Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne

Ponting backs out-of-form Hussey to bounce back

Brydon Coverdale

November 2, 2010

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Michael Hussey walks off after being dismissed for 3, South Australia v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, Adelaide, 4th day, November 1, 2010
Michael Hussey didn't have a good time in Adelaide, where he made 0 and 3 for Western Australia © Getty Images

Michael Hussey will walk on to the MCG on Wednesday under immense pressure ahead of the Ashes, but his captain Ricky Ponting believes Hussey will come good before the first Test. Hussey has joined the ODI squad fresh from a disappointing Sheffield Shield match for Western Australia in Adelaide, where he followed a first-innings golden duck with 3 in the second innings.

One domestic outing would not usually have any bearing on an established player's place in the side, but Hussey's Test form has been scratchy for some time. His career average hovers around 50 but in the past two years he has averaged only 34.18, and at 35 years of age the time to justify his position is rapidly running out.

Adding to the selectors' dilemma in the lead-up to the Gabba Test is the strong form of Usman Khawaja, who toured England with the Test squad this year and started the Sheffield Shield season with a double-century. While Hussey was struggling in Adelaide, his South Australian opponent Callum Ferguson posted 129, and the form of the much younger batsmen won't make life any easier for Hussey.

"He's a bit disappointed with it," Ponting said of Hussey's Sheffield Shield performance. "I've had a good chat with him today. He's very clear in his own mind about what he needs to do and he feels he's on the right track and his preparation has been good for every game that he's played. Class players like him generally find a way to get it done, and I'm sure that over the next few one-day games against Sri Lanka you'll see him score some runs."

But the selectors must decide whether the ODI arena is the best place for Hussey in the build-up to the Ashes. Western Australia play a first-class game against the touring England side in Perth starting on Friday and it could be the perfect opportunity for Hussey to find some touch against the red ball and his Ashes opponents.

Australia's full-time selector, Greg Chappell, said there had been discussions about releasing Hussey to take part in that game, but the batsman wanted to stay with the one-day side. On Tuesday, Ponting had not looked closely at the state schedule but conceded the idea of getting more first-class cricket in to Hussey would have been spoken about.

"There's probably a debate around that," Ponting said. "At the end of the day, all the players want to be playing as many games for Australia as they possibly can. It's important then that you maximise your training time and the time you get in the middle to make sure your game is where it needs to be. I'm sure that's what Mike's thinking is this week."

All the Australian players will have at least one more opportunity to play Sheffield Shield cricket before the battle for the urn begins in Brisbane on November 25, but England will have three first-class warm-up games during the same period. The majority of Australia's Test players are preparing to face Sri Lanka in a one-day series, but Ponting was not concerned about his men having a lack of first-class action ahead of the first Test.

"The fact that Johnson and Hussey came home early from India to play that Shield game last week, we're doing what we can to get as much first-class cricket in to our players before the first Test match come around," he said. "The international programme is what we've got - there's not much we can do about it. We've just got to make sure we've got all our guys in the best physical and technical shape that we can have them in come the start of the Ashes series."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by sadSajith on (November 3, 2010, 2:58 GMT)

I agree with Aussies.Zimbabwe should have been invited to Australia to gain Aussie confidence ahead of ashes.

Posted by MinusZero on (November 3, 2010, 0:59 GMT)

And there it is again....Ponting backing a mate. This must stop if the Australian team is to move forward. Until Ricky is open to bringing form players into the Australian team, they will be down in the depths for some time. ODI form is not a good indication of form in the longer game

Posted by SnowSnake on (November 2, 2010, 21:46 GMT)

@shameerpvt: don't take it personally. Ashes is important to Australians because people's jobs and career depend on it. If Australia were to lose Ashes then Ponting and Hussey's career is over and a few other heads will turn. With so much at stake, Aussies cannot think anything else but Ashes.

