Michael Hussey retired from international cricket in 2013 but his passion for the game remains undimmed. Even at 40 he continues to captain Sydney Thunder, which has reached the semifinals of the Big Bash League, with the same enthusiasm. He is Thunder’s highest scorer this ongoing season, with three half-centuries and an average of 55.4 after seven matches.
Hussey took his first steps towards what has all the signs of being a fruitful coaching career last year, when he worked as a batting consultant with South Africa during the World Cup and later the T20 series in India. He will now be working with Australia, also as consultant, during next month’s World T20.
During the third ODI of the VB Series at the MCG, Hussey shared his thoughts on a number of subjects, discussing his time with South Africa, M.S. Dhoni’s captaincy, and his future.
On the South African experience
I enjoyed learning about how different cultures go about their cricket. You just have to look at the dressing room. They’ve got different religions, colours, and languages there. There were Muslims, Christians, white people, black people, coloured people, and they’re very, very respectful to one another. In Australia we’re just starting to get a little bit of that. We’re seeing some Indians, and Usman Khawaja of Pakistani origin coming into the Australian team.
But they’re probably the first. We haven’t really experienced that in our country before. Coming from my background, I’ve never had to embrace different cultures. I found that really fascinating.
On a future in coaching
Possibly, yeah. I enjoy the coaching side of it. But what most people don’t understand is how much work, effort, time and energy goes into coaching a team. It’s not just turning up at the nets and having a net session. Hours and hours of work go into it. All the coaches out there deserve a lot more credit than what they’re given. I’m just at the start of that journey. I’m just trying to do little bits and pieces of coaching to try and build up some experience.
On the IPL
Well, I’m in the auction at this stage. I hope to get picked up. If not, I’ll be at home I guess, watching. I don’t know what the future holds.
I have a lot of friends and good relationships with the fans, the players and the administration at CSK. Obviously having spent so much time in Chennai; you do feel part of a family almost. It’s a shame that we’re out of the competition for a couple of years, but that’s the way it goes.
On M.S. Dhoni
The reason he’s been such a good captain is this... India is cricket-mad, the players are trying so hard and they want to do well too much. And sometimes, the harder you try, the worse you go. Then you put so much pressure on yourself. The fans and the media put so much pressure on the players.
He’s got this wonderful ability just to get the players to relax, try and take that pressure off them. Just go out there and play and enjoy playing the game of cricket: that’s what he impresses on the players all the time. It’s one of his greatest strengths, particularly in a place like India, where there is so much tension, stress, pressure, and attention on all the players.
On the questions over Dhoni’s place
He’s a very honest guy. If he feels he’s not the right man for the job or if he feels like he’s not contributing as much as he can, I’m confident that he’ll walk away from the job. But while he still feels he can contribute, I would back him 100% because he’s got the experience, the talent, and the cricket brain. He stepped aside from Test cricket when he felt like he could not contribute. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
On coming up the hard way
I don’t think any international player has had it easy; it’s never easy, but I know what you mean. I certainly never took my place for granted and I can empathize with guys that have struggled, because I’ve certainly struggled as well. And empathy as a coach is an important ingredient.