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December 31, 2012
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 hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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