Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney

Hussey expects aggression from Clarke

Peter English

January 1, 2011

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke will take over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting, Sydney, January 1, 2011
Michael Hussey said it would be strange to take the field without Ricky Ponting, but is confident Michael Clarke will be a strong replacement. © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Michael Clarke | Michael Hussey
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Australia
Teams: Australia

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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

Posted by 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.

Posted by AnoopKerala on (January 1, 2011, 16:27 GMT)

Clarke may be a mediator of transformation, just as KP for England. Australia is in depression stage now and they will come up very soon. They have plenty of resources. The only thing is that, they want to make set the team first. It is a difficult process. May take even 2-3 years. Any way we can see in near future Aussie dominating the cricket world just as they did from 1998 -2008. their domestic structure is very concrete and there are lot of Pontings and Gillchrists in makings. Wait and See...

Posted by MartinC on (January 1, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

The most important skill a captain needs to have is having a good side to captain. It's a skill Ponting lost when McGrath and Warne retired not to mention Gilchrist, Hayden and Langer. It's also a skill Clarke has not yet got.

All Clarke can do is try to lead from the front by scoring some runs himself. Keeping his fingers crossed 'good Mitchell Johnson" turns up not the guy who would struggle to get in a good club side who bowled in the last game.

As an Englishman I'm thinking we have shown so far we have too much for this Aussie side whoever the Captain is.

Posted by ashes61 on (January 1, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

This man Hussey is a wonderful batsman and cricketer. As Eng's most doughty, formidable and dangerous opponent of the series, he is certainly Eng's prime target as far as Aus wickets are concerned. (Witness the celebrations at his Melbourne dismissals). If he goes cheaply - or even for a moderately successful score - in Sydney, Aus must surely struggle. There is so much that is admirable about him, and always has been. There is a bit of a "hang-dog" look about him at the wicket, with that slightly bent-over, laboured gait, but what a batsman! I find myself always pleased at his successes. He has always "come over" so well when interviewed by the media - engaging, informative, honest and genuinely modest. If I were a young Aussie lad, he'd be the one I looked up to. A credit to his team and country, but - much more importantly - to the game of cricket and the long, distinguished heritage of the Ashes. A real throwback - I hope he gets 100 in each innings in a gallant defeat!

Posted by ihaq1 on (January 1, 2011, 14:56 GMT)

clarkes deficiencies were apparent in captaining in india...one must remember that in the 20-20 final he lost to england when the best aussie bowlers were literally thrashed...might be his confidence will come back but recent history suggests that england has some sort of phsycological advantage over australia and one does not feel that he will be the aggressive captain that hussey wants if he bats poorly...australia will have to pray that usman bats well and that hussey and haddin cover the top orders failure if it occurrs...

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 13:13 GMT)

Clarke is not the captain who will or can transform Australia....

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (January 1, 2011, 12:05 GMT)

Have-played, I am trying to understand that you might feel entitled to scorn everybody else's opinion. You seem certain that most of your fellow contributors here haven't the same extensive "hands-on" cricket experience that you claim you have. Maybe so. I think there are a lot of interesting viewpoints expressed here. I would also like to point out that some of the dumbest people I ever met were experienced cricketers.

Posted by Deuwl on (January 1, 2011, 11:37 GMT)


Selection: Alright the selectors really need to make some tough decisions. Clarke is a big topic. Can he handle the pressure, more importantly can his back and his batting stay at peak form. The best way to know is decide this matter after 10 tests from now on. Ponting should be coming back but Clarke needs to prove to us that he can start performing well. I remember a few years ago the same issue was talked about and Clarke performed extremely well and consistently. The Ashes in England recently spring to mind. Also, it is time to blood young batsman. Steve Smith is not a Test No 6. Haddin should feel aggrieved that SS was chosen before him. Ponting's injury was good to see if Khawaja can do it for us. I think if Khawaja does the job right, then perhaps we can shift our batting to something like this if Katich comes back: 1. Katich, 2.Watson, 3.Khawaja 4.Ponting 5.Hussey 6.Clarke. Also, I think in another 2 years, Watson needs to consider going lower in the order.

Posted by Deuwl on (January 1, 2011, 11:31 GMT)

Alright here are my 2 cents:

Ponting: Ricky Ponting is on his day, probably still 1 of the best batsman in the world. The reason for the criticism apart from Aussies getting beaten recently, esp. from ex players and captains is admittedly he makes defensive orientated choices as a captain. It has not helped that he has had a form slump but come on give the guy a break. As captain, and at probably the hardest place to bat: 3, he has performed well and has gotten 100s apart from maybe the last year when his performances have not been at the standard he himself has set. Alright, Ponting isn't Border nor is he Steve Waugh but then again apart from Border, all our captains since then have reaped the benefits of having Warne/Mcgrath in our side. So who knows how Taylor and Waugh would have fared in Ponting's current dilemna. We owe Ponting our loyalty and we owe it to him as Australians to let the man go out with dignity and of his own free will. Ponting still has 2 more yrs at least

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 10:28 GMT)

Techniqually Australia lost the Ashes but not the series,All Media,expert made it as sceneario that Aussies had lost the series with the England retention of Ashes,If they trounce Poms in perth I cant see the reason why they cant do it in Sydney.Finally if the score line read 2-2 eventually Australia will be settle with the facts they they are yet to lose the Ashes in therms of series margin in Australia since 1986-87

Posted by Have_played_the_game on (January 1, 2011, 9:08 GMT)

Enough of the Ponting bashing....the man has lead Australia when they were supposedly ruining World cricket because of the domination they had. Now during rebuilding its his fault that batsmen play poor shots and bowlers cant bowl one side of the wicket. If Clarke has learned anything from Ponting, then one can only hope that its to stick to your guns and never listen to people whose entire cricket experience has been from a chair in front of the tv or in their own backyard!

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

ricky ponting should .. retire soon.. from test cricket

Posted by landl47 on (January 1, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

Hussey has nothing to be ashamed of- he kept Australia in the games at Brisbane and Perth and you saw what happened when he had an unsuccessful game at the MCG. Clarke might find captaining in the 5-day game rather more daunting than captaining in the ODIs. His test experience has been limited to playing under Ponting, so he will only have learned if he understood what Ponting was doing wrong. With two debutants likely, to add to the limited experience of Hughes and Smith, it's a side that will need a lot of guidance. Clarke will need Hussey, Watson and Haddin to come good again and Johnson to find his Perth form if Australia are to have any chance. England are likely to be unchanged unless someone is hurt and since they've now bowled Australia out in both innings three times in a row, they'll like their chances of finishing the tour with a win.

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