Australian grounds not suited to new movement August 2, 2006

Hussey plays down reverse-swing threat

Cricinfo staff

Michael Hussey is "itching" to play his first Ashes Test © Getty Images

Michael Hussey expects the reverse-swing that rocked Australia's 2005 Ashes campaign will not be such a significant factor this summer. Injuries to Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff, who were lethal exponents of the movement last year, have given the hosts extra hope of regaining the urn and Hussey has provided another boost.

"I don't think it [reverse-swing] will be as big a factor," Hussey, who is "itching" to make his debut against England, told AAP. "The balls are different, the conditions are different." Adelaide's barren pitches help scuff the ball and the MCG offers some assistance, but the rest of Australia's grounds seem unsuitable for the late movement that was a particular problem in England for the left-handers.

Despite the prediction, Hussey, who was playing county cricket as Australia lost the series, said the batsmen were spending more time countering the often confusing tactic in the nets. "In the past, I don't think too much notice was given to reverse-swing," he said. "So the bowlers probably got the jump on the batsmen a little bit by really working on it and using it as a weapon. Now, hopefully, the batters can fight back by becoming better players of reverse-swing."

Steve Harmison took 11 wickets in the second Test against Pakistan last week and is likely to play a huge part in the Ashes, especially if Jones and Flintoff are missing. "His bowling's definitely suited to the Australian conditions and having toured Australia before, he knows what to expect now," Hussey said. "I think that will hold him in very good stead, so he will be one of their key bowlers for the tour."