Michael Gwyl Bevan
May 08, 1970, Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory
Left hand Bat
Left arm Wrist spin
Regularly dubbed the world's best limited-overs batsman, Michael Bevan continued his prolific ways when his international career closed at the end of the 2003-04 season. An essential part of the one-day outfit for a decade, especially when orchestrating calm chases in crises that often ended in last-over or last-ball heroics, he was cut from the contract list with two World Cup wins and kitbags full of highlights. He will long be remembered for his pair of sensational innings against West Indies at Sydney in 1996 and New Zealand at Melbourne in 2002, when nerveless batting and juggling of the tail secured nail-biting victories. Picking the gaps, running hard and knowing the right moment - and place - to hit a boundary were the hallmarks of his success. He was also a fine fieldsman and his left-arm wrist spin, which swung from erratic to more than useful, added to his lure and allowed him to play Tests as a batting allrounder.
Bevan enjoyed a promising start to his Test career with 82 in his debut innings and another two half-centuries in his first series against Pakistan in 1994-95, but he managed only a stop-start four-year campaign and was hindered by an inability to play the short ball at the highest level, which was strange as he had few problems with it in Australian or English domestic cricket. He never made a century, although he was twice unbeaten in the 80s when batting down the order and running out of partners against West Indies, who he upset with 15 wickets in the 1997-98 series. After that his Test career slid, but while he lost his baggy green he worked on making unforgettable memories in the green and gold one-day uniform, finishing with 232 appearances and a phenomenal average of 53.58 that was boosted by six centuries, 46 fifties and 67 not outs.
Born in Canberra, Bevan made his first-class debut in 1989-90 in South Australian colours, hitting a thrilling century in his first innings, before the completion of a 12-month stint at the Academy led to a move back to New South Wales. It was in Sydney that he began to make his greatest strides as a player, quickly assuming a regular middle-order berth in the strongest state team in the country and, aside from a poor run in 1992-93 which resulted in a brief omission, using it as a launching pad to the national team. Shortly after being cut by the Australian selectors - Trevor Hohns said his "contribution to the one-day side had decreased" - he signed a two-year deal with Tasmania and proved his days of domination were not finished when he struck a domestic record 1464 runs in the Pura Cup, including eight centuries. He was named the Pura Cup Player of the Year and his Bradmanesque scoring achieved an average of 97.60, but there was no return to the international arena and no sign of him being included for the 2007 World Cup. After a disrupted summer following a knee operation, he made brief appearances for Tasmania in 2005-06 and 2006-07. However, his body was struggling - he also suffered hip and heel problems in his last three years - and he retired in January 2007.
Cricinfo staff July 2007
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