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Anand Subramaniam in Kolkata 20 April 2013 - 11:16pm IST

Age is just a number

I just want to be involved in the game throughout, says Michael Hussey

Legendary American author, Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.”

That phrase fits aptly for an Australian who refuses to age and has a heart that still yearns for the game of cricket. Michael Hussey might have called it quits to international cricket, but if you see him bat or field in the IPL with that yellow jersey on, you will never get an impression that he is a cricketer, three years short of 40.

Always cheering up his team mates, fielding with a lot of agility and sprinting away between the wickets like a twenty year-old are quite some of the characteristics that are very synonymous with Mike Hussey. On Saturday night amidst a sea of purple at the Eden Gardens, Hussey laid a perfect platform for his side, scoring a patient 51 ball 40 in CSK’s run chase of 120.

The conditions were tough, scoring was difficult and it required someone with Hussey’s temperament to guide the chase successfully. In this exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, Hussey the veteran speaks about CSK’s successful run chase and Ravindra Jadeja

Below are excerpts from the interview.

Two run outs, a lot of catches; the fielding has to be one of the highlights of the game isn’t it?

Oh absolutely. Not just in this game, but I think the fielding standards across the whole competition have really improved over the last couple of years. This year in particular there seems to be a lot of great catches and good run outs. It has indeed got better.

Was there any pressure to chase a low score like 120?

I think there was pressure all the way through, because it was a difficult surface to bat on. It was almost a case of if you play properly, try and work the ones and twos, it can be very difficult to score; but if you try and tee off it might just work. But obviously you needed one person to try and bat through the innings and have the other guy try and hit around.

What was the thought behind R Ashwin opening the innings?

I think Ashwin’s role was to try and get us off to a quick start, look to take advantage of the first six overs and he had a license to tee off. He hit a couple of good boundaries and got us off to a good start. But, as it can happen in T20 cricket, you can get out anytime.

Considering low scores in this tournament have been defended successfully, what was your approach to the run chase?

I think the bowlers are becoming a lot smarter, so the scores over the whole competition have been a little bit lower than normal. Kolkata is always a tough place to play, the pitch is always slow and low with less bounce and we knew even 120 or 130 could be a defendable total here. They have showed that in the past defending low scores successfully, but thankfully for some late hitting from “Sir” Jadeja (smiles), he got us over the line again.

How does Ravindra Jadeja react to all the jokes being cracked around by his team mates?

Jadeja takes the humor in good stead. The secret to Jadeja’s success is that he is a great fun guy. He is good around the dressing room, feeling comfortable and has some good friends from the team. When you feel comfortable and relaxed off the field, it gives you a lot more chance to go out there and play your best cricket. Hopefully he can continue his form for the rest of the tournament.

How difficult is it to pick the KKR mystery spin twins (Narine and Senanayake)?

Look, you can pick both of them, but it is too difficult to play them. They are world class bowlers and they know where they are landing the ball and the surface is sort of helpful for them as well. It is very difficult to play them there and they have been a key to KKR’s success.

Did you feel the match could slip away when you were out in the 17th over?

I guess it was easier when I got out. I was struggling to hit the ball very far and thankfully Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo finished the job for us. We have got a lot of power hitters in our line-up and we always have it in the back of our mind that they could get us home.

How is it that Michael Hussey never seems to age?

(Laughs) I just enjoy the game; I want to be involved in the game throughout. I love the game and try to give it my best for the side I represent. I am not a big hitter like the others I guess, so I have to be able to run fast between the wickets to convert those ones into twos. The conditions out there (Eden Gardens) were quite pleasant, it wasn’t that hot; the outfield was beautiful and it was a pleasure to be playing out there. 

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