The Ashes 2010-11 November 12, 2010

Michael Hussey told to 'take some risks'

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

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  • Kell on November 16, 2010, 11:28 GMT

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

  • Andrew 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.

  • Andrew 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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??

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Sampath on November 13, 2010, 19:06 GMT

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

  • John 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.

  • Graeme 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.

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