Australia's latest one-day hero April 28, 2006

Hussey happy with finisher's role

Cricinfo staff

Michael Hussey: an outstanding success at No.7 © Getty Images

Michael Hussey, the latest Australian run-machine, has suggested that he prefers batting lower down the order and isn't particularly keen to open the innings in one-day internationals. Out of the 31 ODI innings he has batted in, Hussey has played at No.7 18 times, and averages a staggering 132 at that position, with 13 not-outs. Not surprisingly, he wants to continue playing as a finisher.

"I do think it's a very important role in finishing the innings and I see myself as the best player to do that particular role at the moment," Hussey was quoted as saying in Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian daily. "I think we've got a lot of other guys up the order that play very well in those particular phases of the game, such as in the power plays, we've got guys who can hit over the field or hit through the field. Whereas me, personally, if I was in that situation, I think I'd need time to get in."

Hussey has been one of the architects of Australia's fine one-day form, expertly moulding his game to suit the needs of the side. "If we're in early trouble, I have some very set plans about where or how I want to play and I guess what sort of shots I want to play," he explained. "And then more as we're getting into the last phase of the game, with the last five, six, seven, 10 overs, I'm more picking which bowlers I can try and hurt. The other bowlers who I don't think I can hit for fours and sixes, I'm trying to get them into particular areas so I can get ones and twos or give the strike to the other batsman."

Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, agreed that having Hussey at No.7 was an insurance against early setbacks, and that it was the best position for him to bat at. "As we have seen with Michael Bevan and Darren Lehmann in the past, it is important to have someone there that you know can finish off games, can finish off innings for you," Ponting said. "It is almost like there is extra security down there if you do lose quick wickets ... you know he will come in and shore things up.

"But the other thing with him is that I have no concerns if we need to push him up the order, he could be No.1, No.4 or No.5 - he could be anywhere. What you want, ideally, in a one-day side is lots of flexibility, and that is what he gives you."