Worn down Hussey won't play in IPL
Michael Hussey will become the latest Australian to withdraw from this year's IPL in an effort to reinvigorate himself ahead of the Ashes. Hussey is one of only two Australians, along with Brad Haddin, to have played in all 12 Tests and 10 one-day internationals since last year's tour of India, and was due to join the Chennai Super Kings after the limited-overs series against Pakistan next month.
Hussey is mired in the deepest trough of his international career - he reached 50 once in the six Tests against South Africa - and is desperate to rediscover peak form in time for the Ashes. In addition to the IPL, he is also believed to be considering standing down from Australia's six matches against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates as he seeks to rejuvenate both body and mind.
He could have travelled to South Africa for the last fortnight of the IPL, but will instead follow the lead of his national captain, Ricky Ponting, in standing down. Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke did not nominate for the 2009 IPL auction, citing their desire to focus on international cricket.
"We havent got any official intimation from Hussey yet," VB Chandrasekhar, the Super Kings' cricket operations director, told Cricinfo. "It's a big disappointment for us, but we have got to respect his need to take rest. No doubt, we will miss him a lot. He was expected to play from the ninth game onwards and play a crucial role. [Andrew] Flintoff leaves by then and we thought, even if the bowling gets weakened a bit, our batting would have got stronger."
In the IPL's inaugural season, Hussey posted the tournament's third highest score (116 not out) and the fourth highest batting average (84.00) in his four-game stint for the Super Kings. But he has struggled for form of late, averaging just 23.00 in eight Tests since the start of the Australian summer.
"I just spoke to the franchise and asked for the time off to be with family as my playing schedule has been very busy and they were very understanding,'' Hussey told AAP. "But I am available if we make the semi-finals [on May 22 and 23] and final.''
Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo