he plays tournaments around the world, not just the IPL, for a couple more years so he can continue to be good everywhere.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

It was a boring match,, not much of excitement,,, enough of fours and sixers,,

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

any time any kind of role.... Hussy is there... he is a legend.....

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

GRVJPR: He is just a good player? Puhlleaase! Have you seen his record be it in any format of the game? On top of that what makes him really admirable is the humility he shows! Not once do you see him complaining or whining.

So how is different is to come at #3 as compared to openers? All those players you have named with the exception of Rohit Sharma come in at #3. And by the way invariably, the openers get to face the best bowlers in the opposition.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

No words in the book about this great man

Posted by TheUltimateTruth on (May 9, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

The gushing adoration for Hussey, especially among CSK and Aus fans, is understandable. He is Mr. Cricket because, in addition to his talent, he is sincere in every job he does (or did) for both teams. I still remember a moment from the IPL 2010 final -- and I am not referring to any great play he made -- he was not even in the eleven (Hayden, Albie, Murali, and Bollinger were playing). When Tendulkar was out caught in the deep by Vijay you can see Huss in the background watching that anxiously, the jubilation in his face when the catch is taken, and finally reaching for a towel to go run and help his teammates on the field. Very few players of his intnl standing would go do that.

Posted by nobinbhaskaran on (May 9, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

But remember this Mr Monga, these dot balls doesn't create pressure during the first six overs.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

I seriously don't know why he had retired...yes, It's good to retire at your peak but seriously, with ashes ahead, Hussy should reconsider his decision

Posted by PrasPunter on (May 9, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

Huss, please for God's sake, please, have a change of heart and help us through the Ashes to rise from the ashes. On my knees, Sir !!!

Posted by GRVJPR on (May 9, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

I don't rate this orange cap match since openers gets the best chance of having it as they get to play in powerplays and most number of overs. Rohit, DK, Raina, Kohli are the real stars.

Posted by GRVJPR on (May 9, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

He is a good player but this is too much over hyping really. This is a very old problem in india.

Posted by mjrvasu on (May 9, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Give him Indian citizenship and take him for the Champions League!

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

Mr. Cricket at his best :-)!

Posted by Sathya123 on (May 9, 2013, 6:23 GMT)

mr.cricket is always great....... he is dominating in all the aspects of the game. good to have in chennai.

Posted by acsekhar_2005 on (May 9, 2013, 6:20 GMT)

Mr Cricket has chosen to retire from Test cricket when he was arguably Australia's most valuable batsman after Pup. His work ethics, commitment and enthusiasm for the game seems to be at still the same high levels. He's a great inspiration for several cricketers of this age across different countries. CSK's master stroke in getting Huss and retaining him has helped several of the upcoming Indian batsmen like Vijat, Raina to learn value of putting a steep price on his wicket, his commitment....the list can go on. Salute you Mr Cricket!!

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Mr.Cricket, Mr.Perfect, Mr.Consistent..... Role Model for Younger Generation!

Posted by JBSA on (May 9, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

I wouldn't say CSK is lucky to have Hussey, but will say they are intelligent and strategic enough to get Hussey. The Only team to now his value. Hussey despite his late arrival time and again proven what he is capable of. Make him play in the Pacy pitches, Slow Pitches, Rank Turners, Seaming Pitches or even damp pitches. Bowl him fuller, Good length or Short. Be it Raw Pace, Swingers, Seamers or Spinners. But this man will emerge victorious. He dont have Gayle's Power or Dhoni's Stamina. But no one adapts as good as him. The way he smashed Ajmal is still in the eyes. I hope he serves one more year to CSK and continues as a batting consultant/coach in future. Flem and MSD along with Hussey will be great to CSK.

Posted by deathstar01 on (May 9, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

Hussey may be last batsmen of his kind in the game of cricket in near future. Respect.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

Quite a few people have posted about Huss. I actually live in Australia and that too in perth where he actually lives. Even on normal day when you bump into him when he is out shopping with his amily he is such an unassuming character. All the Indian players may be should emulate that quality from him. He is a phenomenol cricketer. Whilst Ponting is a great batsman in his own right, CA was un fair in not picking him early. Again, the middle order slot so much of talent - Mark Waugh, Damien martin etc. where they could not fit him in. Nevertheless, i am extremely happy that he is playing for Chennai Super Kings - My Indian home team where I come from. CSK youngsters are indeed the most luckiest to be playing with him - in particular, Vijay and Raina who have openely declared that Hussey is their cricketing role model. If virat Kohli wants to be India captain he must a look to Dhoni for his composure and Hussey for the demeanour. Huss - You are a legend Mate!!

Posted by Paulk on (May 9, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

One of my favorite batsmen not just for his amazing batting in all formats but also for the way he carries himself at all times. I have never heard anything less than complimentary words spoken of him. Good call by KanAloshFozter about AB DeVilliers being the only other batsman who slots in seamlessly across all 3 formats and by Deepak Langer re' Dale Steyn - he has extracted maidens from both of the leading run-getters this season.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Me.cricket. you deserve the fan's favorite award rather than gayle and steyn!!!

