Pakistan v Australia 2012

Michael Hussey open to promotion

Daniel Brettig

August 27, 2012

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Michael Hussey provided Australia's innings a late lift, Afghanistan v Australia, only ODI, Sharjah, August 25, 2012
Michael Hussey made 49 in difficult conditions in Sharjah against Afghanistan © AFP
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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

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Posted by Beertjie 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.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy 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.

Posted by satish619chandar 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.

Posted by mylife4cricket 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.

Posted by landl47 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.

Posted by Chris_P 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.

Posted by hmmmmm... 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.

Posted by niteshpanchal 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.

Posted by Meety 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.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster 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.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (August 27, 2012, 20:24 GMT)

Pak will win the series as Australia is no better than ENG in subcomtinent

Posted by GHemrajani on (August 27, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

Mr Cricket, the best batsman ever. Can bat in all 3 formats of the game with equal ease.

Posted by zdrgn on (August 27, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

that's why he is mr. cricket.

Posted by Hammond on (August 27, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

Hussey always was an opening batsman. No idea why we stuck with Watson, unless we just didn't have any quality alternative.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (August 27, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

That's why we call Hussey Mr. Cricket. Put him in any situation he will adapt to the conditions. I hope Australia lose this series because this is best time to beat them under extreme heat conditions. Wo ho.

Posted by Rabbito on (August 27, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

absolute champion.....still underated and australian cricket would have not achieved half what it has over the last decade without him. Let alone where the team would be today without him...one hard guy to replace....actually, impossible to replace.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (August 27, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

What a fantastic playr he z,cheers 4rm pakistan..

Posted by punter-gilly-haydos-mcgrath-warne on (August 27, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

Mike we will love watching you bat were ever it will be.Wishing you good luck and waiting for your match winning centuries!!

Posted by Beertjie on (August 27, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

Husey could swop with Watson and slot in at #6 in the tests so as to hive the latter more time to recover from bowling. Given that Clarke seems to be reluctant to do so, he would be more likely to safeguard the team from losing wickets, especially against the old foe!

Posted by   on (August 27, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

Mike hussey is just the most complete cricketer.

Posted by rbrb on (August 27, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

agreed with landl47 n this iz y he iz called mr cricket.

Posted by Dashgar on (August 27, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Right on Landl, that's why we call him Mr Cricket. Love that man.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (August 27, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

agree with landl47 completely. he is a gem of a professional

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 27, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

Mr. Cricket, who is up there with the best batsmen in the world, inc. Amla, Clarke, Kallis, Kohli, etc, could bat anywhere really.

Posted by landl47 on (August 27, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

If you were starting a cricket team and you wanted a side with the right attitude, the first person you'd pick is Mike Hussey. Have you ever heard him complain that the schedule is too hard on him? Have you ever heard him say he'd rather play for an IPL team than for Australia? No, nor have I. He's 37 and as keen as he's ever been to do whatever his country wants. A great player and, even more importantly, a great guy.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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