Pakistan v Australia 2012 August 27, 2012

Michael Hussey open to promotion


Michael Hussey is so established as Australia's middle-order fulcrum that his absence from England earlier this year was considered by the team management to have been critical in suffering a 0-4 defeat. Nonetheless, Hussey is happy to entertain the prospect of abandoning that role to open the batting should the dual duties of batting up top and keeping wicket be deemed too taxing for Matthew Wade.

Parental leave caused Hussey to miss the ODI tour of England, and he believes the break has refreshed him for assignments to come. On the eve of Australia's first match against Pakistan in Sharjah, Hussey acknowledged the extreme heat of the UAE in August-September required a degree of flexibility in how the team's resources were managed, and said he would happily accept a promotion if required to ease Wade's burden.

"I'm open to it, it doesn't bother me," Hussey said in Sharjah. "Whatever the team really needs I'd be more than happy to try to help out, as long as I'm somewhere in that batting order, I'm happy to bat anywhere from Nos. 1 to 11.

"If Wadey did make a hundred in these pretty oppressive conditions batting first and then had to go straight out and keep, that would be a difficult thing. Or if we were chasing in extremely hot conditions and he fielded the whole 50 overs and didn't feel like he could 100% concentrate on opening the innings for us then it might be something we could look at.

"But he's a pretty fit guy Wadey and I think he plays that role pretty well, what's he's been doing at the moment, so he'd have to be in a pretty bad way I think for them to try and change that tactic, but certainly we have to be flexible as batsmen, we've learned to become more flexible with Twenty20 cricket coming in and things like that, so I'd certainly have no dramas with it."

Though he started life as an opening batsman, Hussey began his evolution into the complete player of today when shifted down the order in English county cricket, and enjoys the posting in ODIs. His blend of power, timing, placement and hustled singles has been vital to Australia's progress in many matches, particularly in the later overs when batting has become difficult for new batsmen coming to the wicket to deal with reverse swing, spin and the white ball's loss of colour.

"I'm just trying to play my role in the team and trying to play the situation of the game," Hussey said. "It might've come off in the last game but there's been hundreds of times that it hasn't come off and it's been up to other guys. But it's certainly a role I enjoy, I like being in those tight, pressure situations, trying to work the team out of it, but I wouldn't say I'm an expert at it or anything like that, I just try to do my role in the team."

The heat of the region at this time of year forced the bizarre scheduling of the ODI matches to span two days, concluding around 2am local time. Hussey said the Australians would not be using it as an excuse should they slip up against Pakistan over the next three matches.

"I don't think we'll be letting the heat be an excuse for any poor performance," Hussey said. "I've played in Chennai, even in just Twenty20 games, and that's a lot hotter than playing out here. In Chennai the temperature might be only mid-30s but the humidity is unbelievable. That's probably the most oppressive conditions I've ever had to play in.

"Having said that, it's still extremely tough here. I only batted for 15 overs the other day [to make 49 from 37 balls] and I was pretty knackered by the end of it."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mashuq on August 28, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    @Meety, it seems you misread my suggestion. With Cowan and Warner opening, Watson has moved to 3, so I did not suggest that Hussey should open in tests - merely move to #3 there too, since Clarke seems reluctant to adopt Ian Chappell's suggestion that he move up to #3.

  • Sean on August 28, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Ooopppss! Still relying on the ol' boys ey aussys haha...i suppose you could always pick the pakistani born lad, he's your best bet.

  • Satish on August 28, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Perhaps the most reliable option Australia has. I wonder how much pressure Clarke need to handle once Mr.Cricket exits. The likes of Baileys, Forrests, Smiths, Christians can't replace the ultimate guy of the team.. I would still play Mike at 5 in with David at 4.. Bailey at 6 and Christian at 7 followed by 4 bowlers.. Open with Wade and Warner followed by Clarke.

  • cric on August 28, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    i think its time{too late considering his age} for hussey to stepup the order.A man like him with these much experience should not be pushed down the order.i think he should bat at no:3 or no:4 instead of no:6 or 7.

  • John on August 28, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    @Imsrk: you had better hope Australia is worse than England in the subcontinent, because the last time England played Pakistan in ODIs and T20Is in the UAE, England won the ODIs 4-0 and the T20Is 2-1. I'm surprised you have forgotten that, since it happened earlier this year, but perhaps you only remember what you want to remember and I don't suppose you want to remember Pakistan being thrashed by England.

  • Peter on August 28, 2012, 0:32 GMT

    Age for Hussey isn't as relative as with many others the same age for the simple fact that he waited so long to come onto the side, his enthusiasm is still very high. As long as he produces the required form, not rock the boat (al la Katich) he should continue for as long as his form remains. The problem at his age is that his next run of failures should end his international career, something a young player has in credit. He is a credit to the overall game.

  • martin on August 28, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    There are a few Pakistani fans claiming Australia are as bad as England in the subcontinent - perhaps looks at the stats to check your claims.Every English bat struggles against spin. Australia don't have the same issue - M Hussey and Clarke are probably two of the best, non-Asian, players of spin. DHussey has done well in the IPL and Warner may have struggled against spin on bouncier pitches but a look at his IPL record would suggest he is 'handy'.

    As to the recent series against England, that was really an experimental blended Aus A/Aus team playing in the middle of winter - a 'warm up' for this series! I'm looking forward to a tight series between two resurgent teams.

  • Nitesh on August 27, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    Mr Cricket, Hats off to you when I met you at Darwin MCG function when whole team came here for pre season training before World T20. He is a great personality, no doubt about that. As a player he is a perfect Cricket to me, everytime he touches ground to play internationals, he gives his best. Good luck Mr Cricket for your future & world T20 to all other team members.

  • Andrew on August 27, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    @landl47 - "Have you ever heard him say he'd rather play for an IPL team than for Australia?" - he actually had Cric Oz "force" him to play in the Champ League prior to a test series, (no blame on him!). @Beertjie - Hussey opening in tests IMO, would be career suicide. I think due to where he is at in his career, a move to the top of the order in tests would finish him off.

  • Jay on August 27, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    A terrific player - Mike Hussey. Pretty much the only Aussie player along with Pup (Michael Clarke) who is world class at the moment. The rest are ordinary. I hope he continues to play for some more years in both tests and ODIs for Australia.

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