It took Michael Hussey 10 years to make his international debut for Australia in 2004, and in 2005 he finally was rewarded with a baggy green after missing out on selection during the Ashes.
Everyone, especially state-based teammates Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist, knew how good he was, having scored 15,000 first-class runs by 2005 with a high score of 331*.
And, oh boy, when he got his chance, he made the most of it. In his first 20 Test matches, Hussey scored eight hundreds, eight fifties and had an average over 80. At the end of 2006 it was a peaking at a Bradman-like 100.
He was the fastest ever batsman to reach 1000 Test runs and his ODI average was very similar to his Test record (he averaged 77 by the 2007 World Cup).
But like all cricketers (except for Bradman), this purple patch had to come to an end and by 2010 his Test average had plummeted to 55, which is still right up there with the best in the game.
Hussey is the only Australian player in the last 20 years to have played more than 50 Tests. Despite the fact his form has slightly diminished since 2009, he is probably Australia’s most consistent player and most hard-working cricketer.
Hussey has scored 680 runs this year at an average of 52, which is his career average, including three hundreds. It hasn’t been a spectacular year by any means for Hussey but it has been a marvelous return to form which started at the MCG last year against India with a match-winning 89.
A lot of the all time greats like Ponting, Waugh, Tendulkar and Lara have scored over 10,000 runs in Test cricket, over 30 Test hundreds and have also excelled in one-day cricket with similar numbers.
But if you analyse every big inning Hussey has made, his style, how he senses moments in games and his work ethic, he should go down as one of Australia’s best.
Hussey has never gotten a big 200 or 250 in a Test match like Clarke or Ponting, but he has always been able to contribute just that little half-century or silent hundred that has helped Australia win games, especially in the shorter formats.
At 37 he looks as fit and strong as he ever was, and unlike the other veteran in the side (Ponting), he is almost certainly on his way to England next year.
No wonder he is Mr. Cricket and always will be.