Michael Hussey’s record would suggest otherwise, but the man who has a sixth sense for engineering wins for Australia says being Mr Cricket isn’t getting any easier.
There aren’t many batsmen with a sounder mind than Hussey, but at 36 years of age he revealed mental battles have become his biggest challenge.
His man-of-the-series effort in Australia’s 2-1 triumph over South Africa in the one-dayers is evidence that Hussey almost always comes out on top when it comes to putting mind over matter.
As wickets continued to fall around him in the deciding game in Durban on Friday, Hussey was uncompromising in his pursuit of the South African total and finished unbeaten on 45.
But as he gets older, Hussey said he’s realised that self-doubts and outside distractions enter his thinking far more frequently than they ever had previously.
This is despite two centuries and two separate scores in the 90s on the recent Test tour to Sri Lanka, and a run of solid form in the Champions League with Chennai.
He averages above 50 in both Tests and one-dayers, and is closing in on 5000 ODI runs (currently 138 short) to go with the 5113 runs he already has wearing the baggy green.
It seems unthinkable, but the rock of the Australian side, who is beating father time over the head with his English willow, is feeling the pinch more than ever before.
“Certainly as you get older there’s probably more pressure because you can’t really afford a lean spell. Once you go it’s going to be hard to fight your way back into the team,” Hussey told AAP.
“My preparation for the game is about really trying to eliminate all the distractions.
“There are so many pressures and distractions and negative thoughts and doubts going through your mind, but being able to clear your mind of all those things and just focus solely on the ball, that’s what I try and practice.
“I think when you first start playing for Australia you don’t have any doubts or fears or anything like that, you’re just happy to be out there.
“But certainly it gets harder and harder the longer you play.
“But that’s what the great players can do.”
Hussey said he was inspired by Ricky Ponting’s resilient attitude.
And like his former skipper (just five months his senior), Hussey has no plans to retire, especially given it took him a decade of toiling in state cricket to finally earn an Australian debut in 2004.
Hussey and the rest of the Australian team have gathered in Potchefstroom in preparation for the four-day tour match against South Africa A which begins on Tuesday.
The two-match Test series against the Proteas starts in Cape Town on 9 November and Hussey doesn’t want to miss an opportunity.
“It’s obviously been going well but you can’t rest on your laurels at all, I’d love to start the Test series well,” he said.
“There’s been plenty of bad days so you’ve just got to make sure you really enjoy the good days.
“While I still have that hunger to play for Australia and while I still have that desire for the challenge out in the middle then certainly I want to keep playing.”