Michael Hussey has no intention of calling time on his international career at the end of a triumphant series against India, and believes the next generation of batsmen are still to earn the chance to snatch the No. 6 berth from him at a time when Australia's resurgence is giving him plenty of reasons to stay on.
The last Test of the home summer is commonly a time for ruminations on the future, and many had expected one of Hussey, Ricky Ponting or Brad Haddin to venture into life beyond the Australian dressing room at the end of the India series. However Hussey said neither he nor any of the other senior members of the team had given any indication of marking a finish line, and that Australia's return to the winning habit had only added to their sense of vitality.
"Throughout the whole summer I have just tried to set myself for this series but my body feels good, I still feel I'm playing well, and mentally I'm still keen to turn up to training and mentally keen for the battle out in the middle," Hussey said. "From that point of view I am definitely thinking of continuing on. I'd love to go to the West Indies.
"I just watch the guys and how they go about their training and you can still see the hunger is there, so I would be very surprised if the other guys wanted to move on. I certainly see them playing well enough, I still see them doing the work and I still see them wanting to part of the team. I haven't picked up any hints that they're going to leave the game."
Any enthusiasm among the national selectors to usher in another young batsman has been dampened this summer by a lack of stand-out performances from those who might have been considered contenders for middle order positions. Usman Khawaja has endured a difficult summer with the bat and needs to improve his fielding and broader team contributions, while Callum Ferguson seems likely to lose his Cricket Australia contract after a summer of meagre returns. Phillip Hughes' technical problems, meanwhile, have been documented in detail.
"The culture I was brought up in is that the next generation has to earn their right to play for Australia," Hussey said. "It took me over ten years of first-class cricket to just get one game so I don't feel the responsibility to pass the baton on.
"I still feel I've got a big role to play in the team with experience to help some of the younger members of the team but I still feel I can contribute to Australia working their way back to where they want to be which is to be the No.1 team in the world. I still feel I have a role to play in that journey."
Hussey's journey, should he choose to take it, will include a tour of the West Indies in March and April, ODIs in England in June, and the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September. Beyond that tournament are home Tests against South Africa and Sri Lanka, before the team embarks on the vexing task of touring India then England in 2013.
"I will sit down and have a think about that after this series, I basically tried to set all my energies towards this Indian series, that's what I really wanted to be a part of and part of a winning team, and probably re-assess after that," Hussey said. "But certainly the Twenty20 World Cup there's a bit of a carrot dangling there, and I'd love to be a part of the World Cup again, and there's some big cricket still to come.
"I didn't perform as well as I'd have liked in the West Indies last time I toured there [in 2008] for a Test tour, so that's something I'd really like to go on and play well at. One-day cricket in England is always a fantastic tour to be a part of. But I just really want to be part of Australia's success, being part of helping Australia get back to being No.1.
"I was lucky enough to come into the team when we were possibly the best team I've ever played for, to then go through some more turbulent and difficult times, and I'd love to be part of the team that can work our way back up, that'd be a fantastic international journey."