Mike Hussey – A retired international cricketer. Really?

How much does Mike Hussey mean to the sides he plays for? Is there any role as a batsman that he can’t play, any format where he is a misfit? No wonder he is Mr. Cricket. Yet again, we witnessed another special knock from this man as Chennai Super Kings beat the Kolkata Knightriders to move to the top of the table. Hussey should not have retired from international cricket so early. Post Ricky Ponting, if there was any man who could have seen Australia through this transition was this man. His presence would have been the key for Australia’s chances in the Ashes. Unlike Shane Watson or Chris Gayle or Virender Sehwag, Hussey doesn’t go berserk and doesn’t dominate, but yet scores at a brisk pace. His knock of 95 on Sunday was another example of playing smartly, taking calculative risks. He played with the bowlers’ mind and how often we have seen him emerge victorious. Added to his contribution with the bat, it’s his fielding that makes him special. It’s not just the runs he saves but also the half chances that he converts. Manvinder Bisla who was batting beautifully was run out at the most crucial juncture of the game, thanks to the Hussey direct hit. It was the best way of saying,

‘No mate, I’m not letting you snatch my man of the match.’

Honestly, if I have to pick the most balanced and the best performing side, I would go with Chennai Super Kings. Led by a calm and confident M S Dhoni, the Chennai side knows how to handle pressure by not putting themselves under too much pressure. What I like about the side is they play their cricket hard, they have a fanatic support, they know to win but yet they don’t treat a defeat as the end of the world. Another player who has really impressed me this season is the South African all-rounder Chris Morris, who has now snatched Albie Morkel’s place in the side. With 19 required of the last over, and with Eoin Morgan and Yusuf Pathan at the crease, Morris bowled a brilliant last over to ensure Super Kings the top of the table position. It feels really good when you write about something and that happens. In my earlier columns I had written about Wriddhiman Saha and Brendon McCullum, and why they should play for their respective sides. And that’s what happened in this game. While McCullum couldn’t make use of the opportunity, Saha was sensational against his ex side. He batted brilliantly and would be proud of the 103 runs opening partnership that he put with Hussey. I rate Saha very highly, and it’s a pity that the best wicketkeeper of India is a fringe player in the side. With Dhoni around, it’s evident that Saha plays for the wrong side, but having made use of the opportunity, I hope to see him get more games this season. However it doesn’t look likely that we would see him behind the stumps. Kolkata produced a brilliant chase, and it seemed we might a see a replay of the previous years final between both these teams at the same venue. Bisla was outstanding again. Jacques Kallis had an off game, and had he scored at a better rate, we might have seen KKR chasing down 201. Good signs for KKR but hope it isn’t too late in the tournament. Things look bleak for them, they lost a few easy games and close ones earlier, and that might just haunt them at the end. Brief Scores CSK 200 for 3 in 20 overs [W Saha 39(23), M Hussey 95(59), S Raina 44(25)] beat KKR 186 for 4 in 20 overs [M Bisla 92(61), E Morgan 32(22)*, M Sharma 4-0-23-1] by 14 runs