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Batsman-rotation plan irks Michael Hussey

Michael Hussey watches the ball intently AFP

Michael Hussey is uncomfortable with the possibility of batsmen being rotated out of the Australian Test team, though this is the scenario that may be about to play out as the selectors ponder whether to press allrounder Daniel Christian into the XI in Hobart.

The opener Phillip Hughes, presently wrestling with his technique and the bowling of Chris Martin, is the obvious player to leave out of the second Test against New Zealand, should John Inverarity and his panel choose to augment Australia's attack with Christian.

While rotation has been acknowledged as a likely strategy to manage Australia's bowling stocks this summer under the new regime headed by the team performance manager Pat Howard, Hussey said he had not considered that batsmen might be shuffled for reasons of team balance.

"It hasn't really been communicated to us yet in that sort of way," Hussey said. "I think from a batting point of view, if you're playing well you want to keep batting, and if things aren't quite going right, you want to keep playing so you can get that big score.

"So I think it'd be more so with the bowling stocks, because there's so much cricket and back-to-back games, it is tough to keep backing up. Maybe more [rotation] with the bowlers, but I think from a batting point of view, once you get in there you want to keep the roll going.

"It is a good thing there are going to be so many quality players who are going to be coming back from injury and putting pressure on everyone in the order. As a batsman you need to be scoring runs, and doing it consistently to keep your place in the team."

Watching Hughes' performances, Hussey counselled the 23-year-old to keep playing his way, and not to shelve the cut stroke that had him pouched in the gully. Hughes was caught Guptill, bowled Martin in each innings, prompting New Zealand's captain Ross Taylor to foreshadow a similar fate in Hobart should Hughes be retained.

"I thought the first one that he got dropped was a pretty good ball, it left him a fair bit," Hussey said. "The second one, it is his signature shot really, the cut shot, and many times you've seen it whistle to the fence for four. So I certainly wouldn't be saying to him to stop playing the cut shot, because he's got so many runs from it and will continue to.

"He works extremely hard and he knows the areas he's got to work on, and I just think it is really important for him to keep a clear mind and keep playing his way. There's always things you want to get better at, but he's still put together some real good scores for us in difficult conditions in South Africa and also in Sri Lanka."

Hussey is no stranger to technical foibles, having re-invented his own game numerous times over a long career. He said in his case, the solution to an early problem of head position had been basic.

"Early in my career, my head used to fall over quite a lot, so I was definitely vulnerable more to lbws and missed out on a lot of runs off my pads," Hussey said. "So that's something I had to nut out over quite a period of time. That's the one that sticks in my mind.

"I used to stand with my bat on the ground, so my head was always over my stance, that's when I started standing up so I could then take my head towards the bowler rather than falling over. That's a pretty basic sort of change, but it's definitely effective."

Australia's dressing room was a vibrant place after the first Test victory, as team-mates young and old enjoyed a comprehensive victory. Hussey reserved particular praise for fast bowler James Pattinson, who he felt delivered the kind of second innings spell that would have done for batsmen of any nation.

"I just remember back to my first Test [against West Indies at the Gabba in 2005] it is pretty much a write-off emotionally, because its such a big event and a big sort of five days," Hussey said. "But I was really happy with the way all the guys were able to get over that first spell, get over those first nerves, and get in and concentrate on what they had to do. James Pattinson in particular, that spell was unbelievable really, and just ripped the heart out of the New Zealand batting order. That was awesome to watch and be a part of it out there."

Ahead of the squad's journey to Hobart, Hussey said it was fitting that Ricky Ponting had put together a pair of promising scores, suggesting he would be ready to occupy the crease for a long time on his home ground - coincidentally the place of his last Test century, 209 against Pakistan, 29 innings ago.

"I reckon his last two innings have been really good and he's still building," Hussey said. "He's batting well, he's got good scores, but in his mind he'll be seeing them as good starts, and he'll want to double and triple that sort of start. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets in in Tassie he'll be a very, very difficult man to dismiss."