Posted by CricketPissek on (November 2, 2010, 21:18 GMT)

@shameerpvt - unfortunately, no matter how well SL performs, it's always the case. SL tour of England next year is also being treated as a warmup for the Indian tour to follow. We've always been treated as 2nd class citizens :( but the players should forget that and just concentrate on winning the matches. the patronising cricket boards will continue to speak thus about countries like SL, NZ, PAK, and WI because we dont bring in the £££££

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 20:51 GMT)

No one in Australia really understands why this series against Sri Lanka is going on now. It is distracting the Australian teams focus on the Ashes. Who ever made this series should be ashamed.

While England are doing boot camps and first class matches in preparation for the gabba. Our preparation is at best patchy and incoherent. I feel also for Sri Lanka because they aren't going to get a fair go in this ill organized tour.

Maybe they had some luck on the Melbourne cup yesterday.

Posted by cabinet96 on (November 2, 2010, 19:31 GMT)

i really feel for Hus he made his test debut when he was 30 and has averaged around 50 when playing most of his international carer after his peak. i hope he comes good and does well in the Ashes

Posted by shameerpvt on (November 2, 2010, 16:07 GMT)

I think, Sri Lanka should cancel their tour against Australia immediately & come home.... This is insulting for Sri Lankans.... While Sri Lanka is in tour, Australia speak about Ashes.... If the priority of Australians is Ashes, why Sri Lanka stepping their foot in the way.... I strongly recommend that, no country should tour or invite to tour Australia or England, when there is Ashes ahead in another 3 months time....

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 14:53 GMT)

I am not at all surprised that Hussey is struggling and I don't think he has it in him (talent wise or attitude wise) to put his career back on track. Known as a "whiner", he has lived up to his reputation by being a cry baby first about not being allowed to leave champions trophy early and then about the "unfair" ICC test ranking system where Aussies are ranked fifth. Being an overachiever in the early part of his career has made his average what it is, and the only way it can go from here is down. Carry on Hussey, I am waiting to see what you whine about when you are kicked out from the team soon. Maybe you will blame it on global warming..

Posted by DaTBird187 on (November 2, 2010, 13:54 GMT)

This tour by Sri Lanka is the most stupid decision I have ever come across. Why the powers that be thought a T20 and a handful of ODI's was a good idea is beyond me (except to $$$ angle). All Test players and aspiring Test players need Shield game after Shield game under their belts. It would be wonderful too to see Usman Kawaja and Callum Ferguson in the Test team soon. Both are wonderful players and long term prospects.

Posted by landl47 on (November 2, 2010, 13:32 GMT)

Hussey has been a great player, but he's played a lot of cricket for a lot of years and it's starting to show. He'll still play a good innings now and then, but the consistency is gone. 0 and 3 in the game that was meant to give him some time in the middle is an indication that he's not the player he used to be. At 35, he's not going to get any better. Loyalty is a great thing, but the Australians have painted themselves into a bit of a corner by sticking with the same players even though it's been clear for a while that the team is in decline. Now they don't have much choice, unless they want to go into the Ashes series with a bunch of relatively inexperienced players. Think about this- in 2005, the young gun of the Australian batting was Michael Clarke. In 2010, the young gun is.... Michael Clarke! There's not one new younger player than Clarke in the Aussie batting line-up. No wonder the side looks over the hill.

Posted by --.-- on (November 2, 2010, 12:42 GMT)

Aussies have lost 5 matches in a row. 1 Test by Pak then 2 Tests and an ODI by India and now 1 T-20 by Lanka. Is this some kind of record ?

Posted by --.-- on (November 2, 2010, 12:41 GMT)

How does it matter ? Aussie batsmen can't play Suraj Randiv, how will they play Greame Swann ?

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 11:54 GMT)

How come players are able to go two years, and produce next to nothing of real value in a side that has lost more than it is winning? Were is the initiative and daring in the selectors that allowed the great teams of the past to flourish? What about those who are performing at a high level and have done so for a number of seasons? Khawaja, Smith, Hughes? Instead selectors decide to stick with those that have produced very little over a long period - particularly Hussey and North. What is going on?

