Michael Gwyl Bevan, the best middle-order – or any position for that matter – batter ever in the history of the shorter version of the game, has announced his retirement from international cricket. While McGraths and Warnes hung up their boots in style in bigger arenas and packed press conferences that attracted international attention, the cricket lovers seems to have forgotten their one-day hero. Probably fans have double standards against specialists – they expect every single cricketer to be a master of test as well as one-day games!
In a 10 year one-day career that spanned from 1994 to 2004, Bevan had many more match winning knocks and great finishes than his contemporaries and today’s Australian heroes like Mike Hussey. Close to 7000 runs in just 232 matches at an average of 53.58 and career strike rate of 75% speak it all. What it doesn’t tell us is how many times – match after match – did he drove Australia safely home in close run chases. But 67 notouts out off 232 explains it.
Bevan was a great run-chaser. He knew when to accelerate, while running hard for singles and twos through out his stay at the crease and most importantly knew how to bat with the tail. Those who remember the 2003 World Cup match against England will endorse this sensible batting approach from Bevan – While chasing 205, from 138/8 he steered Australia to 208/8 while batting alongside Andy Bichel (MoM for his magnificent 7/20 in 10 overs). And this wasn’t a one off show! Cricket lovers got to see many such last over finishes from Bevan along his career.
Regardless of his only hitch – inability to play short deliveries – he has managed to showcase sensible, result oriented one day cricket. Kudos to Bevan! You will be remembered as an all-time one-day great!!