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Worst day for Hussey's best man

Simon Katich and Michael Hussey take a single AFP

Cruel arithmetic dictated that only one of Simon Katich and Michael Hussey would be handed a Cricket Australia contract for 2011-12.

Born only a few months apart, the pair have a long history together, dating back to their days in Western Australia's under-age team. Katich, 35, was best man at 36-year-old Hussey's wedding, and was again stood to one side, this time in far unhappier circumstances, when the 25-man contract list was announced.

Having produced one of the best series of his career amid a generally disastrous Australian performance in the Ashes, Hussey remains a part of the national selectors' plans. Hobbled by an Achilles tendon injury during the second Test of the series and invalided out of the remainder of the summer, Katich can no longer join him.

"I'm pretty disappointed for Kato, his contribution to the Australian team over the last few years has really been enormous so I'm very disappointed for him," Hussey told ESPNcricinfo. "We go back right to the start - he was best man at my wedding - so you'd have to say we're pretty good mates. My initial reaction was to be very disappointed for him.

"It is a disappointing way to go out but knowing Kato he won't think about it that way, he'll remember all the great times he's had with the Australian team and be proud of that. Not many players get to have the fairytale finish."

Though the older of the pair, Hussey's physical durability has played an unquestionable part in his retention. He is clearly the more agile fielder, throwing himself around in the gully in Tests or the outfield in limited overs matches, while his powers of recuperation were made plain by a rapid rehab from a hamstring tear to reinforce Australia's World Cup campaign.

By contrast Katich has never been the most dynamic presence in the field, though he has held his share of excellent catches in the thankless position of short leg. Katich added plenty of grit to the team, but Hussey's boundless energy fits more neatly with the vision of the new captain Michael Clarke.

"I'm not sure what the selectors would've spoken about in relation to me but I made it clear to them that I still wanted to be a part of the Australian team, and I guess the way I got into my recovery from the hamstring tear showed that desire to still be around," Hussey said.

"I'm still enjoying playing, my physical fitness is still pretty good and I hope I can continue on. I haven't thought about that (whether this is the last contract) and I haven't ever thought about the end. I think if you're starting to think about retirement then you're already halfway there."

Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, has indicated that Hussey and Ricky Ponting will need to play a major role in mentoring the younger Australian batsmen about to come through. Hussey said he would be happy to help, though his prime goal would be to keep putting together the sort of scores he managed during the Ashes.

"The most important thing for me still over the next 12 months is to be making as many runs as I possibly can," Hussey said. "On a secondary level it will be important to help the other guys as much as I can. My way with the young guys is really to encourage them to play their way and to know their own games really well."

Before Australia's tour of Sri Lanka in August, Hussey intends to speak with CA officials about the issue of the Twenty20 Champions League, which again looms as a potential sore point for both Doug Bollinger and Hussey. They remain contracted to Chennai for a tournament that will straddle Australia's tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa.

"I haven't spoken to anyone about it yet or had too close a look at the fixtures, but I definitely will be talking to Cricket Australia about it to make sure things run a bit more smoothly than they did last year," Hussey said.