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  • Hussey hails Bushrangers’ last-to-first surge to claim shield

    2018 - 07.03

    HOBART: David Hussey says he and his Victoria teammates are proud to have completed the turnaround from finishing last in 2013-14 to claiming this season’s Sheffield Shield title.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Hussey eschewed his usual attacking style to soak up 169 deliveries, while making only 37, to help the Bushrangers survive the final 95 overs of the shield final and deny Western Australia the victory they needed in order to snare the shield.

    In what is likely to be a swansong to his career that now features four shield titles – but, to his lingering disappointment, no Test appearances – Hussey and captain Matthew Wade (9 not out off 99 deliveries) successfully thwarted the Warriors’ bowlers for the last 30 overs of the match for the Bushrangers to finish 4-158 in their second innings to end coach Greg Shipperd’s 11-year tenure with a shield victory.

    “The wicket was pretty docile, pretty flat, placid I guess. Probably more of a mental grind, as in you don’t want to let them get on a roll and get back-to-back wickets. They’re good bowlers and they always try hard. Any team led by Justin Langer [as coach] is going to go down to the wire, and we knew it was going to come down to the last hour . . . we were just hoping the Vics with our fighting spirit would always come out on top,” he said.

    “At the start of the day, ‘Wadey’ said ‘Remember the little old man (Shipperd) who’s probably going to finish up at the end of this year’, so that was the whole focus for getting through the day for him . . . [I was] lucky enough to be one of the not-out batsmen. Pretty fortunate.

    “He [Shipperd] has probably been down the last couple of weeks [after losing the Melbourne Stars and Bushrangers jobs] . . . but he’s a fighter. I still think he’s got a lot of good coaching left in him. He’s a great teacher of batting. He’s a very good friend of mine. If Cricket Victoria could find a role for him they’d be better off for it.”

    As Wade celebrated the victory, his first as captain, he proudly displayed a new tattoo on his right forearm depicting teammate and close friend Phillip Hughes, who died during the season.

    Victoria snared the title despite having to play their final four matches of the season, all due to be home matches, interstate because the MCG was unavailable the Junction Oval is yet to be refurbished. Hussey, however, said the significance of that was trumped by their rise from last in the preceding season.

    “We just mentioned that [in the dressing room] . . . we came from the proverbial to the penthouse. I think that speaks volumes in the players group, our attitude and how we wanted to improve and actually put Victorian cricket back where it belongs,” he said. “We’re back on top at the moment which is good and we’ve got to stay there for many years to come.”

    Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed played a key role in the Bushrangers’ triumph, finishing well atop the shield wicket tally with 48 and claiming a record 8-89 in the first innings of the final. Hussey also played tribute to paceman Peter Siddle, who early on day two claimed the key wicket for Adam Voges, for claiming 28 wickets at 20.25 in a season in which he overcame the disappointment of losing his first-choice status in the Test team.

    “Fantastic. Team of the year, I think he got 25-30 wickets. He probably won us the game single-handedly at Glenelg,” he said. “He’s been that extra bowler we missed or lacked last year and he’s fantastic competitor and believe he’s still got two, three, four years of Test cricket left in him.”

    First-innings century-maker Chris Rogers said before the match he was 90 per cent likely to retire from first-class cricket in Australia after the match, and that he expected Hussey to join him.

    Hussey said he would savour the victory and then speak to his family before deciding if, as expected, he retires from first-class cricket and just concentrates on the Big Bash League next season.

    “I’m not really sure. I’ll spend a couple of weeks, enjoy some family time and make a decision then. But it would be a pretty nice way to go out I reckon,” he said.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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