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 4:48 GMT)

Hussey=Committment.Equation is Simple No?

Posted by vswami on (May 9, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

CSK is not lucky to have Hussey .. they made a smart pick ( for 400K, I think ) when other franchises hardly bid for him. Similarly Bravo at his base price. No franchise would pay much for Badri for sure. CSK has consistently gone in for players of a certain character and discipline to build a team shunning prima donnas and latest flash in the pans, unlike say Mumbai Indians. Players like Hussey would also prefer to play for a team that values long term class over short term form.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

Wonderful to have you Huss Master, as danny boy would call you! CSK fans salute you!!

Posted by ramli on (May 9, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

M. Hussey ... dependable to the core ... not fussy ... always willing to give space to everyone who wish to shine ... work ethic is splendid ... fitness remarkable ... what else CSK needs ... just IPL-6 trophy ... go for it

Posted by cute_indian_kiwi on (May 9, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

Mr. Hussey's cricket is always a treat to watch. His stylish batting, focused fielding adds a great inspiration to the whole team. There is a lot to learn from this calm and composed person. Hats off Mr. Cricket - Thank you so much for being a great ambassador of this game. Chennai loves you a lot!

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

If Hussey can play like this after retirement , imagine what his overall performance would have been if he had been given the Baggy green cap when he was in his early twenties . Players of CSK should be thankful that they are playing alongwith a legend that Hussey is ,for they not only learn skills, ability to perform under pressure , manners ,commitment to the cause and several good things . I am sure he is even better than our own great Tendulkar , because there are several qualities of Hussey that Tendulkar does not possess . Hussey has sent a subtle message to CA ,which if they realise will regret their decision to delay into international cricket . HATS OF TO YOU HUSSEY .

Posted by YogifromNY on (May 9, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

Great article on a fantastic player. Thanks, Sid!

Posted by sweetspot on (May 9, 2013, 3:39 GMT)

Australia's loss, CSK's gain? Hardly. This man is very, very special and CSK made one hell of a pick, and Australia must sorely miss him. The test series could have read differently if Mr. Cricket had still been part of that team that went down 0-4. CSK's young lot are the luckiest though, watching and playing with someone they can actually emulate, unlike Chris Gayle, who, while magnificent in his own way, is not possible to learn much from.

CSK have Faf DuPlessis waiting in the wings to take over from Hussey, and he's another superb and complete player, but even he must be quietly absorbing things from the senior. What's incredible is the fitness level to go with the rest of what makes Hussey such a special cricketer.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 3:38 GMT)

Unbelievable player...wat an inspirational guy in CSK team.....every player of CSK who walks into collect the Man of d Match award mentions abt his support & guidance.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (May 9, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

Hussey & Gayle have both given up maidens against Steyn. Clearly smart cricketers. Steyn with the new ball, on a fresh strip, is not the bowler to try to heave around the park. Smart players get that!

Hussey is Aus cricket's greatest loss. He looks good for a few more years yet! Pits to see him out of International cricket. Always a treat to watch!

Posted by stalefresh on (May 9, 2013, 3:32 GMT)

There are 2 things for sure: a) He is the best IPL batsmen - even better than Gayle. b) If IPL was not around he would be playing the next 10 ashes test matches.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 3:08 GMT)

Shows how good DALE STEYN is...

Posted by Jan on (May 9, 2013, 3:08 GMT)

Sid, this article just inspires me to be more of a Hussey fan!

Its always a treat to watch Hussey, Steyn and Gayle. They have weaved magic in all formats. Australia will definitely miss Hussey with twin Ashes on the way.

Posted by KanAloshFozter on (May 9, 2013, 2:11 GMT)

This guy is sensational. Too bad we can't see him in international stage. Only one more player can play like him in all 3 formats. Ab.

Posted by skWeb on (May 9, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

What a gem of a cricketer. Humble,hard working,friendly,cool head, mentor,...no wonder he is Mr.Cricket. CSK is very lucky to have him. Right team for the right person. Compliment each other well.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2013, 0:17 GMT)

That is why he is Mr.Cricket. A perfect "go to" man for any captain. Add his fielding and bowling abilities. There cannot be a perfect man for a side

Posted by   on (May 8, 2013, 22:39 GMT)

Truely he is the Mr.Cricket bwithout doubt,, a class act that's our huss

Posted by Abitha on (May 8, 2013, 21:29 GMT)

I wish Hussey allows more 1st over Maidens in the next few games till the final Reason The Cup is going to be there in Chennai This IPL shows more charecter of veterans than youngsters From Sachin, Dravid, Hussey, Giliie, Murali, Shane Warne (in the previous Editions) Even Murali Karthik is bowling better Youngsters like Rahane, Raina Dhiwan should follow their style and try to emulate Kashinath

Posted by   on (May 8, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

this man hussey is wonderful to watch what a cricketer any format of game he plays with passion and determination young guys from csk has to learn a lot of things from him and one day they can be one like hussey,

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