Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney January 1, 2011

Hussey expects aggression from Clarke

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Michael Hussey expects Michael Clarke to be a positive and aggressive leader in his first outing as Australia's Test captain on Monday. Clarke gained the post following Ricky Ponting's withdrawal with a broken finger and will be in charge of a young outfit that has the job of levelling the Ashes series at the SCG.

Clarke is the team's most experienced player with 68 Tests, while Hussey, one of only two men in the squad over 30, has appeared in 10 fewer matches. Hussey said it would be strange walking on to the ground without Ponting, but he is confident Clarke will be a strong replacement.

"He'll be an aggressive captain, always looking to take wickets out there, make changes to the field and with the bowlers," Hussey said. "He'll be searching for a wicket all the time, and will always want the game going forward. That's the way Australians have played our cricket as long as I can remember. I think he'll be a very positive captain."

Clarke has been successful in the limited-overs arenas and was in charge of Australia's journey to the final of the World Twenty20 in the West Indies in May. He also has 13 victories in 18 ODIs as leader and has been able to impress his team-mates with his high-energy style.

"I guess the challenge is to be able to maintain that over the five days," Hussey said. "It's going to be a hard old graft. But we have 100% confidence in him. I think he's done a really good job when he's captained the team so far in his career." This Test assignment is more complicated because it comes at a time when Clarke is struggling for runs, having scored 148 in seven bats against England.

England retained the Ashes with their victory in Melbourne last week, and Hussey hopes the Sydney Test will be the start of Australia's revival. "Our focus is trying to get it back to 2-2 - I think that would be a real morale-boosting win for us," he said. "We've got to get better. We hope our Test team is going to get better over the next 12 months to two years, but the process starts now. Unfortunately, we can't win the Ashes, but if we can get it back to a two-all series leveller, it will be a good result for us."

Hussey, who is 35, was particularly disappointed after the MCG defeat. "It's the Ashes and the biggest thing you play for," he said. "I hope I get another opportunity to have another go at it. But I don't know if I will, so that is a pretty hard thing to start thinking about."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kumaranuj on January 2, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Clarke is also out of form like Ponting. Can it is good for the side or for Clarke? both are not performing as per their name. Clarke have good success in ODIs, but this time he is in very much pressure to lead the team to victory and to perform good from bat. It is going to be difficult start of 2011 for clarke. What happen if Clarke is not able to win the game for Aussies? Can they remove him from the position of future captain? Usman and Beer will be in much pressure as Australia hope that both of them perform well. Good luck Clarke and Australia, we want to see old Australia not the current West Indies.

  • jonesy2 on January 2, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    cricket is such a funny game, just amazes me everything i come on this site aha ah well thats the way it is i guess. eg, a little over a month ago everyone was calling for husseys head and saying that he is gone and all the rest of it. now hes the greatest batsman in the world according to most. england havent even won the series but act like they have, if they lose in sydney then its a drawn series but everyone is acting as if australian cricket is in crisis they are the worst team the world is coming to an end blah blah blah, it will be interesting to see the reactions to what happens in sydney, however it was be a draw and luck will win the series for england once again. luck, and only luck is what is making the poms look semi ok. funny funny funny game

  • MasterClass on January 2, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    I tip Clarke to do well and Aus to square the series 2-2. Eng aint that good.

  • AjayB on January 2, 2011, 3:05 GMT

    These are interesting times, if not enjoyable to Australia. In spite of the doomsday predictions, I for one would want Australia to get back on its feet and reclaim their place at the top. I am an Indian, and though I indulge in schadenfraude in their grief, Australian team's ascendence is critical to the world of cricket. Their shenanigans and relative impunity for punishment notwithstanding, Australia taught the world of cricket a new professionalism. Almost every team aspired to be like Australia a couple of years ago. Let us hope this minor set-back is addressed and they climb back to the top of the charts. Long ago, when they lost to Bangladesh in a one-day game, I had said it was the beginning of the end. However, I hope the end does not come, and the curve changes. They have the talent and system to take them back to top. Please do get back to the top. The true worth of anyone shows in adversity, and if I know any team that has worth, it is Australia.

  • dummy4fb on January 2, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    Really it is beyond comprehension why Aussies went in without Hauritz during whole Ashes.To me last summer in Australia he posed serious problems with ball and had Pakistan on the ropes who generally play spin well.True Hauritz did struggle against India in India but dont lose sight of the fact thatt he basically thrives on bounce and loop and not the usual indrift tweak like Bhaji or Swann.So they blunted their weaponary a fair bit due to some inexplicable mind spiral.But that is only a part of woes Aussies confronted themselves with. The real killer instinct in bowling was well evident and self explanatory in Aussies grappling with the problem of finding an out-and-out quickie or a steadying influence of Mcgrath or some mindwobbling spin web essayed proficiently by Warne.Batting shivered and trembled like the jittery stance of Clarke and hurrying looking punter.Banking once far too many on Hussey,Watson and Haddin proved to be their downfall in MCG despite a ray of hope afta Perth.

  • RogerC on January 2, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    Mike Hussey should be the captain of Australia for the next 3 years. He is called Mr. Cricket for his knowledge of the game and performances. Why not make him the captain then? Age is not an issue when you keep performing. Way back in 1978, Australia made Bob Simpson the captain when Packer crisis happened. Simpson was 41 at that time and came back from retirement, but still did well enough.

  • dummy4fb on January 1, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    Take it eezy on one of the best batsmen/legend of the game... He deserves sum respect afterall for winning 3 WOrldcups, being a gr8 batsmen, etc.... BTW, I reckon Aus shud get in Cam WHite ASAP into the team since he'z the future, not pup

  • MattLavender on January 1, 2011, 21:43 GMT

    I agree with 'Deuwl'...Watson should go back down the order in a couple of years. He's learnt some valuable lessons at the top. He's developed a solid defence, a technique to play opening bowlers and the new ball, and learnt how to accumulate runs, not just slog. Now he's learnt how to do that, he could head back to number six and strengthen the middle-order, between Hussey and Haddin. Why not replace him with Marcus North at the top? He seems to me to have the right technique for an opener: patient, strong defence, plays straight and is good against seamers. And he wouldn't be exposed to spin as much, which has done for him a few times in recent Ashes series. As for Clarke, why is everyone saying he shouldn't be captain because he's not scoring runs right now? Not every great captain has always been completely dominant with the bat. Look at Mike Brearley.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on January 1, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    I prefer Cameron White to be captain. He is aggressive and an allrounder. He should bat No6 so that he can understand the situation. Lalith Kuruwita - Sydney

  • Jarr30 on January 1, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    Australia did one good thing is to remove Ponting as a Captain as he has PROVED, Punter is not a good captain and makes terrible decision. Also we need to sit down and think, did the selectors do a good job...It's time that Greg Chapple should be kicked out tooo....Decision of including Beer is a BLUNDER...Bring back Hauritz.

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