Hussey told nobody about his decision in order to keep hold of his spot in the Test team
Australia batsman Michael Hussey had revealed that he did not notify anyone of his plans to retire from international cricket until a week before playing his last Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground since he feared that he would have been dropped from the squad.
The whole nation was shocked to hear about the retirement of Hussey, who had stood as the national team’s unmovable colossus for numerous years, but the veteran batsman kept his decision to hang up the gloves secret as he wanted to continue playing until the moment for his departure had truly arrived.
“Partly why I didn’t want to say anything to anyone was that I cherished every Test match I got to play and I really wanted to finish the Australian summer,” Hussey said. “If I made it known earlier then perhaps they would start looking ahead earlier and not play me in my last couple of Tests. That was a small selfish part of it that I really wanted to finish when I wanted to finish. I didn’t want them to say ‘you’re going to retire, we’ll blood someone else’.
“Most of it though was making sure I was 100% sure about the decision. I wanted to make sure in myself, I wanted to see how I felt through the Australian summer, and my feelings certainly didn’t change. When I started looking ahead to what was coming up I knew I was going to find it really tough.”
Despite being witness to Australia’s humiliating 4-0 whitewash at the hands of India recently, Hussey believes that the team culture and goal to give their best in every match has not changed ever since he stepped foot into the realm of international cricket.
“The thing about that team is it didn’t really change much for probably a 10-year period, so they got to know each other extremely well, like brothers,” Hussey said. “The environment now will get back to that I’m sure, but it just takes time.
“There’s been so much change and upheaval in Australian cricket over the last year or so, changing of coaches and selectors, players have come out of the team and new players have come in. So you’ve got to expect it will take time for trust to build up, friendships to build, the hard times, the good times together, it all builds the culture over a period of time.”
Recalling the moment he thought his Test career was over, Hussey was made to represent his Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, the Chennai Super Kings, in the 2010 Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), after which he only had two days to prepare for a Test series against India.
Cricket Australia were adamant that he return to India at once to begin preparations for the Test series, but Hussey defied their orders and fought tooth and nail to remain in South Africa to represent the franchise he had pledged allegiance to.
“I was really disappointed, because I was desperate to get there,” he said. “My understanding was that the Test tour starts when the team flies out of Australia, and they weren’t allowing me to leave South Africa where the Champions League was, until literally a couple of days before the Test.
“India’s a tough place to play at the best of times, and if you don’t have very good preparation going into it, you’re not going to perform well, and I think looking back it was close to costing me my career. I came back into the Australian summer where again I felt under enormous pressure if I didn’t start the summer well I could’ve been out of the team.
“I had one Shield game in Adelaide where I got 0 and 1, and in Melbourne I got a duck in the first innings and thankfully managed to get some runs in the second innings. If that had been the end, and one of the reasons why I was left out, because I wasn’t able to prepare properly, I would’ve been one pretty dirty because I couldn’t give my best to the team, but angry that it would’ve cost me my career.”
Talking about India being a “tough place to play”, Hussey’s presence in the Test squad, along with that of former captain Ricky Ponting, would have been sorely missed as the middle order batsman possessed the god-given talent of impeccable footwork and the skill to play against spin, which would have proved to be most useful for the national team this time round as all their batsmen, except skipper Michael Clarke, succumbed to the pressures of India’s spinners.