Australia lose Hussey for India tour
Australia's injury concerns have worsened ahead of their limited-overs tour of India with Michael Hussey ruled out of the trip due to a strained left hamstring. Hussey is the third Australian to come out of the ICC World Twenty20 carrying a hamstring injury with Shane Watson already missing the India tour and Ricky Ponting expected to sit out the opening games.
James Hopes will join the squad in Watson's place while Brad Haddin, initially added as a cover for Ponting, has now been named as Hussey's replacement. Adam Voges, the Western Australia middle-order batsman who was leading Australia A in their tour of Pakistan this month, will travel with the group until Ponting recovers.
Hussey suffered his problem during the loss to India on Saturday and Alex Kountouris, the team physio, said it was unusual for Australia to experience so many soft-tissue injuries. "There is no one separate reason for the problem," Kountouris said.
"But it is possible that the hectic nature of Twenty20 cricket combined with soft grounds and the high frequency of travel may have provided the additional stress required to cause injury in players who are at the start of their cricketing season and therefore lack conditioning. He [Hussey] will continue to be assessed over the next 48 hours in South Africa before returning home to continue his rehabilitation."
Kountouris also said there had been question-marks over Brad Hodge and Haddin, both with hamstring soreness. He said the pair was "hanging by a thread" and Hodge might not have played had Australia reached the Twenty20 final. "He will be right in a week," Kountouris said. "He's just hanging in there. It's just sore and tight so I think it will be fine."
Hopes' call-up is reward for his strong domestic season in 2006-07 as well as a productive tour of Pakistan with Australia A this month. He made 144 in a Test against Pakistan A and took five wickets in the two-match series, as well as striking 55 in the first one-day game of the tour. Voges averaged 44.33 in the three ODIs against Pakistan A.
Bracken was granted leave to return home as his wife prepares to give birth to their first child. Hilditch said Bracken was unlikely to miss the whole series.
"It is anticipated Nathan will rejoin the squad in India as soon as possible," Hilditch said. "At this stage no replacement player has been called upon and we will take this on a day-by-day basis."
The squad is scheduled to fly straight to India from South Africa on Tuesday ahead of the seven ODI series. The first match is at Bangalore on Saturday.