CSK batting coach Michael Hussey is hopeful of the IPL taking place this year, even if the tournament is a curtailed one © BCCI
In a chat with TOI, former Australia batsman Michael Hussey, who is also the batting coach of Chennai Super Kings, talks about whether cricket can be played behind closed doors, what still makes MS Dhoni tick and how he is against the usage of artificial substance to polish the ball. Excerpts:
How has life been for you under lockdown in Perth?
It has been an interesting time. But in some ways, it has been nice to slow down, spend time at home with family. We have been allowed to go outside to exercise and for essential shopping. Other than that, we have been encouraged to stay home.
The lockdown has not only suspended all sporting events but there is uncertainty over future tournaments too. Under the circumstances, what are the challenges for Cricket Australia to host the T20 World Cup in October-November this year?
I guess that is the unknown. We don’t know how long this will last, how quickly a vaccine can be found and when the Australian government will open up the borders again. I am still hopeful for the T20 World Cup but there is plenty of uncertainty at the moment. I am sure CA is looking at all contingencies. In fact, looking from CA’s (struggling) financial perspective, the board will definitely hope that the World Cup can go ahead and be very keen to host the series against India this year.
There are suggestions that the T20 World Cup and various other tournaments and series in the immediate future might be held behind closed doors. Do you endorse this idea?
I would always prefer fans to be there at the game. But if it isn’t safe, the next best thing to do is host the matches behind closed doors and fans can watch them on TV or online. However, it also needs to be safe for the players as well from each country to travel, train and play.
There is also this idea that the Australia might swap this year’s T20 World Cup with India, who are the hosts next year…
I haven’t heard any of these rumours. But I would like to think that India would be facing similar challenges to Australia’s during this pandemic with regards to international travel, quarantining people, social distancing, etc.
The ICC’s medical committee has recommended the use of artificial substances to polish the ball instead of saliva when cricket is resumed. Do you think it would give undue advantage to the bowlers?
It sounds a little dodgy to me. I don’t like the thought of artificial substances being put on the ball. I hope there aren’t many changes being made to the game and things will fall in place again in the long run. The first season may look a little different but I am hopeful we will get through all this and get back to doing what we love.
Under normal circumstances, the IPL season would have been in full swing now. How has life been without IPL?
I love IPL and miss it dearly. I hope that the tournament in some way, shape or form can go ahead at some stage even if it is a curtailed one.
Being the batting coach of CSK, how do you see the MS Dhoni situation unfolding? He is 38 and hasn’t played in any format of the game since last year’s World Cup. Do you still see an international future for him?
MSD is a seasoned and hardened professional. He knows what he needs to do to get ready physically and mentally for a tournament. He was putting in a lot of hard work in the lead up to the IPL. I am sure it won’t take him too long to get to the level he needs to play well and contribute. If he still wants to play international cricket and the selectors want him in the team, then, of course, there is a future for MSD in the Indian team.
What makes Dhoni tick?
MSD is the best I have seen in terms of finishing capabilities. It is because he has a calculative mind and plays smart cricket. He also has incredible power. AB de Villiers is also up there with the best of the lot but MSD’s finishing skills are at another level.