‘He’ll be the world’s best allrounder,’ says Kim Hughes who coached Green
When Kim Hughes saw a 13-year-old Cameron Green in the Subiaco-Floreat nets, the former Australian captain thought they had something special.
Just how special Hughes didn’t realise, but a decade later he was rejoicing in Green’s first Test century (114) during a record 208-run partnership with Usman Khawaja (180) which has transformed the fourth Test in Ahmedabad.
Cameron Green celebrates his maiden Test century. Credit:AP
In the first and second Tests, which Green missed through injury, Australia were bowled out in a session during their second innings before a remarkable turn around to win the third Test. In this match on a much more subdued pitch Australia batted for almost two days, with Green playing a major part on Friday.
“I had a lot to do with him when he was 13, 14, 15 and got him all set up,” Hughes told the Herald and The Age after Green hammered a delivery from Ravi Jadeja behind point to the boundary for that maiden Test century.
“That was before he grew about five or six inches. I’ve said for a number of years now that providing he keeps himself fit, he’ll be the world’s best allrounder by a long way. I’ve got absolutely no doubt about that.
“His bowling action is so easy. And I don’t mean a one-day allrounder. There are lots of blokes that can bat a bit and bowl a bit. But he will be good enough to bat in any side in the world. If he was just a batter he could bat at four and if he was just a bowler he could open the bowling.”
Hughes believes that Green has a special quality, aided by his height and reach, which sets him apart from most other batsmen.
“The thing with him is he’s one of the few players in the world that can play well off the backfoot,” said Hughes. “That’s the art of batting. Good bowlers don’t bowl you half-volleys.
“I’ve taught him the basics and he’s got lovely balance. Because of some much white ball cricket, most people, even in Test cricket, if you watch them side on, their first move is this half-step forward. Well, you’re bugging. You can’t play off the back foot.”
But Hughes believes it is Green’s character as much as his ability and technique which has allowed him to advance so far at a relatively young age.
Usman Khawaja batted for almost two days.Credit:AP
“He picks things up very, very quickly,” said Hughes. “And he was just a natural with his hand-eye coordination. There are some things when you’re that good that you’re born with, and he has got that God-given talent.
“But the other thing I like about him particularly is that he’s a very humble person. Very respectful. He was a very good listener. And it’s been great to see him carry on and take things in his stride.”
Hughes claimed this was particularly so since Green became the most expensive Australian bought in the IPL auction, going for an eye-watering $3.15 million to Mumbai Indians in late December.
“I mean, when all of a sudden you get $3 million as a contract for seven or eight weeks work, it can pretty easily go to your head. But he’s kept himself very, very grounded.”
Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist celebrate victory over India in 2004.Credit:AP
Hughes compared the potential impact Green could make with Adam Gilchrist given the multiple facets of their games.
“Those sorts of blokes can play with extra freedom. If your batting doesn’t work you’ve got your bowling or, in Gilchrist’s case, your wicket-keeping.
“That’s what makes them so dangerous. There’s not that pressure compared to if you’re just a bowler or just a batsman.
“And he’s a brilliant fieldsman. Most blokes in my era who were big and tall were lumbering and you put them down at fine leg or third man. But Cameron’s got a superb pair of hands in the gully. He covers all bases.
“You can build a side around someone like him because he’s a match winner.
“Because he’s got such great footwork he can destroy an attack very, very quickly. The rate he’s scored that hundred in this innings is typical. It’s not a run a ball but bringing up his hundred off about 140 balls with 16 fours, that’s quick by Test standard.”
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