Former Australian batsman Michael Hussey will work with the Proteas during the World Cup – if newspaper reports on Tuesday are to be believed.
The reports reckoned that Proteas coach Russell Domingo was trying to secure the services of the former Australian batsman before the South African team departs for the tournament on Wednesday.
In reacting to the reports, the media officer for the Proteas, Lerato Malekutu, told SACricketmag.com ‘the management have been in talks with a few people. Nothing has been confirmed yet.’ She didn’t expand on who the other players might be, if Hussey declined the invitation.
It has been reported that Domingo would want Hussey to work with the Proteas ‘for anywhere between six and 14 days’ during the tournament.
Hussey scored 5 442 runs at an impressive average of 48.15 in 185 ODIs before retiring from international cricket three years ago – and has since been plying a lucrative trade for the Mumbai Indians and Sydney Thunder in the Indian Premier League and Big Bash League respectively.
‘From facing them, it is probably the best attack I have faced going around. The best ever is a pretty big call, they have had some amazing attacks with Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock in the same team. But certainly, statistically speaking, they are right up there. They complement each other quite well. Teams are going to have to play extremely well to get on top of them,’ Hussey said of South Africa in November 2012.
Here, we pinpoint five positives the veteran left-hander will bring to the South African squad.
1. World Cup experience
Hussey played in two editions of the ICC’s ODI showpiece. Part of a title-winning campaign in 2007 and a quarter-final exit in 2011, he managed a mere 156 runs in nine innings across both tournaments, but rolled with the proverbial punches like a consummate professional. Having faced staunch opposition in Pakistan and India and weak challenges from Scotland and Netherlands, ‘Mr Cricket’ will have a wealth of experience and insight to share.
2. Ability to adapt
Hussey was deployed up and down the batting order throughout a relatively successful career. Largely unfazed as an occasional opener and completely comfortable with positions five, six and seven, he adapted to the conditions and circumstance accordingly. Fellow left-hander Rilee Rossouw has followed a similar path to Hussey, having experienced the bulk of the slots in the top seven.
3. Being left-handed
South Africa’s batting order features as many as five left-handers. Hussey was particularly successful in combating off-spinners turnig the ball away from the bat – and left-arm seamers drifting the ball across. Rossouw, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Wayne Parnell and David Miller will learn a lot.
4. A bit of right-arm seam
Hussey, in fact, bowled plenty of overs of decent part-time across 185 ODIs – and more in Test match cricket. His nagging lines and length were reasonably economical on Australasian pitches. Farhaan Behardien and AB de Villiers, in the absence of the discarded Ryan McLaren, will do well to seek advice – if a squad arguably short of a genuine all-rounder or an additional specialist seamer is exposed.
5. The inside scoop
While South Africa have not been pooled with Australia, there is a good chance the tournament co-hosts will come knocking toward the business end of the tournament. Hussey played alongside several members of the current squad, including Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke, for a substantial period. When the time comes, Hussey will effectively be contractually obligated to turn the tables on his former team-mates.