23 September 201023:09

CWC 150+ Club - Andrew Hudson

Hudson notched up a career-best 161 off 132 balls at the 1996 World Cup

CWC 150+ Club - Andrew Hudson - Cricket News

Andrew Hudson in action at the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996.

South Africa's return from isolation in 1991 led to a new era of cricketers being pitch forked into the limelight.

One of the many was Andrew Hudson who scored a hundred in South Africa's first Test post isolation in West Indies. Later that year in 1992 he ran Sachin Tendulkar out to earn the first verdict via third umpire.

Hudson remained a consistent batsman but never really reached dizzy heights till the ICC Cricket World Cup game against Netherlands on 5 March 1996 at Rawalpindi. Hudson notched up a career-best 161 off 132 balls with 13 boundaries and four sixes.

"It was just one of those days when everything went right. The timing in that knock was everything for me. We always battle to do well against Netherlands as they have been a difficult side for us to beat. They were a decent opposition because they had a couple of bowlers who swung the ball," recalled Hudson about his knock.

However, Hudson still has regret 14 years on about the knock which he is willing to share. "I think I got out in the 41st over. I have since thought, if I had batted through maybe I might have got a 200. But it was still a fantastic knock in terms of my career," opined Hudson.

Tendulkar has since become the first to score double hundred in one-day internationals in February 2010 and incidentally against South Africa.

The knock itself was a highlight in Hudson's career because it was just one of the two hundreds he scored in one-day internationals. "I always seemed to get out trying to get the run-rate up. So, for me to bat through against Netherlands was a big effort," reckoned Hudson.

The game set new records for South Africa in ICC Cricket World Cups. But only one has stayed the test of time. That record rests in the name of Hudson and partner Gary Kirsten who notched up what would be South Africa's best opening partnership (186) in any ICC Cricket World Cup game.

One of the big inspirations for this knock against Netherlands was West Indies legend Sir Viv Richards. "I still vaguely remember Richards' 181 against Sri Lanka in 1987. He just demolished them. In 1987 we were isolated and we didn't get all the footage, but I saw bits of it. As a youngster it left an impression on my mind because it was the best in a ICC Cricket World Cup game," said Hudson.

It was a combination of the Richards effect and the fact that he was one of the first post isolation in the South African set-up to play in an ICC Cricket World Cup in 1992 which drove Hudson's ambition.

"I was fortunate to play in two and I just missed out on my third in 1999. You can mark your career out with ICC Cricket World Cups. Anyone who has played three World Cups has had a fantastic career. It has all the hype, passion and it's an amazing feeling."

Hudson rates that moment in 1992 when he was one of the chosen few as one of the best in his career.

"The only experience we had was from an India tour in November 1991. Then we went into the World Cup in February 1992 without any idea about the opposition. Kepler Wessels (then captain) gave us an idea about different players. It was fantastic to play at that level against players we didn't know about. We didn't know how good or poor we were. So all that put together made it 100 per cent special. It still has fond memories for me," added Hudson.

Hudson is currently involved with the Cricket South Africa (CSA) in his new role as the convenor of selectors. The biggest challenge for Hudson in his new job will be selecting the South African squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 scheduled to be held from 19 February-2 April.

"Its good to get back and deal with the players. It is interesting to see how things have changed since my time. We have lots of cricket coming up but the ICC Cricket World Cup will be the most important. South African cricket is in a healthy state and yes, we will be a contender at the World Cup," said Hudson.

In many ways Hudson is best placed to draw comparisons between past and present as the big day in February 2011 gets nearer.

"This team has far better individual players. But in 1992 it was a real team effort. Guys like Peter Kirsten were really good, but the rest were pretty average, fielding was our strongest point. But now they have so many world class cricketers in Kallises, Bouchers, Dale Steyns, Graeme Smiths, Hashim Amlas. Then (in 1992) we were fresh and very young," reasoned Hudson.

Hudson also tips the 2011 squad to go one better than even the team at the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996.

"I hope to obviously go and win the tournament. I think when we went to India in 1996 in many respects we were the best team of the tournament till we were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Brian Lara," opined Hudson.

But Hudson believes the current team has something more than the 1996 set-up. "I suspect that it will be a re-run of the 1996 event with the conditions being similar even if we have new venues in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The guys are motivated and keen to do well. It is lovely to be part of the set-up as a selector," reckoned Hudson.

The former opening batsman's advice to Graeme Smith's men is very simple: try something different.

"The biggest challenge is to bring something fresh. Every World Cup has that something new or exceptional or a different way of playing. Whether it is reverse swing, opening the bowling with a spinner, pinch-hitter, death hitting. There are lots of things you need to focus on.

"You will get that competitive advantage if you find that something different that you are able to apply and implement. Unlike us in 1996 the current lot knows the conditions well having played in India very recently. This lot is better suited to play in the subcontinent than we were in my day," opined Hudson.