Sri Lanka in Australia, 2012-13 December 31, 2012

Could one Hussey replace another?


Just as Mark Waugh's Test debut came at the expense of his brother Steve, David Hussey is now dreaming of a possible baggy green call-up, thanks to the retirement of his brother Michael. The chances might be slim, given that he is 35 and has struggled for Sheffield Shield form this summer, but Hussey knows that the gaping hole left by the departures of his brother and Ricky Ponting could send Australia's selectors in search of a veteran.

Usman Khawaja is the most likely man to be given a chance at No.6 for the upcoming tours of India and England, but the coach Mickey Arthur has conceded that the unexpected departure of Hussey could force a rethink in the way the selectors approach their task. Without naming names, Arthur has raised the possibility of looking to an older, wiser head with Australia facing such a busy year of Test cricket.

"When you have Ponting, Hussey and Clarke, it was all about injecting some youth into our side," Arthur told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The ground rules have changed now because we've lost a massive amount of experience. That's why we need to sit down and chat. Is it another experienced player, or are we happy to go with a young gun? There's a lot of guys who come under consideration now.

"With Test matches in India and England, we've got to sit down [and ask], 'Do we want to have a look at a guy who is a proven run-scorer, who has the right stats both in Australia and outside of Australia and can get hundreds'?"

If the selectors do go for experience abroad and a proven century-maker, David Hussey would be a leading candidate, while another option would be bringing the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin back as a specialist batsman. Chris Rogers falls into the same category, but as a specialist opener, he would be the fifth such man in the Australian line-up, alongside Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phillip Hughes and Shane Watson.

Hussey has 12,459 first-class runs to his name at an average of 53.70 and he has plenty of experience in England, having piled up runs for Nottinghamshire over the years. The first Ashes Test is scheduled for Trent Bridge, the Nottinghamshire home ground, and a venue where Hussey has made 3353 first-class runs at 76.20, including a remarkable 15 centuries.

Statistically, Hussey has done enough over his career to warrant selection. He has made centuries in 15.89% of his first-class innings, a higher percentage than any of his rivals for the Test position, and higher even than Michael Clarke, whose figure is 14.23%. By comparison, Khawaja scores a ton 10.6% of the time, Alex Doolan 7.93%, Rob Quiney 7.5%, George Bailey 9.03%, Rogers 13.93% and Haddin 6.14%.

However, his form this summer has been disappointing: in seven first-class innings this summer he is yet to pass fifty. If he was to debut at 35, he would also be the oldest specialist batsman to make his Test debut for Australia since Ken Eastwood, who played one Test in 1971 at the age of 35. Hussey said he hoped his age would not be held against him.

"I desperately want to play Test cricket and I haven't had the opportunity," Hussey said. "I think Michael Clarke always says that age is no barrier. If you're making runs at 17 or making runs at 45, you're still going to be in the frame for selection. My advantage is I've played for a long time, I know my game pretty well, I've made a lot of first-class runs. Allegedly I'm a very good player of spin, so I'd love to prove myself against the Indians."

Hussey's best chance to impress the selectors with current form and remind them of his credentials will come in the second half of the Sheffield Shield season, which begins in late January, after the completion of the Big Bash League.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on January 3, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (December 31 2012, 19:52 PM GMT) - in 1989, Oz was labelled the weakest Oz team to reach English shores. That didn't turn out too good for England fans!

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Please let it be so. David Hussey remains one of the best batsmen not to play a Test for Australia and deserves an opportunity, albeit very late in his career. It may not be a move boosting the long-term options for the team, yet would be a just one. David has a higher first class average than his brother or either of the Waugh twins at 53.77.

  • ubaid on January 2, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    its not possible to replace his brother.... take a bow

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    D Hussey is good, But it can never replace Mr Cricket... Ahh its gonna be a big loss.

  • $$ milind on January 1, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    Australia will have problems with d top order against India - Both Cowan and Warner r not gr8 against spinners. But Warner having played in India before should b a part of d side. Its important that Watson gets his chance at the top because he averages 41 as a opener .Why is he batting at no. 3 or 4 ? Khawaja has 2 b in d side against India atleast on turny tracks in India in place of Cowan. My batting order would be 1. Warner 2. Watson 3. Hughes 4. Khawaja 5. Clarke 6. Wade 7. Maxwell / D Hussey .

  • Graham on January 1, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    Dave Hussey - Has been a great shield/county player unfortunately he never got an oppotrunity and now given his age I doubt he will ever receive one. The rebuilding phase that Australia are in we are unlikely to go down the path of a 36 year old debutant.

  • Graham on January 1, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Marcio - I think Front-Foot-Lunge learned a new word this month in Minnow and wants to drop it in as many posts as possible. He has the one joke which is quite poor and keeps using it over and over again. THink its best we ignore him as his posts make very little sense and he cant back any of his insults up with facts or data. Sometime soon Australia will return the Ashes and he will go into obscurity.

  • Graham on January 1, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    Wefinish this you are sacking Cowan and Watson because they average under 40, well D Hussey, Khawaja and Burns are all averaging under 40 this shield season. Burns averaging 30 and Hussey significantly below. I dont understand your logic surely test match runs are harder than shield runs.

  • Mashuq on January 1, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @ Jared Hansen on (January 01 2013, 00:43 AM GMT) I'm not sure you're entirely right "that the Dave Hussey talk seems to be totally media-driven." Imo it followed the crazy selection of Maxwell. That selection took place before Huss announced his retirement. When he did, it merely added to our fears that picking Maxwell was wasting an opportunity to have Khawaja in the team to bed him down. But look at matters from the point of view of the NSP. They thought Watto would be a genuine 5th bowler: he bowled 48 overs in Hobart. Then they found he couldn't bowl at the G. If they then saw him as a filler-in, they hoped to get something similar from Maxwell. But Huss's retirement undercuts that because it reduces stability. Latching on to David allows a more logical outcome given Watto's perceived new role. This is speculative but it is based on linking the sequences rather than merely a feel-good story. MC is looking for wise counsel atm so if his form improves he fits the various needs.

  • Chris on January 1, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    I still don't see how Cowan and Watson are even in our top 6. Between them they've scored 3 centuries and each average 35 after umpteen series now. Below 40 after 4 series is unacceptable for a top 4 batsman. We really only have Clarke and Warner as the only certainties. Watson and Cowan are next to useless at the moment and Hughes has to really perform over the India, Ashes and subsequent series or it has to be his last chance. For India I'd be looking at Warner, Burns, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, D.Hussey and Wade as our top 7. The only thing really going for us is that India are the weakest they've been in years, however I just can't see our batsmen matching Pujara, Tendulkar and their army of spinners.