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TWENTY20 cricket is fast and sweet but Test matches are the real deal!
Even after playing what he calls “probably his greatest innings” on Friday to put Australia in today’s World Twenty20 final against England at Kensington Oval, Test cricket’s former No.1-ranked batsman Michael Hussey says his first love will always be the traditional five-day game.
“I’ve always enjoyed 20-over cricket. I think it is fantastic for the crowds and bringing people into the game. It is a great way to introduce cricket to the younger generation,” Hussey said after his breath-taking 24-ball knock of 60, studded with six sixes and three fours, helped Australia beat Pakistan in a high-scoring semi-final at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
“It is a great way for young people to fall in love with the game but my first love is always Test cricket, first and foremost,” he said.
One to cherish
But the 34-year-old, who has played several crucial Test and One-Day International innings for Australia, reckons Friday’s knock will be one he will always cherish.
“I think that’s probably the best feeling I have ever had in my career. To do it in such a big game like the semi-final and get your team in the grand final,” he said.
Hussey said he has made the necessary adjustments to his game to be successful, batting at No. 7 in the Australian T20 side.
“I’m not the kind of batsman who can go in and clear the ropes from the first ball, so to start with, I was just trying to give the strike to Cameron (White),” he said.
“Then it came to the stage where every ball had to go and you just have to try. Even I wasn’t that confident we could do it. I was just trying to slog every ball for six. I knew he would try to spear a few yorkers in – and if he’d done that, I’d have been in trouble. But he just missed his length.
“It was all a bit of a blur and with the last ball I just wanted to hit it out of the middle. I’m so happy and it’s great to see the elation on the boys’ faces. It was an amazing feeling,” Hussey said as he recapped the dramatic final over.
He acknowledged he had doubts whether Australia would win when Pakistan were amassing their challenging total of 191 for six.
“I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be our day – when balls kept lobbing over us in field. But before today (Friday) hitting the winning runs in the Adelaide Test against England was pretty special, but I think this tops it,” Hussey admits.
Hussey, who hit three sixes and a four in the final over when the Aussies needed 18 runs from off-spinner Saeed Ajmal’s final over, came in for praise from his captain Michael Clarke.
“With the talent and class in this team, you just can’t write us off. We have good depth in the batting and we showed that today,” said Clarke after the match.
“This was just a freakish performance from an unbelievable cricketer,” he said of Hussey’s heroics.
“I can believe it because of the guy sitting beside me,” said Clarke.“He and White had an amazing day. I honestly felt Pakistan scored 15 runs too many and when we lost a few wickets, it was always going to be hard to chase that total.
“Then I just couldn’t watch the last over after Mitchell got a single. I was in the dressing room and heard cheers so I knew it was a six, then another one and I thought: ‘What’s going on?’” Clarke revealed with a chuckle.