Michael Hussey: “VVS accepted that I was not interested because of family reasons. But he would not accept my feeling that I was not up to standard for a job like that.” © BCCI
Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey has revealed in his latest book that he was asked by former India batsman VVS Laxman if he was interested in coaching India. That approach was made during the last IPL, barely a month before Laxman was inducted by the BCCI into its three-man advisory panel, which was tasked with finding India’s head coach, a position left vacant after the exit of Duncan Fletcher following the 2015 World Cup.
Since the departure of Fletcher, former India allrounder Ravi Shastri has played the caretaker role in his position as team director (since August 2014). The terms of Shastri and the rest of his coaching staff comprising the trio of assistant coaches – Sanjay Bangar (batting), Bharat Arun (bowling) and R Sridhar (fielding) – will expire after the World Twenty20.
Hussey has been one of the most sought after among recently-retired players, especially in franchise-based T20 cricket. Since his retirement in 2013, Hussey has worked in various consulting roles, such as for South Africa at last year’s World Cup, and he will be assisting Darren Lehmann with Australia at the upcoming World T20.
ESPNcricnfo understands Laxman had approached Hussey in person during an IPL match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings last season. Hussey had been bought back by Super Kings in 2015 and Laxman is a mentor with Sunrisers. According to Hussey, Laxman’s approach came barely a week after former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene had asked him to consider taking over as assistant coach of Sri Lanka with the idea of graduating to the head coach position.
“The former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene rang me a while ago to ask if I would be interested in being an assistant coach of Sri Lanka with a view to taking over as head coach a few months further down the track,” Hussey wrote in Winning Edge, his third book, which was released recently.
“A week later the ex-India batsman VVS Laxman asked me if I would be interested in coaching India. My initial answer to both of them was no because at the time I did not want to be on the road ten months a year; I wanted to be at home with my family and make up for some lost time from the previous few years. But, probably more relative to them, I said to each that I did not think I was ready to become the head coach of an international cricket team.”
It is understood that Hussey told Laxman even if he was willing to take up a job, he preferred to start as an assistant coach. According to Hussey, although Laxman acknowledged focussing on the family was a valid excuse, he insisted that the Australian was highly capable of coaching an international team. “VVS accepted that I was not interested because of family reasons. But he would not accept my feeling that I was not up to standard for a job like that. ‘You have played the game very well for a long time, you know what needs to be done, you shouldn’t doubt yourself’, he said.
“I replied that coaching individuals within a team is one thing and perhaps I could do that right now. But, I said, these days coaching is not just about coaching players. It’s about dealing with boards, sponsors, business owners, investors, officials, all sorts of people outside the team environment,” Hussey wrote.”It’s a very complex job that requires numerous skills that have little or nothing to do with cricket.”
Laxman, Hussey pointed out, again disagreed. “He said that guys with our level of experience had more understanding of the ins and outs of the game than just about anyone. It got me thinking that maybe you do not need to go off and do all sorts of courses and tick all the official boxes,” Hussey wrote. “Maybe just having played for so long ingrains in a long-serving former player the knowledge required to take on all that is necessary to be a good coach.”
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo