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Michael Hussey - Mike's Corner

It was the finest Sachin’s innings that I’ve seen, says Hussey

Sunday, November 08, 2021
‘Sachin was phenomenal’

What a game it was in Hyderabad, right down to the wire and with no way to know which way it would go until the very last minute. It took a lot out of us physically and mentally and I can feel the exhaustion even the next morning. But the fact that we won did help in tide over most of the discomfort for there’s no feeling that’s better than the one that comes from winning a close game.

This series has had everything going for it. The Indians have done well, we have done well and the lead has gone from one side to another. I guess we can’t ask for more.

What we would like to have less of is that man Sachin Tendulkar. Till he was at the crease, I was personally quite worried. He was phenomenal and while this must have been one of his many great innings, for me this was his best live knock that I have come across.

People may be wondering if we spend a lot of time discussing Tendulkar in team meetings prior to a game but the fact is that we don’t. That is left to the bowlers and the bowling coach to handle. Normally, even before a series begins they sit down together and chart out plans for each opposition batsman and have Plan A, B and C ready. In this series, they may have had to come up with Plan D and E though, going by how our bowling personnel have changed with each match.

Of course, you can do all the planning you want but it always boils down to the execution. And while we knew that a lot of our regular bowlers were missing, we were also aware that all the guys available or had flown in as replacements were proud to be able to play for Australia. Such performances show that they are all very keen to get a chance and that when they do will get the full support of the captain and coach. They also know now that if they do their best, they can come out on top regardless of the conditions.

When we set out to bat, we didn’t exactly plan to cover up for any bowling weaknesses we may have had. That’s not how we go about it. What we do is have our openers spend some time at the crease studying the pitch and conditions and relay the feedback to us. Communication is a key part of our plans and on Thursday, the message we got was that the pitch was a batting beauty and that the target will thus have to be big.

We now move on a day game, one with a very early start. It will be difficult to wake up that early but the thought that a win in Guwahati will give us the series will be a highly motivating factor.

With all the traveling and the distances we are covering, as also the time we need to devote to recovery after each game, we haven’t really had time to party. It’s not that we Aussies have forgotten to party but it’s just we pick our time better. I can assure one and all that should we win the series, we will let our hair down. Until then we’ll concentrate on the job at hand.