The Fantastico Duo of Aussie's who I grew up adoring! - Part II
In this part two of 'The Fantastico Trio of Aussie's who I grew up adoring!' I will enlist two players who are known for their swashbuckling style of play and players who re-defined the way that cricket was played before them.
He practically redefined the way the wicket-keepers were perceived up until then. He had an aggressive style of batting and provided Australia with a strong finish in Tests while providing them with blazing starts in ODI cricket.
He kept things simple, and believed in 'Seeing the Ball and Hitting the Ball' philosophy. Playing straight was his thing and a still head and quick hands provided the power. He was also a very likable guy off the field and walked when he believed that he was out. He famously walked in the Semi Finals of the 2003 World Cup match even though the umpire had given him not out. He played several high impact innings for the Australians helping them steam roll the opposition but for me the best innings that he played was his audacious 149 off just 104 balls in the Final of the 2007 World Cup after being out of form during the whole tournament.
His strike rate of over 80 in test cricket and over 96 in ODI ranks amongst the very best and the fact that he hit 100 sixes in the longest format just presses his case further as one of the most attacking batsman to have ever played the game. He was a thorough all-rounder as he was beyond excellence in two skills of the game and his impact on young kids wanting to take up cricket as a career is quite large.
Long before Virender Sehwag or David Warner started the slam bang batting right at the top of the order in the longest form of the game, there existed a batsman named Michael Slater. The Aussie opener loved to bash the bowlers and watching him go after the bowlers was an entertaining sight. His rasping cuts and dismissive pull shots off the front foot were a trademark and he also had the unique habit of kissing his helmet upon reaching three figures. He was also a very nervous wreck in the 90's and was dismissed a record 9 times between 90 and 100.
You would imagine that he would become very successful in ODI cricket but he had a very modest career playing just 42 ODI's and scoring less than 1000 runs at an average of just 24. He was also known for sledging and often crossed the line. The lowest point came when he finger pointed fingers at the umpire and Rahul Dravid during a test match in India when the umpire disallowed a catch something that Slater did not agree with. He now works as a commentator with Channel 9 and provides his insights on the game.