There are few cricketers whose words inspire and invite an ear. Michael Hussey is one such. The recently-retired Australian batsman is in Chennai, preparing for the Indian Premier League, which begins on April 3.
"I absolutely love it in Chennai," said Hussey, in an exclusive chat with The Hindu. "I want to be a part of Chennai Super Kings as a player or in whatever role for the next two or three years at least." Music to the ears of CSK fans!
It would be a folly to undermine the ability of Hussey's caliber in the Twenty20 format. His match-winning 24-ball knock of 60 against Pakistan in the semifinals of the 2010 World Twenty20 stands out as among the best.
In Chennai, Hussey couldn't help but ponder upon the absence of Sri Lankan players in matches played at his home ground. "It's a shame. The Sri Lankan players have nothing to do with what happened or not. The Sri Lankan players, like the others, just love playing the game. CSK itself will be without Nuwan Kulasekara, who I believe, is an extremely useful bowler in these conditions."
Hussey, off course, played his last international match ever against the Lankans at the SCG Test earlier this year. The retirement came as a bit of a shock, and Indian fans missed seeing Mr. Cricket in the recent home series against Australia.
"When the ball turns and you are new to the conditions in India, you do not know which delivery has your name on it. That is why you need to kick on after starts. I must say I was disappointed by some of the shot selection by the Aussie batsmen. It was hard for me to watch the Australian team beaten in this fashion," he said of the 4-0 drubbing.
Hussey was all praise for the captaincy of his namesake, Clarke. "Michael Clarke is clear about what he wants and the direction in which he wants to take his team. This is important for a leader. But, filling the shoes of a giant like Ricky Ponting is never going to be easy."
Hussey is a out-and-out team man and shares a great camaraderie with his CSK teammates. "I had told them (Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin and Vijay) I wanted them to do well personally but Australia to win the Test series. But, the Australians lost every match!
"I think Dhoni's double hundred was a series-defining innings when the first Test was in the balance."
Well, from April 3 Hussey and Dhoni will pad up side-by-side as Chennai Super Kings look to reclaim the IPL crown they have won twice before.