Regarded as one of the best finishers in ODI cricket, it is a mystery to some why Michael Bevan couldn’t crack the code in Test matches for Australia. His short ball vulnerability was a hoax- proved by three half-centuries in a single series against West Indian bowlers.
Bevan made his Test debut and ODI debut both in 1994. While his limited-overs dominance continued till 2004, Bevan played his last Test in 1998. Despite averaging 57 in first-class cricket with over 19,000 runs, the left-hander never secured his place in the national side for the longer format averaging a mediocre 29- never good enough to be in an Australian eleven.
I suppose it was my own personal demons: Michael Bevan
Speaking on The Grade Cricketer podcast, Bevan felt that his own mindset and physical fitness were not good enough to succeed in the long run at the highest level. He averaged 60 in his debut series against Pakistan, however, that number fell to a measly 13 in the next series versus rivals, England. In his last three series, the southpaw averaged 18,6, and 12- leading to finally his permanent exclusion from the Test side.
“Look, I’ve been described as an enigma, a tortured genius, people can’t work out why I performed so well in one-day cricket and not Test cricket, why I performed well at first-class cricket and not Test cricket, and I suppose it was my own personal demons,” Michael Bevan told The Grade Cricketer.
“All the good work in my first Test series became undone in my second Test series against England in Australia against an inferior bowling attack. I think I averaged about 10 or 15 and it really wasn’t apparent to me why that had happened at that time. I was in no way, shape, or form ready to go and perform to the level that I hoped I could have achieved.”
The 50-year-old believes that another reason for his Test career being a short one is the strength and competition in the Australian team in his playing time. Despite scoring 1,464 runs at 97.60 in one of the Sheffield Shield seasons, he was nowhere near even consideration for a comeback- encapsulating the batting dominance of the team.
“I didn’t really get too many more opportunities to play for Australia, but that’s fine. During my era, we had such a great team that you had to strive so hard to get in the team and so hard to stay in the team,” Michael Bevan added.