Michael Hussey played a crucial innings of 89 to help Australia set 292-run target against India in the first Test © Getty Images
Michael Hussey played a crucial innings of 89 to help Australia set 292-run target against India in the first Test © Getty Images

 

By David Green

 

The patient’s condition had been universally declared terminal, the last rites had been prepared and a queue of potential successors were jostling to be anointed. Then Michael Hussey went out and scored a century at Brisbane in the 1st Ashes Test last summer.

 

The eulogies were put on the shelf to gather dust, the coffin was sent back to the undertakers and the priest had an unexpected day off.

 

Hussey then continued to make a Lazarus-like recovery throughout the remainder of the Ashes and then on to Sri Lanka where he hit a remarkable 463 runs in just five innings as Australia gained some redemption in Michael Clarke‘s first series as skipper.

 

Then the condition inexplicably returned. Just 83 runs in four Tests against South Africa and New Zealand and then an undeserved golden duck on Boxing Day.

 

With Ed Cowan making an instant impression, Ricky Ponting punching successfully from the ropes and Shane Watson waiting in the wings to return, the last rites were once again being prepared to be read for the man they call “Mr Cricket.”

 

When Hussey walked out to the wicket at 27 for four to join Ponting we saw an undertaker measuring him up as he emerged onto the MCG pitch. But once again reports of his death seem to have been greatly exaggerated.

 

Despite painful memories of 47 all out ringing in the ears of him and his countrymen, Hussey once again defied the doctors opinions and first with Ponting and then with the tail rolled back the years to produce his counter-attacking best. Hussey had defied the Grim Reaper.

 

Just like a particularly resilient cockroach, Hussey doesn’t do death easily.

 

(David Green is the brain behind the irreverent The Reverse Sweep blog and also writes for a number of cricket publications and sites such as World Cricket Watch. You can follow him on Twitter also @TheReverseSweep. David was a decent schoolboy and club cricketer (and scored his maiden 100 the same week that Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test ton) but not good enough to fulfill his childhood dream of emulating Douglas Jardine by winning the Ashes in Australia and annoying the locals into the bargain. He now lives with his wife and two young children in the South of France and will one day write the definitive biography of Hedley Verity)