Ireland v Australia, ODI, Stormont June 22, 2012

David Hussey given Test hope


David Hussey's hopes of a belated call-up to the Australian Test team at the age of 34 are no longer as forlorn as they once seemed. John Inverarity, the national selector, has said that Hussey's inclusion in the slimline Cricket Australia contract list for 2012-13 indicates he is, alongside the uncontracted Peter Forrest and George Bailey, at the front of the queue for Test batting places.

On his arrival in the United Kingdom for Australia's ODI tour, Hussey said he had never felt more comfortable in the national set-up than he did right now, and expressed optimism that he might still earn the baggy green cap that has eluded him over a prolific first-class batting career. At times he has been passed over for lesser credentialed batsmen, but Inverarity said that now he was as close as ever, needing to perform staunchly over the next 12 months to push his way in.

"If you look at the middle order options should we need replacements," Inverarity said. "We have got our top six at the moment but if you are looking for a middle order option and the ones that come very much to mind are Peter Forrest, George Bailey and David Hussey. They are the ones that are to the fore at the moment."

The dearth of highly performing young batsmen coming through the Australian system has been a cause of concern for some time, as indicated by the fact that Inverarity and his fellow selectors - the captain Michael Clarke excepted - chose only six specialist batsmen out of 17. The onus now is on Bailey, Forrest, Steve Smith and others including Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja to lift their standards.

"It has been a case for many years in Australian history. Bradman in the 1930s, Neil Harvey, Greg Chappell, Ricky Ponting, Doug Walters all these types of players coming through," Inverarity said. "We would very much like to have some of those players emerging. We need more good young middle order batsmen coming through. At the moment they are not really obvious but we have some good back-up players in Bailey, Forrest and David Hussey."

In contrast to Hussey, Ed Cowan is a Test batsman, having now played seven matches, but did not receive a contract, partly due to his Test-only status, and partly because he is yet to fully grasp the spot he was given on Boxing Day against India. Inverarity is an unabashed fan of Cowan's intelligence and even temper, and described him as an "integral" member of the Test XI.

"Everyone must keep performing, but Ed is firmly in place as our opening batsman at the moment. He is firmly in place," Inverarity said. "He is a fine young man, an intelligent man and he is an integral part of the test team. We have in as captain of the Australia A team and we think he has real leadership potential. He has four matches in England which will be terrific preparations for the Ashes the following season."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Justin on June 25, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Yeah - come on - give Dave Hussey a chance. The guys has scored countless runs and should be given a chance at the top level. Even if he only lasts a few seasons it will give the younger guys a chance to build up their runs at the first class level and then take that experience with them when they play international tests. It will be a real shame if D Hussey finished cricket without a test match behind him.

  • Rob on June 25, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Age should not be a factor Hussey is solid and although he hasn't played in tests he has a lot of valuable international experience so is less likely to freeze in the middle. There seems to be plenty of good bowlers coming through your ranks but no real stand out batsmen p.s Tom Cooper sounds like he good be one for the future with a few tricks up his sleeve

  • Christopher on June 24, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    @RyanHarrisGreatCricketer...Daniel Brettig takes the time to research his views as do all those who wish their views to be respected. Khawaja had a fine record & style until he developed the habit of walking himself front on.This has resulted in no innings over 36 in his last 12 knocks,but his average of 42 was at one time 53 with a good conversion of 50s to 100s & encourages perserverence.Hughes is currently playing for Worcester where his 4 List A,3 x 20/20 & 1 First Class game have yielded 2 x 100s,3 x 50's & 447 runs at 63.85 collectively.With a 20/20 ave of 41.75,List A ave of 43.16,1st class ave of 46.52 & Test ave of 34.58 with 3 x 100s,there is every suggestion that he is worth perservering with.His plaudits include;Bradman medallist,Steve Waugh Medallist,Shield Player of the Year & several records in Wisden.It is my well researched view,supported by DeCosta & others,that Hughes had his game dismantled before the 09 Lions game by Nielsen causing all his subsequent difficulties.

  • Christopher on June 24, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    Well observed @zenboomerang.I advocated something similar on an earlier contracting article.For the selection process to be entirely professional and dispassionate,the points system must extend to Shield and List A.Otherwise,the process by which Shield players may gain the opportunity to develop points playing for Australia remains as arbitrary as ever.As you have observed re Invererity and Cowans,there seems an urgent need to remove the personal equation from professional sport.The points system is fundamentally flawed in that the initial selections,both from state level and of whom remains in the side are entirely arbitrary.They are in no way performance based and could be as easily applied to Australias last failed 18 months with the identical selection results.Put simply-despite the existence of this system,players can still be excellent in Shield with no guarantee of selection and can be poor at Test level with no guarantee of being dropped.Its the appearance of action sans action

  • Roo on June 24, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    @hyclass... I have become befuddled by CA comments - especially on Cowan... Inverarity says Cowan has a future in Tests; CA didn't give him a contract yet he has already played 7 Tests which gives him 35 pts for contract purposes (& agree he doesn't deserve one at present)... Well above the required level & Cummins has 15 pts - lots of mixed messages going on here... Consistently inconsistent... I also would like to see CA give pts for Aust A games & SShield - at present a player could get more pts for a ODI/T20 series than a Test series - aka last summer CB series with Oz playing 11 ODI's = 22pts while the Oz v Ind 4 Tests yields 20 pts & potentially could be played for 9 extra days...

  • Roo on June 24, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    @hyclass... Yes, agree on Glenn Maxwell, he has done well with bat (FC @45 sr@76) & ball (@37) for Vic - not sure why he isn't talked about more often?... If he continues to bat well & develops his bowling more he would be a very handy no.6/7 for Oz... Comparing Steve Smith ( FC bat@41 sr@58 - bowl@55) & both 23y.o. ... Guess the NSP see Smith as a more experienced player but one wonders about selection at times...

  • Roo on June 24, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    @smudgeon... agree on Bailey & Cooper... One only has to look at Tassies Shield & One Dayer record over the last few years to see Baileys captaining value to the team... I'm very surprised that the NSP selected Cowan (Capt) & Forrest (VC) for the Aust A squad, while Bailey missed out & Paine is the only keeper going & previously been called a possible Capt for Oz... Even Klinger has much more captaining experience... Seems the NSP are pushing Cowan, Forrest ahead of more knowledgeable heads... Re: Cooper - his 2 Chairmans games against India produced a 182n.o. & 38 while for SA performed a couple of match winning innings last season - both FC & OD'ers... He's been on my "to watch" list for a while now...

  • Aswin on June 24, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    if australia dont have so-called quality young batsmen, den who are JOE BURNS and TOM COOPER? David Hussey is good, bailey is ok but forrest is horrible. And why doesnt brettig understand that Hughes and Khawaja are nowhere in the pecking order.?

  • Adrian on June 24, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    Michael Hussey isn't being dumped due to age. So why is his YOUNGER BROTHER David not being considered due to age? David Hussey has averaged 55 in FC cricket, and averaged 54 last season too! He is proven at international level and surely should be in the next test XI. Why does he have to wait 12 months even?

  • Shubash on June 24, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    Heisenburg, lovin you're line up mate. I can't wait to see the batting and bowling partnership between numbers 8. and 10.

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