Australian batsman Mike Hussey today announced he would retire at the end of the Australian summer from international cricket.
The 37 year old will be farewelled at the SCG for the 2013 New Year test, and will play the subsequent one-day series before bowing out from the Australian team.
Hussey didn’t make his test debut until November 2005 at the Gabba, age 30, against the West Indies. His century in just his second test at Hobart was just the beginning of a career that for a while had an average almost on par with Sir Donald Bradman.
Hussey came onto the international scene in the 50-over format against India in 2004. He scored 17* in his debut match. Before making his international debut, Hussey had accumulated more than 15,000 runs playing for Western Australia at state level.
His attitude towards the game was positive and his determination fierce to work hard right from the start, all the way through to the end, whether he be under the yellow helmet of Western Australia or the green of Australia. Hussey never gave up, even when his form dropped a couple of years ago. Many young kids and up and coming elite cricketers have idolised the way Hussey structures his game, including myself. As several new players have joined the ranks, Michael’s role as a mentor has become more and more valuable – his experience has been a model for others.
Nineteen test centuries and more than 6000 test runs has put the man known as ‘Mr. Cricket’ into the history books during his career. It was a huge joy to watch him when he batted, whether it be sitting somewhere at a stadium, in front of my TV, or even listening on the radio. I even remember watching him at the MCG playing for Western Australia in a domestic one-day game in 2002, well before he entered the Australian team.
While he debuted at international level late, Hussey lost none of his mojo from state level. He goes out on his own terms, after rediscovering the form that stamped his name into the Australian side in 2005.
While we can all applaud Mr. Cricket for his long list of achievements, his sudden retirement (which I honestly expected to happen after the 2013 Ashes series in England) has left a big batting hole in the Australian order ahead of the Indian and Ashes tours, after Ricky Ponting announced his retirement at the end of November.
There is a host of batsmen that can come into replace Hussey – Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Rob Quiney are just a few at the top of the list. Heading towards the Ashes, and Clarke (87) and Watson (38) being the only two batsmen with decent experience under their belts, the number one priority is to choose an order, in particular a top six, that can take it to the England bowling attack.
Who that will be I am not sure. However, on Hussey’s retirement, he called it when he thought the time was right. He has helped with a new generation of kids. Unfortunately, he leaves the Australian side at a time when they are going through a strong overhaul. He is going out on a high, and I completely respect that.
Forever, Mr. Cricket.