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The Ashes 2010-11

Michael Hussey told to 'take some risks'

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 12, 2010

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Michael Hussey on the attack during his 35, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 1st day, October 9, 2010
Michael Hussey has faced a struggle for Test runs over the past two years © Getty Images
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Greg Chappell, the Australian selector, has encouraged Michael Hussey to play with freedom so he can continue to be a force at international level. Hussey has gained the support of Andrew Hilditch and Chappell this week, but has been battling for form over the past two years, averaging 37 in his past 35 Tests.

With the Australian squad for the first Ashes Test due to be named on Monday, Chappell offered Hussey some advice. "As you get older, the difficulty is that you are aware of the things that can go wrong and you're aware of how hard it is to make runs at that level consistently," Chappell told AAP. "Before you have all that experience, you tend to go out and you can play with a little bit more freedom."

Chappell said finding that freedom was harder as you got older. "The only way you can achieve is to get into the same state of mind that you were in as a younger player," he said. "That's the hardest part of being an older player, having that freedom to go out and take some risks.

"You've got to risk getting out to score runs and that's the hardest thing to do. We all become more conservative. I haven't seen anyone who hasn't suffered from that."

Hussey is now 35, the same age as Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting. The aging line-up has created concerns about the present and fears for the future, with it highly unlikely two of the trio will be playing for their country in a year.

Chappell is a believer in young talent but the next rung of batting contenders did not perform well during the week. There were no big scores from Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja or Callum Ferguson in the first few days of their ongoing matches, easing the pressure on the incumbents.

Hussey is not playing this week but scored 71 not out, 15 and 6 not out in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Hilditch said it was important to regard batsmen who average 50 in Test cricket highly. "He's been a great player for Australia, but he will be looking to get runs to stay in the squad, like everyone else," Hilditch said. Hussey's mean is currently 49.75 from 54 Tests.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Bigbanger666 on (November 16, 2010, 11:28 GMT)

Hussey do us all a great favor and quit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Meety on (November 15, 2010, 6:55 GMT)

@popcorn - agree except the problem with North is the Feast or Famine trend with his scores. Can we afford someone that may make 8 single figure scores but also hit 1 50 & 1 century??? I think it means that he is a bloke that is doing the best he can - when he gets his eye in he makes it count, trouble is I don't think his "Eyes" are up to Test standard.

Posted by Meety on (November 15, 2010, 6:50 GMT)

@gandabhai - re: Bradman - what 20 years not enough for you???? @akshay4india - great first line, but Greg Chappell has inherited this problem - not caused it. I think he will be the next Chairman of Selectors & I would imagine a sound improvement in outcomes. @Eliyah Abass Syed - spot on brother! I think they would have to repeal the Anti Bodyline laws to stop him! @mak102480 - I agree with your last line, but this arguement has been done to death. If Bradman had played in India his average probably would of been higher. What you don't seem to realise - is that the 70% of matches he played against England were against the best opposition available at the time. So this would be like SRT having to play alot more Tests against Sth Africa - rather then the pathetic 2 Tests recently (not SRTs fault). He would of had to come & play in Oz more often in the late 90s & early 2000s. Fact is more teams = more distortion. This arguement has been done to death.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2010, 2:39 GMT)

@popcorn and Nitin - the thing is its NOT working. Yes we won all our tests at home last year, but by no means were we really convincing. And we should have won them; we were at home and both teams were lowly ranked and having a few dramas. And the thing about North, yes he's got a lot of 100s, but someone with his amount of centuries in 20 tests should be averaging around 50, not mid 30s, which just indicates that he either gets in or makes nothing. You need someone who is going to more often than not make scores of 30 or 40, and then converting into 100s, not scores between 0 and 10. The thing is, the last year and half have seen declining performances from the Australians, and we can't keep saying "its cos the greats have retired". As the strength of the Aus A squad shows, theres plenty of talent waiting, and someone needs to grow some balls and make a change somewhere.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2010, 8:06 GMT)

how many bad scores does Hussy need to get his average below 50? Is that what they r waiting for??

