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He flew from the West Indies after a Test series victory and landed in India in the morning. In the evening, he was out there opening the batting for the Chennai Super Kings in the sapping heat of Chennai. He got a start before being run-out. After the game, he spent around 30 minutes in an ice bath. He was asked to do a post-match interview with iplt20.com, and he obliged with a smile. That’s Michael Hussey for you – dedicated, humble and absolutely honest with his commitments on and off the field.
No wonder then, at the toss of the match between CSK and the Kolkata Knight Riders, MS Dhoni said, “Hussey's presence improves the attitude [within the team]”.
In his chat with the official IPL website, Hussey admitted not being at his best with the bat and vouched to work hard in the coming days and help CSK make it to the playoffs. You are not used to joining a losing side. How was it getting into the squad?
I was just excited to get here and see the team again. I had not seen the boys for a long time, so it was good to see them and say hello. I am little disappointed as we couldn’t win tonight, but we will keep working hard, and hopefully, win the coming matches.
MS Dhoni said that your presence will bring in a positive attitude in the team. In what way do you do that?
I am not sure. I just want to try and keep it relaxed in the dressing room. I try to have a lot of fun and try to bring the personalities of the players out there. I just want to try and impress on the young players to work hard and play for the team.
Was it tough coming straight from the Test series in the Caribbean and playing here the same day?
It was very tough. I probably was not at my best today. I was quite tired and a bit jet lagged. It was great to be back out there with the boys. For the next few days, I will practice hard and get accustomed to the conditions quickly, and hopefully, play a bit more consistently in the next few games. You said you were not at your best today but still no bowler could get you out.
I ran myself out. It was a silly call and it was a crucial time in the game. We had built a crucial partnership and it was important for a couple of top-order guys to bat through the majority of the overs. It was a disappointing time to get out for the team.
Were you following CSK’s performance from the West Indies?
I have been following CSK closely from there. They are showing all the games on the TV and I have been keeping in touch with the boys through text messages. I have been keeping a close eye. Now since I am here, hopefully I can make some difference on the field.
Despite having such a strong batting line-up, what do you think is going wrong with the team in the batting department?
It’s a bit hard to make a judgment when you have just arrived. It’s very difficult to make an accurate assumption or assessment of what’s going on. I haven’t been here, so I haven’t seen the conditions and [heard] the talks in the dressing room. I will get a better idea in the next few days when we start practicing together and get a feel of the conditions. It’s a T20 game, so you need a little bit of luck. And if you look at [Gautam] Gambhir, he has been playing well, but he was lucky to escape a couple of run-outs and a couple of shots, which just escaped the fielders. You need that luck to get your confidence back.
Knowing that there are some fine stroke-makers down the order, do CSK batsmen, at times, tend to leave things for them?
I don’t think so. All the players in our team want to take the responsibilities and take the team into a good position. This is one thing we have talked about in the past in the dressing room. I don’t think that’s been happening.
An absolute team man, Naman Ojha of the Delhi Daredevils defied health concerns to join his team ahead of IPL 2012. The wicketkeeper-batsman has been flexible when it comes to his batting position and has adjusted his game to meet his team’s needs. He has also managed to put up an impressive performance so far.
Speaking to iplt20.com, Ojha revealed how he adapts to various situations, and works on his game and fitness.
Excerpts from his brief interaction:
On being unwell before joining DD, and how he is managing to stay fit
I was unwell. I had jaundice, so I was trying to [eat] less oily food and rest. Taking rest was important, because I had become very weak. So, I try and eat safe food.
I shouldn’t have really played, but still I took a risk and played, and it paid off. I performed well and now also I ensure that I eat the right kind of food and rest properly.
On adapting to the various forms of cricket
The four-day format is very important. If you do well there, then you can adapt to any format. Twenty20 cricket seems easy, but it is not; it is difficult. You have to remain focused and not get too excited and control your shots. On how he mentally trains for that
We have a yoga teacher who teaches us techniques of yoga and that helps
On who has been working with for his wicketkeeping
Kiran More sir coaches me for my keeping. I go to him and learn. He guides me. And I continue to work hard on the ground, and that is helping me improve. I am confident that I am doing the best keeping this season.
On which international wicketkeeper he tries to emulate
All the keepers in international cricket are good. There is MS Dhoni; Mathew Wade from Australia is also good.
[But] I haven’t spoken to Dhoni about keeping in particular. On how he adjusts to batting lower down the order after being an opener
It is a little difficult, but according to the team’s requirement you have to play [wherever required]. Try to perform well wherever I get the opportunity. It is different to bat up the order and lower down the order. When you are batting up the order, you can take some time [...] but when you are playing lower down the order you don’t have time; you have to play the shots, so it is a little challenging. So, it is important that you have to back yourself On what he has learnt from DD teammate, Mahela Jayawardene
Batting is always the same; it is the attitude that he has, which is very important. He plays all matches with the same intensity, whether it [is] for Sri Lanka or a Twenty20 match for DD. And he contributes the same things in the same way in the team meeting. I think that is important. These are the things that you have to learn. Otherwise in cricket, after a point, there isn’t anything that different. It is the mental strength and attitude that is important. […]