Recently, former Australian bating legend Mike Hussey picked his Best of Enemies XI. He picked three Indians in the list along with other greats of the game.
While some of the names in the list were along the expected lines, a few names were given a miss and one name in particular came as a surprise.
Hussey’s Best of Enemies XI
Hussey chose Graeme Smith and Virender Sehwag as the openers, followed by Brian Lara for the crucial number 3 spot.
He picked Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli for the fourth and fifth places respectively.
He picked Kumar Sangakkara, at number 6 and as batsman-wicketkeeper, saying it was difficult to drop MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers but went ahead because of Sangakkara’s impact in the Test cricket.
Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, James Anderson and Muttiah Muralitharan completed the XI.
Did Kohli deserve a place ?
Virat Kohli, who has scored more than 19000 ODI plus Test runs and 70 tons, is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen to have ever played cricket. As a result, there’s no surprise when Kohli is picked by great cricketers in their Best XI.
However, can he be picked for any team, just because he is Kohli!
What many didn’t really notice about Hussey’s team was that it was meant to comprise the best players he had played against in Test cricket. Hence picking Kohli came as a surprise.
Virat Kohli made his Test debut on June 20, 2011. Meanwhile, Mike Hussey played his last Test on January 3, 2013.
18 months is too less to decide the status of any player, even if he has been in the best form of his life. And Kohli’s performances during that time didn’t do justice to him either.
Until Hussey retired, Kohli had scored 891 runs in 14 matches at an average of 38. It included 3 centuries. Kohli scored 300 runs in 4 games he played against Australia during this time.
Kohli was doing good in ODIs. He had found his footing in the limited over but the traditional format still had to see the best of the now Indian captain.
Snubbing Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Younis Khan
In fact, Hussey played against some of the greatest players like Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Younis Khan, who constantly troubled the Australians with their stay at the crease.
Dravid and Hussey were active together in international cricket for 7 years. During that period Dravid scored 663 runs against Australia in Test.
The Wall, in fact scored 5394 runs at an average of close to 47 during this phase, which included 17 centuries.
VVS Laxman and Hussey were also active for 7 years together in Test cricket.
Laxman was constantly a thorn in the bush against Australia. He scored 2434 runs against them in his career at an average of 50.
During the 7 years both Hussey and Laxman were active, the ‘Very Very Special’ scored 4672 runs at an average of 54.
Younis Khan scored 1148 runs against Australia in 11 matches, with an average of 57. He averaged 51 in Australia.
Younis Khan and Mike Hussey were active at the same time from Hussey’s debut in 2005 to his retirement in 2013. During this time, Younis scored 3800 at an average of 61.
There are a few more players who were great during that phase. The above stats suggest Hussey, maybe, had Kohli’s overall performances in his subconscious mind while naming the team or maybe he didn’t think too deep.
Let us know what you think: did Kohli deserve to be in Michael Hussey’s Best of Enemies XI?
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