On The Cricket Club show last Monday night there was a healthy debate around the power of Chris Gayle and the finesse of Michael Hussey.
The conversation then went to a consideration of who you would select if you were an owner of a franchise in the IPL or that matter, any T20 competition.
So let’s look at the statistics first before I tell you who I would select.
From the current IPL, Gayle is currently ranked number one in most runs with 484.
He is followed closely by Hussey, who sits on 450 runs.
If we dig a little deeper into those statistics we’ll see that in Gayle’s 484 runs, he did score that remarkable 175 runs off 66 balls against Pune Warriors last week.
By doing so, he broke all records while hitting a massive 17 sixes.
Gayle is also averaging 80 and his strike-rate is 166.89, which are pretty impressive figures, but he has scored that massive hundred and then only two fifties.
It seems like Gayle enjoys the Indian conditions the IPL produce as last IPL tournament he was the leading run scorer by a long way, by massing 733 runs at an average of 61 and hit a phenomenal 59 sixes.
On the other hand Hussey is currently averaging 64 and his strike-rate is 133.13. Despite have lower numbers he has scored more fifties, four in fact with one of those being a 95 against the Mumbai Indians.
Looking at both players and those statistics there would be no hesitation in selecting Gayle as he is a match winner and if on song there is no ground big enough for him to clear.
But I would actually select Hussey, why?
Although his statistics aren’t as good as Gayle I feel that Hussey is more reliable and a consistent performer.
In terms of my own coaching philosophy, I believe you need to look at more than statistics when choosing your best team, and you need to be mindful that your best players may not always have the best statistics when viewed in isolation.
Also, it’s important to also consider at what stage runs are made or wickets are taken. For example, it’s very easy to hit runs if your team isn’t under pressure.
So, when selecting players, you sometimes have to consider what else the player will bring to the group and this is where I believe Gayle and Hussey differ considerably.
Having never met Chris Gayle I can only go by what I have seen on the TV and things that I have read about or heard.
Hussey tends to be the perfect cricketer, he works hard, is upbeat around the group, seems to put the team before himself and doesn’t leave a stone unturned regarding his preparation to the game.
Then by contrast you have Gayle who certainly portrays a different character.
I am not a fan of him keeping his pads on for the rest of the batting innings if he gets out cheaply.
From my perspective, unless it is really cold what is the point?
You have had your turn and missed out, now it is your job to support the others that are going in.
Also, during the BBL 12/13 season, where he had a terrible tournament for the Sydney Thunder, there was chatter around the cricketing traps that sometimes he didn’t attend training as much as some of the other guys.
Whilst he may have had good reasons for not being there, when your team is doing it tough it is really important that everyone gives that little extra, even if it is means going over and above what you usually so in terms of preparation.
You would hope that if any designated batsman was averaging 19 and had only scored one half century during a tournament, combined with the team not performing to a consistently competitive standard, that he would know that it’s in his and the team’s best interest to be doing over and above what he usually does.
Great players have the ability to inspire and motivate their teammates.
Gayle may do so via his own performance on the field, but Hussey seems like the type of player that has the same ability but also inspires his teammates by his passion and willingness to do what he can in his power to see each and every one of them succeed.
Who would you select?
NOTE: I write a weekly article for The Roar sports website. This article also appears on The Roar website at www.roar.com.au