Commonwealth Bank Series 2011-12

'Playing every game like it is my last' - David Hussey

Brydon Coverdale

February 7, 2012

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

David Hussey guides one during his half-century, Australia v India, CB Series, 1st ODI, Melbourne, February 5, 2012
David Hussey: "If you keep doing well you give the selectors a hard task to make that phone call to say you're not in the team." © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: David Hussey
Series/Tournaments: Commonwealth Bank Series
Teams: Australia

David Hussey has been dropped and recalled from Australia's one-day team so many times that he treats every innings as his last. It's an approach that worked during Sunday's win over India at the MCG, where he made an important unbeaten 61. It's also a method that he hopes can carry him through until the 2015 World Cup, which he believes is a realistic goal despite his age.

Hussey will be 37 by then, but he wants to make himself such an indispensable part of the side that John Inverarity's selection panel cannot help but keep picking him. Inverarity said in selecting the squad for the start of the Commonwealth Bank Series that the focus would switch more towards World Cup planning over the next year, which could mean the phasing out of older players. At 34, Hussey is in that bracket.

But he has played only 40 one-day internationals and is desperate to keep adding to that tally, and still dreams of winning a baggy green. He hopes that if he can carry his form through the tri-series and help Australia win the tournament he can show that he has plenty left to offer, after he was part of the Australia squad that was knocked out in the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup.

"You want to be in a winning World Cup, it's probably second to playing Test cricket for Australia," Hussey said. "It is realistic [playing in 2015]. I want to keep doing well. If you keep doing well you give the selectors a hard task to make that phone call to say you're not in the team. If I keep doing well and contributing to the team's success, you just never know. It's very hard to drop someone from a series win."

Being dropped is something Hussey knows all too much about. Since he made his ODI debut nearly four years ago, he has been in and out of the side. But his recent form is good. Since being recalled last summer he has averaged 44.77 with the bat and has picked up 11 wickets at 21.18. It's the sort of form most ODI players would be thrilled with, but Hussey is still wary of how quickly things can change.

"Every innings is like the last innings for me," he said. "Hopefully I can contribute to team success and you never know, if your name pops up at the right time you might get that chance of playing Test cricket. I love playing for Australia and I've probably been dropped 14 times now - I don't want to be dropped again. At the moment I'm really enjoying it, playing every game like it is my last. It's working so far.

"[Being dropped is] one of those things, you spit the dummy for a day or two, offload on your wife and get back on the horse. What keeps you going is that goal of playing for Australia. You dust yourself off and get back out there.

"The body is healthy and I'm batting as well as I ever have. Hopefully that does continue. I still feel as fresh as ever and I love playing the game. I want to keep going. Playing for Australia is the pinnacle and I still harbour hopes of playing Test cricket. If I do well in the one-day arena you never know, a few doors may open."

There's also the desire not to be outshone by the newer members of the side. Hussey's Victoria team-mate Matthew Wade has made a strong start to his international career and Peter Forrest is expected to be given an opportunity in one of the next two games. The mix of experience and youth in the side worked on Sunday, and Hussey believes it is a good approach.

"At the moment it's a really good balance," he said. "You still get a lot from Ricky Ponting and watching Michael Clarke play and some of the older boys playing. But what it does do with the injection of youth, it keeps the older players doing well and working so hard at their game to increase their level of play. Watching Matt Wade come out the other night and play as well as he has really does motivate you to elevate your game to a new level."

Hussey will fly to Perth on Wednesday ahead of Australia's second match in the tri-series, against Sri Lanka on Friday. Australia then move on to Adelaide to play India two days later.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by farkin on (February 8, 2012, 1:17 GMT)

'Playing every game like it is my last' - David Hussey well you should you know that the selectors have not changed from the old ways of selection

Posted by Marcio on (February 7, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

All the best to him. He's definitely one of the best short-format players in the game, but has never been able to capitalise on his chances, for whatever reason. the key with these older guys is enthusiasm. if they have that they can maintain the fitness and training required to be good enough at that age. look at Brad Hogg as a perfect example. With the kind of scientific training around today - gym machines, yoga, creatine, nutition etc - players can have prolonged longevity - if they want it bad enough. And with all the money around I think you will see more guys playing till they are in their 40s. Genetics will play a part, as some guys just age better than others. I remember G. Chappel, Marsh and Lillee - basically middle aged by their early 30s, and playing like it. Their idea of a team session was having half a dozen coldies at the local bar!

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

I think the Aussie selectors should take David Hussey to the Caribean for the test series. His first class record seems to be good and he has shown good form in first class county cricket in England.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

It's a shame the selectors have waited so long to use him. Not only that, but he's pigeon-holed as a Limited-Overs specialist. This guy is also a sensational bat in the longer form of the game, as his First-Class average of almost 55 would suggest.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

david hussey is the best test cricketer that never was..

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

First-class average of nearly 55 with 41 tons, David Hussey is almost a Hodge mark II. Problems at no.3 in the Test team, um.... why not give little Huss just a sniff of Test cricket. Say 6 Tests like Hodge? Can bowl some spin, too. Seems logical but then again.....Australian selection policy has always been a Bermuda Triangle type sitaution. Keep punching Dave!

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

David Hussey is probably Australia's most valuable all-round cricketer.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

Y did they randomly drop him after the Sri Lanka series?

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

Could he bat at #3 in the test side?

Posted by Vincent49 on (February 7, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

I would love to see David Hussey in the test team. Everything the Hussey bros touch, turn to gold!!

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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