Finch replaces Hussey in ODI squad
David Hussey's future as an international player appears bleak after he was dropped from Australia's squad for the first two ODIs against West Indies, following on from his being left out of the T20 squad to play Sri Lanka. Hussey, 35, has been replaced by his younger Victorian team-mate Aaron Finch, 26, for the matches at the WACA on February 1 and 3 in a move the national selector John Inverarity said was made with an "eye on the future".
The rest of Australia's 13-man squad retained their places after the series-levelling victory against Sri Lanka in Hobart, a match in which Hussey was Australia's second top scorer with 34. Over the five-match series, Hussey was third on the Australian run tally with 128 at an average of 32, and his quick unbeaten 60 in the opening match at the MCG was an important factor in Australia's win.
But the selectors wanted more from Australia's specialist batsmen over the course of the series and were keen to give Finch another chance. Finch played the first two games against Sri Lanka and made 16 and 4, but has been in outstanding domestic limited-overs form this summer and is expected to partner David Warner at the top of the order.
"The national selection panel was delighted with the ODI team's impressive win against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Wednesday, in particular with Phillip Hughes' well-crafted innings and the bowling of Xavier Doherty and Moises Henriques," Inverarity said. "There were concerns, however, with the team's batting performances during the series when the conditions were conducive to swing bowling, conditions that were beautifully exploited by Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga.
"Aaron Finch has been included in the squad at the expense of David Hussey. A top four of Warner, Finch, Hughes and Clarke his good balance and the team looks forward to getting better starts than has been the case recently. David Hussey has been dropped from the squad as the NSP keeps a constant eye on the future."
Such comments will not fill Hussey with hope of a recall. Before the one-day series against Sri Lanka, Hussey said he was still dreaming of a call-up to the Test team, given the lack of experience caused by the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. But Australia now faces the prospect of a Hussey-less future, with the squad for the West Indies games also confirming there would be no home-ground farewell for Michael Hussey.
"I'm not sure it's the end of an era," Australia's T20 captain George Bailey said. "Dave's record domestically is still very, very good. I think he'd be in pretty strong calculations for that India tour and I wouldn't ever write him off from any of the other teams despite him not being in this team.
"Absolutely you're missing Mike Hussey, and will do for a long time. His skills are second to none and are going to be very hard to replace skills wise but also just his role, his temperament around the group, enthusiasm around the group. They're big gaps to fill, and hard to measure, a lot of the things Mike Hussey and Ricky brought to the side. So big shoes to fill, big opportunities for players, and hopefully we see guys grow into that."
The selectors decided against rushing James Pattinson back after his recovery from a rib injury, although Inverarity said he was likely to travel to Perth to train with the squad, while Shane Watson was not considered as he gradually makes his return from injury.
"James Pattinson came under consideration for this squad but, at the time of the selection meeting, he had not bowled a ball in interstate or international cricket since 24 November," Inverarity said. "It is anticipated that James will go to Perth to practice with the Squad.
"Shane Watson has been making pleasing progress in recent weeks. He is planning on playing for his Sydney club tomorrow and will be available for selection for New South Wales' Ryobi Cup fixture against Western Australia on 30 January."
Clarke is expected to be fit for the Perth matches after his late withdrawal from the Hobart game due to an ankle injury. "Michael Clarke is making steady progress with the ankle he injured on 22 January and we are confident that Michael will recover in time to be fit for the first of the ODI fixtures against the West Indies on 1 February," Inverarity said.
Squad David Warner, Aaron Finch, Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Cutting, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here