Posted by   on (November 14, 2010, 2:36 GMT)

He doesn't know where his off stump is any more. Many a left hander has lost their place because they waft at the wrong ball, or leave the odd straight one. If he had been playing in another era, he would have been dropped 6 months ago, but these days it is a little different. However, I think we can safely say that he is very unlikely to to score a match winning or match saving innings in this series, so he should not be in the squad.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2010, 0:54 GMT)

A lot of people have short memories.Every eight to ten years we have this conversation. The selectors remain loyal with the incumbent batsmen (far more than bowlers) and then, eventually, there is generational change. Players come in with comments like... "is he up to it" or "how will he cope with the added pressure of Test cricket"? Well they usually do well and we congratulate the selectors on the great job they have done. Rarely does a batsman now get selected in Australia under the age of 25, which means that they are at the peak of their productivity when they come into the side and there is only one way to go from there...Hussey, Katich and North are examples. I think that Katich, Ponting, Hussey and North are past their best. We need to blood one or two batsmen this series who will take up the challenge to be a part of that side for the next 10 years. We all know who they are and the selectors need the courage to bring them in.

Posted by Bradman12345sachin6 on (November 13, 2010, 19:06 GMT)

I think Greg has made a good point. Worth trying out :)

Posted by landl47 on (November 13, 2010, 18:55 GMT)

If I was Greg Chappell and I wanted to get Hussey out of the test team, that's the exact advice I would have given him. He goes out, has a few wafts and gets out and the selectors decide they need someone younger. Where Hussey is now can be judged by his 71* against Sri Lanka (with ONE boundary) when he batted to the end of the innings. He simply didn't have it in him to smash the ball around. I think Hussey is a great bloke, one of the hardest triers I have ever seen, someone with a great love for cricket and in his day a superb batsman. I hope he's able to end his career with dignity- not going out and playing silly cricket. BTW, to compare his situation with that of Tendulkar or Bradman is ridiculous; they're two of the greatest ever and good as he is, Hussey isn't anywhere near that class. I send him my best wishes; cricket needs more people like him.

Posted by Strayan_in_USA on (November 13, 2010, 15:34 GMT)

Hussey was unfairly overlooked by selectors for years. He was amazingly good for a couple of years after his initial selection and unfortunately his production has tailed off recently. I still think he deserves the chance to prove himself during the Ashes. Chappell's advice is actually right on the money. I have felt he has not played with any of the freedom he showed at the start of his career. Where has that cover drive gone? He is just way too tentative outside of off stump. He needs to start thrashing balls through the covers like he used to. It is his signature shot that got him where he is today. Yes he will always be a patient batsman, but he needs to get on the front foot a little more and take it to the bowlers. If I could offer him one more piece of advice it would be to keep the ball out of the air when he is trying to accelerate his scoring. That isn't being aggressive. For him it just being stupid. Good luck Huss. Prove all your doubters wrong. I think you are great.

Posted by Winsome on (November 13, 2010, 15:15 GMT)

mak102, I won't get into the rest of your response but Bradman played for 20 years. Regardless of how many matches he played how hard is it to keep playing at that level, considering how many years he missed from the war?

The Aus selectors are mind-bogglingly conservative. I am tired of people who say there is no-one knocking down the doors. So do we not try players because someone isn't averaging 100 already with the season 6 weeks old? What are young players supposed to do? Michael Clarke was hardly burning it up when he was brought into the team as a youngster.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2010, 13:47 GMT)

Hussey is the best batsmen in the present australian batting line up after michael clarke.......................He is struggling right now but iam sure he will regain his form

Posted by   on (November 13, 2010, 13:41 GMT)

agree with popcorn. why change what's working? making chappell selector was not a wise move, OZ.

Posted by popcorn on (November 13, 2010, 11:01 GMT)

What's the rush? Hussey,Katich,Ponting are playing solidly at the age of 35. Remember Huss got a break when he was 30.Tendulkar is playing good Test Cricket at 37,Dravid and Laxman too. AB and Gooch played till they were 40. Can't understand this "off with his head" when it comes to Marcus North either. Do you expect batsmen to score centuries or 50's every time they bat? North has scored plenty of 100's, remember?

Posted by   on (November 13, 2010, 10:59 GMT)

Hussey has been frustrating to watch for a couple of years in test cricket. I hope he finds the form that got him there in the first place, His experience is invaluable, and if he can't bring it in the Ashes, then I think that has to be enough. Australia is in need of new blood in the test team, and the talent is there, but those guys just need to be given the chance.

