Australia in Bangladesh 2011 April 13, 2011

Hussey makes pitch for the future


Michael Hussey has made his pitch to be part of Australian cricket's difficult next phase - and backed it up with a consummate century in the final one-day match against Bangladesh in Mirpur.

Following his storming effort to regain his fitness in time to play some part in Australia's World Cup campaign, 35-year-old Hussey has no intention of stepping aside ahead of Test tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa later this year, and demonstrated his drive by cracking 108 from 91 balls against Bangladesh. It was his first ODI century since February 2007 against New Zealand. Before the match, Hussey had spoken of his desire to keep playing, and of the need for him, Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich to remain in the Test side as senior batsmen.

"Initially I wanted to play in the World Twenty20, and then the Ashes and the 50-over World Cup, those were my goals, and then go from there," Hussey said. "But I'm really enjoying my cricket for Australia, I feel like I'm still playing well, so while I feel like I'm enjoying being around the team and contributing to the team I definitely want to continue.

"It took me so long to get one game, over 10 years I think, so I want to try to play as many games as I possibly can. And I want to help the new guys coming in. We've got a nice blend I think at the moment of some experienced players and also some really young guys that are in, and I definitely see a bit of a role to play there in trying to help those guys adapt to international cricket, because it is tough work.

"I think having Ricky in the team is absolutely essential. He's definitely one of the best batsmen in the world and in Australia, and I think we need to be playing our best, best players."

While Ponting has been inspired by Sachin Tendulkar's second wind, Hussey also made note of Rahul Dravid's latter days as a source of succour. "For me personally, and I know Ricky as well, we've got a lot of inspiration out of watching guys like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid who have played so well in the last couple of years even being in their mid-30s," Hussey said. "I've got a lot of inspiration from those guys, and I try not to take too much notice of what's being said externally, I just try to concentrate on whether I can play a role for the team, whether I'm still enjoying it, whether I'm still contributing enough to the team.

"And if all those things are adding up then that's what I take most notice of. I've never toured Sri Lanka before, so certainly another goal of mine is to play in that country and try to do well. Because it's something I've not been able to achieve in international cricket."

The hamstring tear that saw Hussey cut from the initial World Cup squad provided him with a searching test of his regenerative powers. But the success of his rehab provided a strong indicator that Hussey's flesh remains as willing as his spirit. "I haven't had too many injuries throughout my career, but the injuries I have had, I've been lucky to be able to recover reasonably quickly, so hopefully that continues.

"I obviously don't want to have too many more injuries but it certainly does make you more aware of your body and more aware of making sure your recovery and rehab in between games and training and stuff. I'm more diligent with it now than I was in my mid-20s."

Greg Chappell, the national talent manager and selector, said Hussey, Ponting and Katich would remain "viable" options as long as they contributed runs and expertise. "I don't think we have to send any message to them,'' Chappell told the Age. ''They are mature cricketers, they know what the landscape is and they can't play forever. As long as they can bring something to the table, not only the runs or wickets, but the input they can have with the group, they are viable, but at some stage they won't be, that is just a fact of life. Nobody can put a time limit on it because nobody knows, you are continually monitoring the situation as a selector and when you feel there is a need for change you make change."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 16, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    @ Gilly4ever: You obviously don't know who Dan Christian plays for in Australian domestic cricket. I remember Darren Lehman took four years of being the BEST domestic player in Australia and he still wasn't selected for AUS on a regular basis. Also a couple of years ago it was widely reported that the two best spinners in Australia were Dan Cullen & Cullen Bailey but could they get into the AUS team? What do all of these have in common? THEY PLAY FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

  • Andrew on April 15, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    @gzawilliam - right on! Some players do earn the right to push on, Punter & a lessor extent Huss, have earned it. However, the older you get the more your current form will dictate whether you jump or get pushed! @Blake Houston - yeah Tests you MUST pick your best XI, where you can bring in a new player, make transition slow n steady. May change my mind once I've worked exactly how the Test Championship will work!!!!! I am much more brutal in ODIs & T20s. In ODIs we have the WC every 4 years & so we need to be brutal & turn players over who won't be around at the next WC. T20s I don't really care about, - yes there is a WC, but I think its a good blooding ground for ODIs. I think ODIs are not a bad place to blood potential Test players. @Marcio - yes good point. Honestly (this could derail the whole blog), I think Hussey is many times over a fitter player then any Indian cricketer, (Punter too), if SRT can perform near his best @ 38, Punter & Huss COULD too.

