I had been playing indoor cricket for much of my short life, yet by the age of ten outdoor became the one true form of the sport I loved.
Being a bowler, I was never particularly fond of the indoor edition’s enthusiasm for giving batsmen as many chances as they wished to continue batting. And a home Ashes series, which would later become a 4-1 demolition of our greatest enemy, seemed a good place to start paying attention.
But it was around this time my Dad began taking me to Sheffield Shield games for Victoria.
While most were obsessed with the fame and glory associated with playing for the Australian cricket team, and understandably so, I saw the Bushrangers as being a part of a very, very well kept little secret club.
Cricketers who could have just as easily been legends for any number of other national teams worked away modestly, known by only a select few. Games were fought fiercely and down to the wire, with four day games actually being four day games. Players sent down to long on were willing to put up with the inane, possibly irritating questions and conversations offered kids such as myself.
Yet it was only when roughly a year later when David Hussey cemented a spot in the first XI that I knew I was onto something.
And did he burst onto the scene, or what.
In only his second season, chasing 455 in the fourth innings against an opposition led by Steve Waugh, Hussey saw Victoria home with a run-a-ball, unbeaten knock of 212.
Though Waugh was quick to acknowledge the brilliance of what he had just seen, describing Hussey’s efforts as “exceptional”, in the first class cricket arena Hussey would remain for the majority of his career; racking up runs in both Australia and England season to season, continuing to go unnoticed as he regularly averaged over 50 on either side of the world.
It is not difficult to determine why Hussey is such an incredible player to watch from the stands of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Whether it is the searing power with which he can loft cover drives, not unlike his brother, or the ease with which he can grasp the length of a delivery, rock back and slot it behind point or through square leg with bat movement reminiscent of a world-class fencer; you can take your pick.
Or maybe it is just that, despite all of this, there is still an air of the underdog about the way he plays.
Unfairly thought of as being in the shadow of his older brother when most were, and equally as unfairly pigeonholed as a limited overs expert, it is now looking next to impossible as Hussey ages for him to be finally given his very own baggy green to sit alongside Mike’s.
A one day international career, wherein he was rightly or wrongly selected to take over from Michael Bevan as Australia’s go to man in danger, has also seemingly ended in lieu of a desire to find new young talent.
But the romantic in me, thanks to the selection of workhorse Chris Rogers, has given a glimmer of hope for Hussey’s generation of cricketers.
So as I sit down to watch the Ashes over our frosty winter and the coming Australian summer, I’ll continue to hold hope that another one of cricket’s underdogs and one of the Bushrangers’ best gets his chance to remind us of what could have been.