Posted by mak102480 on (November 13, 2010, 10:11 GMT)

@ all the ppl who jumped at gandabhai's comment, I think he meant more in terms of matches played and not in years played...i think everybody would agree that it is harder to maintain an avg over, say, 100 tests than 50 matches... @ ppl who say that players of yester years would have avg'ed even higher had they played in today's cricket (and not on uncovered pitches and w/o protective gear), well, today's players have had to adjust to 2 (and lately 3) formats of cricket, in many different conditions (india, sl, wi, sa, eng, aust - all these countries offer their own version of pitches...india/pak/bang pretty similar) - all this while playing soooo much international cricket...imagine if lara played 70% of his matches against Eng or any other modern batsman played 70% of his matches against only one particular country.......my point is lets not take away too much credit from today's players.......great players would have been found a way to be great in any era....

Posted by mikey76 on (November 13, 2010, 9:52 GMT)

Duwandagrate, I think your getting a bit carried away, Bradman played on plenty of roads in his career, Larwood had to break his back to get the ball chest high in the bodyline series and your forgetting englands 903/7 dec in 1938. They played timeless test matches in those days because of the simple fact that the pitches were so flat. True there were some sticky dogs after it rained eg the 36/37 ashes but dont think pitches that were uncovered were necessarily difficult. Thats not taking away anything from Bradman either. On the subject of Hussey and North, well lets just see them perform first before people call for change! There aren't exactly people knocking down the door for selection!

Posted by   on (November 13, 2010, 8:58 GMT)

Imagiine Bradman played on covered, flat pitches of today against crappy bowlers with so much protective gear!!! His average wud be above 200!!! Trust me, playin on UNCOVERED pitches in itslef is a nightmare, let alone without a helmet and face body-line

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (November 13, 2010, 8:39 GMT)

Greg Chappel said the exact same thing about Tendulkar when he was coaching India. But Tendulkar being Tendulkar did not change anything and has perhaps scored more runs than entire career of Greg Chappel since then. Just kidding :) but you get the gist.

Posted by duwandagrate on (November 13, 2010, 7:06 GMT)

gandabhai you goose! are you forgetting that that the GREAT BRADMAN played on uncovered and often at times sticky wickets! he wouldnt have known what the term 'A ROAD' was in regards to cricket! if he played on todays pitches he would average 250 you ratbag! think before you post ridiculous comments buddy!!

Posted by neutralise on (November 13, 2010, 6:50 GMT)

Gandabhai- Bradman played test cricket for twenty years. How much longer would you have wanted him to play?

Posted by _Australian_ on (November 13, 2010, 6:50 GMT)

I agree with Chappell. But the thing is how much longer has Hussey got. If he does not perform in the early start of the series he has to go. Same with North. I don't understand the selectors desire to select players because they can bowl or bat a bit on top of their main skill. The only position that warrants that thinking is keeper where you are better to have a keeper who is the best batsman. Is it not obvious that you should pick your best 6 batsmen, keeper, 3 quicks and 1 spinner and forget their other abilities. It looks as though Gandabhai is trying to turn this into another Tendulkar/Bradman arguement. Leave it out please. Bradman played over 20 years is that not long enough.

Posted by travmarke on (November 13, 2010, 5:47 GMT)

It's equally frustrating to have Michael Clarke come out and say "Phil Hughes is next in line" should a vacancy appear. Phil is immensely talented but is not currently playing at the level of his potential. The Australian selection policy is still so conservative that even when our backups our out of form, they'll still be put into the team ahead of those whose CURRENT form is outstanding. It will only be when Australia begins to truly pick teams based on form as opposed to entitlement that we will be ably to fully exploit the depth of talent our country has to offer and make the most out of this "rebuilding phase".

Posted by   on (November 13, 2010, 4:52 GMT)

Agree with Gilly4 ever Hussey is a darn sight better than North. North has just been hanging in there for dear life for as long as I can remember He only made runs in his first series and am still waiting for some sense from the Australian selectors. When willl young players be given a chance? We need to remember that they need time to settle in at the highest level. If Mcdonald is in form, then he should be chosen. He has experience at the highest level and can also bowl decently like Syajmonds used to do in the later stages of his career. Whatever it is, Australia must be decisive and not dither for ever. The Ashes are important, but they have been marking time for too long. If khwaja and ferguson are the future, they must certainly be blooded Ashes or no Ashe. They missed the India tour and did nothing by way of experiment and I can see both brisbane and Adelaide going that way and by that time the Ashes may well be gone< Greg Chappell should remember his own debut!! sridhar

Posted by Will90 on (November 13, 2010, 4:40 GMT)

@gandabhai the GREAT Bradman's test average reached 90+ in 1930 and only dropped below 90 (to 89.55) once in 18 years. How much longer would he have to bat?