  • Gavin on April 15, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    @Gilly4ever - you can have your opinion on whether or not you think Ponting is in the best 11, but please get your fact straight when proposing the alternatives. Dan Christian averages under 25 with the bat in First Class and just over 40 in List A one dayers and his bowling average is above 33 in both forms.

  • John on April 15, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    @Gilly4ever, how do you figure that Ponting ISN'T one of the best 11 yet Hussey IS? They've both been in equally rubbish form for the past year or two and both have recently started to look good again. The only difference between the two is Ponting's record is far superior to Hussey's. He's also a better fielder than Hussey and is arguably fitter as well. I agree that Christian deserves a spot in the side, BUT you cannot replace a batsman @ 3 with an all-rounder, particularly one whose main role is that of a hitter. Christian should bat @ 6 or 7, therefore Hussey or Hastings are the people he should be replacing, not Ponting.

  • Adrian on April 15, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    Pick the best 11. Ponting isn't one of the best 11 players, so ditch him - who cares if he is a former captain - make him earn his spot. Michael Hussey *IS* one of the best 11 players, so stick with him, at least until he stops scoring runs. Age has nothing to do with it. Of course, on the topic of age, someone explain to me how Ponting can keep on failing over and over again yet still manage to keep out a 27 year old Dan Christian who is averaging over 50 with the bat and under 30 with the ball, as one of the best players in the Australian domestic system? I don't get it.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    GETACLUE, i couldnt agree anymore mate, pick ur BEST 11 especially in Test cricket, i think in T20's u should throw some young players in and see how they go , and in ODI's i dont mind the idea of rotating in 2-3 younger uncapped players every now and again for 1-2 games of a long series to give the seniors a rest and see what talent is out there and see if they can step up. But in test cricket u are not going to win versing quality opposition if u are carrying a bad spinner whether it be doherty, krejsa, cullen, beer, smith the list goes on and to also hughes and north have been given too many chances at least north is dropped now...if ur gonna give any youngsters a go in test it should be khawaja and chris lynn, they are ready 100% for test cricket, and for ODI's should be matthew wade, as a specialist batsman. also steve O'keefe shud be ahead of smith /doherty for test team spinner... he has shown in 4 day cricket that he gets ALOT of wickets and also handy runs.

  • Vipul on April 14, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    It seems in every country there are gems whose value goes undetected by their own countrymen. In India we had people who were calling for Sachin's retirement a few years ago and disparaging his achievements in general. Now we have Australia who are not exactly giving the respect M Hussey deserves. Come on, what else a batsman needs to do apart from scoring runs, staying fit and fielding well and looking hungry for more runs?

  • Lou on April 14, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    Have to agree with DVC.

    It's the test team that's the problem. We have Kat, Punter and Huss still maintaining a spot, that leaves no room for young blood, though of course if the selectors think that Smith is the next bloke off the rank there as well, then they might as well keep the oldies in the test team.

  • Richard on April 14, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    Huss is perhaps the best possible role model for and up and coming cricketer. What better mentoring of a young player than to bat with him. As long as he can justify his place in the team on merit we'd be nuts to drop him. I don't think some of the younger fans realise how rare a guy like him is

  • Ben on April 14, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    Whats the go will all these new guys scoring centuries and saving the team Callum , Smith , Payne , Warner , White ;-)

    And keep the useless oldies like David Hussey out of their ..

    The young guys always seem to do well at first then fail , remember Greg Blewett century in each innings ...

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