ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Australia v Kenya, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore
Australia mull Michael Hussey selection
March 12, 2011
Ricky Ponting has nominated David Hussey and Steven Smith as the men in danger of being axed from Australia's side to squeeze Michael Hussey in for Sunday's match against Kenya. However, the Australians won't be tempted to rest any of their best XI, with Ponting's men desperate for action having been twiddling their thumbs during a two-week break since their last full game.
Hussey has trained strongly since joining the squad in Bangalore as the replacement for Doug Bollinger, impressing the medical staff with how quickly he has recovered from surgery on his hamstring. The Australians will wait to see how Hussey handles Saturday's training session before confirming him in the side, but Ponting said it would be a difficult call as to who would miss out.
"It's going to be a very tough decision, and one that up until a week ago we probably didn't think we'd have to make," Ponting said. "I've had a close look at [Mike] the last couple of days in training. He's striking the ball really well. The physio forced him to do some quite intense running yesterday out on the ground. He got through that particularly well.
"I think if you looked at two players that you'd have to single out who are in the same sort of position as Mike plays, it's going to be unfortunately probably his brother or someone like Steven Smith. They're the roles that Mike will come and play for us. We'll have that sorted out by the morning."
The chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, was due to join the touring group on Saturday evening to replace David Boon as the selector on duty, and the Hussey decision is the only one likely to be required for this game. The backup players Callum Ferguson, Tim Paine and John Hastings will remain on the sidelines, but could come in to contention for Wednesday's clash with Canada.
The first-choice batsmen are in need of some valuable time in the middle, having not batted since the win over New Zealand in Nagpur on February 25. While sides like Sri Lanka and England have only one group match remaining, the Australians have three to play, and men like Ponting and Cameron White have spent hardly any time at the crease.
"We won't be resting," Ponting said. "We've had enough rest over the last 16 days. We've had about one-third of a game in the last 16 days. We've trained really hard, we trained really well leading into the Sri Lanka game and this week since we've been here in Bangalore, we've trained particularly well again, so we're really keen to get out there and play some cricket.
"What it does do, it gives you a chance to prepare very well. We should be exceptionally well prepared for the next two games we've got coming up because we've had such a long break. It gives our players a chance to get over any little niggles they might have had from the previous games as well. We're probably the only team in the tournament that will have a break that long. "
The Australians have played Kenya twice before in World Cups, winning with relative ease on both occasions, and the Kenyan outfit of 2011 is notably weaker than their previous line-ups. But Ponting said there was no way his men would slip in to complacency against Kenya, whose only wins against Test nations since 2003 have come against Zimbabwe.
"We won't take any game lightly," Ponting said. "We want to go out there and play the best cricket that we can. We know that we've got Kenya and Canada and then Pakistan just around the corner, then you've got quarter-finals and semi-finals. We haven't played a great deal of cricket yet in the tournament, so it's all about us getting our way right in the business end of the tournament, so that means that we go out tomorrow and play the best game of cricket that we possibly can."
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Plus: most runs in a Test by a New Zealander, and c&b by the same bowler twice in a Test
It refuses to let India play Pakistan there, but hasn't been forthcoming with reasons why