Posted by   on (November 13, 2010, 4:38 GMT)

I totally agree with Naren, Andrew McDonald would be the first guy I would pick for Brisbane. He was a good contributor and provided balance when he was in the team and has been the outstanding Shield player so far this season. He's tight bowling could be really handy if Petersen became settled at the crease or an English partnership took hold of the game. I also think Phillip Hughes or Usman Khawaja should be picked instead of North, with North becoming 12th Man. I would put Hughes or Khawaja at first drop as I reckon Ponting and Hussey will have more success if they can come in later when the ball is older and slower.

Posted by othello22 on (November 13, 2010, 4:26 GMT)

It says a lot that Hussey's average has dropped from 70-something to under 50 in a relatively short space of time. Poor Huss waited so long to get his chance to play for Australia and to his credit he grabbed it with both hands. But he has now become a shadow of his former self, he lacks confidence at the crease and looks like a man desperate to make his dream last beyond it's expiry date, rather than a man simply looking to make runs and win matches. I think Chappell's right here, just go out there and play your shots. If the runs aren't coming, then it's only fair that someone else should get a go. Continuing the way it is at present is only going to further tarnish what has been an excellent career.

Posted by GeoffLemon on (November 13, 2010, 4:18 GMT)

@gandabhai: "had been had he been tested over a longer period of time"? Bradman played Test cricket for nearly 20 years. How long did you want him to play?

He scored at a comparable rate for those 20 years, except for Bodyline, when he still averaged 50+. How easy would it be to continue with the same form when a full year or two might go by without a match? Or when cricket stopped for the entire duration of the Second World War?

Posted by Winsome on (November 13, 2010, 4:09 GMT)

gandabhai, don't you think it would be a good idea to check on how many years someone played cricket for before making bizarre statements like that?

Holding Ferguson's or anyone last shield innings against them is nonsense riding a bike. Hussey's one day form has held him his place in the test team for well on 18 months or more now. It really doesn't seem to matter what he does at Shield or test format, he starts games regardless.

The Aus selectors are crackers to a man. I expected more from Greg Chappell but it sounds like he's bowing his head already.

Posted by legstar on (November 13, 2010, 3:42 GMT)

Hussey scratches around too much at he crease these days. Chappell is spot on! He's not out there to garden on the pitch. It's painful to watch. Play your strokes and either make runs or get out. If he gets out cheaply in both innings at the Gabba, old Hussey needs to go.

Posted by Naren on (November 13, 2010, 3:40 GMT)

I feel Australia should pick Andrew McDonald. When he was playing they won quite a few matches. He was able to hold one end without conceding a lot of runs. I think he would be handy in Gabba as the 4th or 5th seamer. Off late he is also scoring runs.

Posted by akshay4india on (November 13, 2010, 2:08 GMT)

The battle of the ashes seems to be coming down to which team can overcome the effects of stupidity in their camps. Will it be Australia that overcomes Greg Chappell, or will England overcome Buchanan?

Posted by   on (November 13, 2010, 1:41 GMT)

These selectors need to STOP using a batsman's average as justification for their selection when those very averages are HARDLY a reflection of their current form. Sure, Hussey's got a near-50 average, how often in the last year, 2 years has he put on scores of 50 routinely? More importantly how many centuries for Australia has he scored recently? He's got great ODI form, wonderful, even I'd have him in my Aussie ODI lineup, but he should've been axed from the test side long ago to make way for one of the three aforementioned young batsmen. It's ridiculous that this article points out Ferguson, Hughes and Khawaja did not make big scores in their recent Shield matches. Well neither did Hussey and his form will continue to go south for as long as he's still selected to shape up against worldwide bowling attacks which continue to improve. Looks like Mr Cricket has already bought his place in the first test. What a waste.

Posted by cabinet96 on (November 13, 2010, 0:44 GMT)

Hussey has certainly got the talent and i don't think this would be such a bad idea as he hasn't lost his form in the limited overs formats of the game. Good luck Hus

Posted by gandabhai on (November 13, 2010, 0:21 GMT)

Mr Cricket lit up the cricket world when he first came onto the test scene . His average was Bradmenesqe . Thats why i sometimes wonder what the GREAT Bradmens test average had been had he been tested over a longer period of time .

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 13, 2010, 0:12 GMT)

Averaging 37 is still better than North's career average! Funny that Hussey is under more pressure than North!

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