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (November 2, 2010, 11:27 GMT)

Michael Hussey will score good runs in this ODI series. Every time he is criticised, he came out with good or match winning scores in the past. That is why Poting is backing him up. Goodluck to Hussey dso as to Lions.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 2, 2010, 11:07 GMT)

Hussey is slightly out of form in the test format but is doing well in ODIs. But the good thing for him, unlike North, is that Hussey in form is a good player. North isn't a good player, in form or not, and needs to be dropped if Australia is to have any chance in the Ashes. We can afford to play Hussey for the same reason that England can afford to play Pietersen - because when Hussey is good he is very good.

Posted by CapitalC on (November 2, 2010, 10:13 GMT)

With Ponting on this one. Some of these voices coming out of Australia are simply amazing.. I mean whats the carry on here? He averages 50, he is mighty talented, very mature, top attitude, loves the game...only thing I see wrong at the moment is that he is a bit jaded..thats all. Why put all this extra pressure on him now.. As a cricket lover, I want to see him play as long as he reckons he has it in him. He is lovely to watch as a cricketer and as a professional. And he is very honest about his game. He has been robbed enough years of international cricket already. Give him a break, he deserves to be in the Australian side.

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 10:04 GMT)

'Ponting backs scratchy Hussey' sounds a lot like 'Ponting scrathes Hussey's back.'

Thats about it really.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (November 2, 2010, 10:03 GMT)

Its nice that Hussey wants to play in ODI's but he NEEDS to play at the WACA against England against a red ball in the longer form. Shouldnt even be a debate. Am glad to hear the new selector Greg Chappell at least talking about young players and breaking up the cosy club of under performers.

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 9:51 GMT)

Good luck Huss your still a fine player especially in one-day cricket, but if you can get luck on decisions which is not what happened in India then the runs can come, like in the 5th Ashes test last year when under pressure. Its still great to watch you play and would be good to see you around for another year or so!

Posted by Governor on (November 2, 2010, 9:41 GMT)

Ricky will stick up for his mate Michael Hiussey to show the players are running the show, and Andrew Hilditch was a puppet!!

Is not it about time for Greg Chappell to bite the bullet and convnice the other selectors to pick Usman Khawaja , Callum Ferguson and Stephen Smith for the 1st test match?

There is no point in Michael Hussey playing 50 over cricket before the 1st test match. He needs to score some runs and his pass form shows that when he is playing 50 over cricket for Australia, he does not transfer his form to the test arena.

He will only score runs when his place is on the line. And, pass Australian teams do not carry players who play for themselves. Dean Jones was an example of a player who scored a century for Australia when his test place was under threat. Do you remember his twin 100s at the Adelaide Oval in 1990 after he scored a pair in the test match against Pakistan at the MCG?


Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 9:06 GMT)

Dump Hussey forever! bring on Callum Ferguson for the test matches!

Posted by soorajiyer on (November 2, 2010, 8:47 GMT)

I think Hussey has been found out at international level and is past his due date! the funniest part is that Ricky, inspite of being well below his best, is still the best batsman for the Oz..

They should have allowed Phil Hughes to develop; because he is a terrific talent. Anyway cant wait to see the real games start :)

Hus, dont worry as a CSK fan I will suppport you :)

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 7:50 GMT)

While the time may not of come for Hussey to retire from Test cricket, the time for either Usman Khawaja or Callum Ferguson, or even Cameron White or Shaun Marsh, to replace him.

If the selector don't have the guts to dump him ahead of the Gabba Test, I hope they have learnt their lesson from the deplorable handling of Ian Healy's and Mark Waugh's exits from Test cricket and let Hussey play one more Test in Perth.

Posted by varunrallapalli on (November 2, 2010, 7:46 GMT)

I have a gut feeling that Mike Hussey is gonna be Graeme Swann's bunny in the Ashes, even though he is a class player.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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