Michael Beven, the finest finisher of his times, is in India to coach the Chennai Superstars in the Indian Cricket League. He spoke to HT about the art of finishing, the pressure of expectations, among other things. Excerpts:
What does it take in terms of skill and mental strength to become the finisher you had been?
One needs to have a good range of strokes, the ability to rotate strike and a couple of strong areas to hit boundaries when the need arises. Above all, one must have the ability to soak in the pressure and stick to the game plan when the heat is really on.
When did you realise that you had this special knack for finishing games off?
It was pretty early on in my first class career. I can remember a couple of one-day games where I guided New South Wales home from tough situations in the early 90's. I guess it was then I realised that I could play this role.
But wasn't the pressure too big to handle?
I did feel the pressure of expectations towards the end of my career when everyone expected me to finish it off every time I walked in to bat. It became tough to live up to the expectations all the time, but generally I was comfortable batting at that position doing the stuff I did.
Who do you think is the best finisher now?
The way Australia dominate the game, I think they could do without one. You need a finisher in close games, but they have been pretty dominating.
How do you see Yuvraj Singh fit into that role?
He is indeed a dynamic stroke player. He hits the ball really hard and the shorter version of the game really suits his style of play.