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Interview

Anand Subramaniam in Ranchi

Raina’s blitz lets me play my own game: Hussey

Mr. Cricket breaks down the secret behind his successful partnership with CSK teammate

The crowd that had thronged the JSCA stadium in Ranchi expecting a few fireworks from their local hero’s bat, had to be content with just one six over long-on when the game was well in control of the Men in Yellow. MS Dhoni was out two balls later and the deafening cheers were reduced to a dead silence.

Four balls later, CSK won the match beginning their CLT20 campaign on a positive note and the smiles and joys so familiar to the CSK dugout were back. Michael Hussey who scored a 26-ball 47, one of the architects of the big run-chase, was all smiles. “It is great to have a win in the first game. We are notoriously slow starters whether be it in the IPL or the Champions League T20 and to get a win in the first game is really pleasing,” Michael Hussey told clt20.com after the game.

On display was a typical Hussey knock with those gentle dabs and quick singles, proper cricketing shots, no rash hits with a calculated and meticulous approach to the target. Giving him company at the other end was Suresh Raina who scored as many runs as Hussey did, but got the run-chase going by taking the attack to the opposition and accelerating the scoring rate. Hussey was all praises for his partner. “When Raina plays such good shots at the other end, it takes the pressure off me and I can just relax and play my game. He is at his best when he has nothing in his mind and he is just watching the ball and backing his ability and when he hits a few in the middle, he gets his confidence up. I feel that is the key to his batting.”

The two left-handers have been a part of innumerable crucial partnerships in the past and on Sunday it was no different as they stitched together an 89-run partnership after opener Murali Vijay walked back to the pavilion without scoring a run. The plan for the duo according to Hussey was simple. “Raina and I played with a clear mind. We just wanted to see the ball clearly and just play our shots and if they come off, they come off. It was a good batting pitch. The ball was skidding on nicely and once you got in and got used to the pace, you could play your shots. We are glad it worked.”

The first game between the Brisbane Heat and T&T was a low-scoring affair, whereas the second game of the day was a run fest. According to Hussey, the dew in the evening made conditions difficult for the bowlers. “There was quite a bit of dew on the outfield and the ball got very wet and it was hard for the bowlers to control and grip. It also skidded nicely on to the bat. It was a very big total and I thought AB de Villiers batted amazingly well. We also gave ourselves a good chance of chasing it down if we got a good start.”

On a personal note, Hussey has been off cricket after the IPL, but the very first game after a hiatus, when he looks hardly out of touch, one could not help but ask if Mr.Cricket is ever out of form. “I have been out of touch plenty of times, but it was a nice batting pitch and it was good to get a few balls in the middle and hopefully we can improve as a team moving forward,” Hussey said.

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