‘I’ll bat my own way, thanks’: When Michael Hussey’s plan backfired for MS Dhoni
Batting coach Michael Hussey revealed how on the night before the Qualifier 1 of IPL 2018, he had received a helpful clip from the video analyst, dissecting leg-spinner Rashid’s action.Updated: Jun 20, 2020 09:35 IST
Chennai Super Kings batting coach Michael Hussey narrated an incident when he worked out a plan to help the players and MS Dhoni read leg-spinner Rashid Khan better, but the whole thing went awry. It was the first Qualifier of IPL 2018 between CSK and Sunrisers Hyderabad and Hussey revealed how on the night before the crunch game, he had received a helpful clip from the video analyst, dissecting Rashid’s action.
But considering the magnitude of the match, Hussey was in two minds, deliberating whether sharing the information with CSK’s batsmen one night ahead of the crunch match was the right call. “The night before the qualifying final against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he (the analyst) sent me this split-screen of Rashid Khan,” Hussey said on the Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast.
“When he (Rashid) runs in to bowl, when he bowls his leg-spinner, he holds his finger wide as he’s running in, and when he bowls a wrong ‘un, (he bowls) with fingers like this. And I thought – ‘Woah, this is good, but I am not sure if I should be throwing this out to the batsmen the night before this massive qualifying final’. So, I am sitting on this information, and I am going back and forth – ‘Should I, should I not, would I want it’.
“And I said to myself – If we play this game tomorrow and lose, and Rashid Khan goes really well, and I have sat on this info and I haven’t sent it out, I am not going to forgive myself. So, I decided to send it out to all the batsmen. But I did make sure I wrote: ‘You may want to use this, you may not. It is just here for your information. If you want anything, go for it, if not.
After the decision was made, Hussey revealed certain players absolutely loved the idea, and there were some who were content not wanting to use Hussey’s information.
“Some of the guys loved it. Faf (du Plessis) loves this kind of stuff – he wants to know how many slower balls Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s going to bowl in the first six overs, he wants to know all the different grips and everything. But there are other players who probably don’t want to use it. Anyway, I sent it out to all batsmen,” he said.
“MS, you didn’t really hear a reply (from), which is generally normal. We come to the game, we’re playing it and we’re in big trouble and MS is in the middle, and while he’s in the middle, we’re still thinking there’s a chance to win this game.”
Chasing 140 to win, CSK had slipped to 24/3 when Dhoni, the new batsman, walks out to bat. The CSK skipper had a hard time negotiating Rashid’s leg spin and was eventually bowled by a googly for nine off 18 balls. However, despite a top-order failure, it was du Plessis’ unbeaten 67 that got CSK over the line as they won the match by two wickets.
“Rashid Khan comes on to bowl, one of the very first balls he (Dhoni) faces, goes for the big cover drive – wrong ‘un, bowled through the gate. And I’m thinking ‘Uh, gosh. Okay, no worries.’ And MS walks straight off the field, and I am sitting in the dugout and he walks straight up to me and says ‘I’ll bat my own way, thanks,’ and sits back down,” Hussey said further.
“As a coach, I thought my days are over forever! But, to MS’s credit, after the game, he was absolutely fantastic. He came up and spoke to me and we had a good chat. He said that the information was correct, but for him, he needed time to go away and process it and practise it.
“What he did in the game was, he thought he saw it was going to be a leg-spinner, played a shot, didn’t bother watching the bowl, and obviously he was done through the gate with the wrong ‘un. He said ‘If I had got time in the nets, have a look at the hand as he was running in to bowl, then still watch the ball then I would have time to build it into the routine. And it would have been very beneficial.’”