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Australia v Kenya, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Australia mull Michael Hussey selection

Brydon Coverdale in Bangalore

March 12, 2011

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

Michael Hussey arrives for Australia's training session, Bangalore, March 9, 2011
Michael Hussey had been training hard since his arrival in India © AFP

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."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 26 
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Posted by Luke on (March 14, 2011, 12:27 GMT)

Michael Clarke could have a rest against Canada if they want to keep White and be fair to D-Huss. A bat-off for the last spot going into the quarters.

Posted by Peter on (March 14, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

Quite right @Meety - although he got a ripper against Kenya, White should now move aside for D Hussey for the rest of the tournament. Better to get David in now against Canada and Pakistan, rather than drafting him back in for the quarters. As you say also, Pup did send down a few during the Aus summer...but I think considering the chronic state of his back, it'd wise to just let him bat and leave the bowling to others. With White's bowling, I can't think which ODI series it was a couple of years back, but he went for quite a few in only a few overs once or twice...and Punter hasn't bowled him since. Based on this, when we're coming up with equations as to which part timers can cover a few overs, it's best to leave White out of discussions as Punter clearly won't bowl him. I first remember him bowling in IDDs when he was in his early 20s...he didn't look too bad early on, but he seems not to have kicked on with the ball since.

Posted by Andrew on (March 13, 2011, 9:50 GMT)

@A Gray - yeah I've been saying that too! @pj3000 - Pup did bowl a few overs during the Pom series. I dunno why White doesn't bowl at all these days - he was reasonable value for say a 2 or 3 over spell.

Good news, Oz won the toss, means eventually M Huss will get some time in the middle.

Bad news - D Huss got replaced for M Huss. Hopefully White will get dropped for a game against Canada - so D Huss gets some game time.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 13, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

I have nothing against White but he should give way to Mike Hussy. Steven Smith has contributed he had taken vital wickets, scores pretty fast and easily the best fielder at present a very good team player as well and he is very young and has room for improvement some have reached the saturated point and on the down hiil

Posted by Ryan on (March 13, 2011, 8:35 GMT)

@azzaman333: Have to agree with you re Smith vs Dave Hussey in terms of team balance. However, I'd keep both of them in there and bring Mike Hussey in for Cameron White, who has looked out of touch (apart from a 22 N.O. off 28 balls against NZ 2 weeks ago) since the ODI's against England 2 months ago. Mike Hussey clearly needs match practice, as the Aussies last group game is against Pakistan, then the Quarter Finals kick in. This might sound like a bold move but I would have Hastings in for Krejza (can't imagine the selectors dropping Tait) as he would be very handy in sub-continent conditions with his changes of pace. Also, the selectors could do with giving Paine a game today. As an Aussie fan, I'd love to see Mike Hussey bat well today and to see Australia post a decent total. Aussies FTW and soon to be 33 unbeaten on the trot!!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 13, 2011, 8:17 GMT)

I am a very big fan of white,,,,but looking at his form i think hussey should replace white..even better option is dropping out krejza....he basically does nothing....all he does is bowl okay...and gives like 50 runs in 10 overs....even d. hussey, white and smith can bowl as good as him....if they drop krejza, then even if aussie lose quick wkts they have a chance to win.....

Posted by Peter on (March 13, 2011, 8:09 GMT)

@ Anthony Gray: point taken, you could cover for Krazy with the part timers: although not with White (his file was stamped 'never to bowl at international level again' some years ago) and not Pup (he's got the lower back of an 80 year old). But if Tait/Lee/Johnson are giving you 30 overs of raw pace, you could cover the other 20 between Watson's impressive seamers, David Hussey's tidy offies and Smith's ever-improving leggies. It would be rough on Krazy though: he's about the only spinner in the country who can actually turn the ball and he's got some good old fashioned grunt about his work. He was hard done by when dumped after two Tests a couple of years back and it's good to see him get another crack at international level.

Posted by aaron on (March 13, 2011, 4:03 GMT)

@something_witty, Mate you need runs on the board first to even use those 5-10 overs to defend. I cant see in any possible way how smith is gonna make more runs than huss. our problem in recent times have been the batting not the bowling and especially with the quality of the bowling unit we got for the world cup, i reckon strengthening the batting with a pure batsman at the expense of the bits and pieces allrounder will help the teams cause. We are an attacking team and we should play as we used to. if we take the cautious approach like the saffers we will end up with the same results they had in the past.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 13, 2011, 3:46 GMT)

cam white should be axed..he's not scoring at a great pace and hindrance to the team he should be given a scare to improve his batting and hitting........

Posted by Peter on (March 13, 2011, 0:23 GMT)

The chance that David Hussey might make way for brother Michael reminds me of a joke: Michael and David show up at their parents' house one Christmas and are greeted at the door by their father. Their dad says: "G'day Mr Cricket...David.'

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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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