The influence of a World Cup winning Australian did not rub off on South Africa at the tournament earlier this year, but they have not given up on Michael Hussey's magic yet. Hussey is back with the squad and will work with them during the three-match T20I series in India, with the focus on preparation for the World T20 in next year.
Hussey will work as a specialist batting consultant - South Africa's second as they also have former coach Gary Kirsten on a 50-day-a-year contract - and T20I captain Faf du Plessis hoped he will teach the newer members of the team about both temperament and technique.
"Mike is such a good guy from a coaching point of view. He has got a great batting mind so the young batters coming into the team, he's the best guy you can learn from," du Plessis said. "He does all the right things. He trains hard and fits in beautifully into our team. I think we are very lucky to have him in our side."
Du Plessis' praise suggested Hussey's involvement could extend beyond the India tour to the World T20, where South Africa will want the likes of Quinton de Kock and David Miller to fire. Both lacked runs recently, and de Kock was even dropped to the South Africa A side after a lean run in Bangladesh, though Miller, who last scored an international half-century 15 innings ago at the World Cup, survived. South Africa will hope the problems Miller had with his positioning at the crease have not. If they have, Hussey, also a left-hand batsman, may be able to help.
Similarly, Hussey could work with de Kock, who recovered from his rocky road by scoring three centuries for the A side on the tour of India, but may still need tightening up outside the offstump. South Africa's core of senior batsmen - du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy - will also look to feed off Hussey's knowledge, which has so far tried to instil in them the value of an all-round team performance.
Hussey was with the South Africa team in the build up to the match against India in the 2015 World Cup, and he emphasised the need for some of the lesser lights to shine in major tournaments. "To win World Cups, you need world class performers and you look down the list of the South African team, you've got AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, JP Duminy, Morne Morkel. You need those guys to fire and play well in World Cups and then that fires the other guys," Hussey said at the World Cup. "But quite often you need some unsung heroes as well.
"I look at the South Africa team and see a lot of those world class stars and there might be some unsung heroes like a David Miller or one of the other bowlers can come in and do a job as well."
South Africa's current T20 squad has the same blend of big names and bits-and-pieces players, who will have to start seeing themselves as part of the bigger picture. Farhaan Behardien has started to do that, fitting in at No.7, sharing the fifth bowler duties and working on his finishing abilities with the bat. Both the uncapped Khaya Zondo and allrounder Chris Morris will have to follow suit.
Zondo is likely to play some part in the series because of the absence of Rilee Rossouw, who is recovering from a stress fracture of the foot, and Morris should get a look in after David Wiese was ruled out of the series with a hand injury. South Africa's middle-order will need them to be solid if it is serious about competing for the World T20 and it won't take Hussey to tell them that.