Sunday, January 6, 2013

Who Will Replace Michael Hussey in the Australian Test Team?

In terms of the timing and the abyss like hole it left in the line up there was an almost vandals ambivalence that could be attached to Michael Hussey's recent retirement from the Australian Team.

As seen in not only his varied talents being lost to the Team as they are about to embark on a schedule of great difficulty coupled with great meaning, but how the decision forced a change in the Teams very direction. This in response to the need to not only replace Hussey's calibre, but also his meaning to the Team from an experience and leadership point of view. Two key points with the Team sincerely lacking in both with the recent loss of Ricky Ponting to retirement, Shane Watson's perennial lay off's on the treatment table culminating in the killer blow delivered by Hussey.

Meaning the decision has forced to put youthful talent as a secondary thought in their choice with leadership and experience being their main desires in Mr Cricket's replacement. This made paramount by the fact that his retirement it will leave Australia with its least experienced line up to leave our shores in 28 years.
Making matters more muddied is the absence of First Class games to judge players on. With the choice to take time off to showcase the  Big Bash meaning the last game played was on November 27th with it recommencing on the 24th of this month.


George Bailey ( Tasmania )
The Selection of Bailey as the Captain of the Australia ODI Team in the absence of Michael Clarke seems to point to his favouritism to take Husseys place in the Test team. With him being respected for his leadership with the Tassie Tigers and a player of great experience. 

Which leads to the main question revolving around Bailey in regards to whether he is good enough to even be considered?
His First Class Record of an average of 39.9 would suggest no with his quality or lack of it being questioned in the Media

"I don’t see George Bailey as being in our top six batsmen in Australia.

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I can see MacGill's point, but in response, Bailey is one of those players whose quality is never fully shown in figures with his calibre being shown in a blistering display in an A game for Australia a few years back.

The sad part of this situation is that his leadership which is seen as the best in the Australian game might supersede his batting when the decision is made

David Hussey ( Victoria ) 

As soon as his brother Michael made the call to retire, the focus fell on David with many calling for him to replace his brother as if to assume they shared the same ability due to their brotherhood

The brothers figures, and career paths have been remarkably similar with David ripping English County Cricket to ribbons like his brother did. As well as being a consistently excellent player in the Australian First Class Competition.

He is very a 'Mr Cricket' clone with the things going against him in peoples eyes is his advanced age at 35. But the flip side of this is with Age comes experience and know how making it a bias that has no basis

'We need to get past ageism in sport because its all about merit'

Plus of all the candidates, Husseys has the most impressive credentials with him being a feared entity in English conditions as well as a proven run scorer.

Mickey Arthurs recent view of the situations talks up Hussey's chances with it defining him to a T

"With Test matches in India and England, we've got to sit down [and ask], 'Do we want to have a look at a guy who is a proven run-scorer, who has the right stats both in Australia and outside of Australia and can get hundreds'?"

Usman Khawaja

Khawaja was the next cab off the rank for the Team until the basis of Selection changed with the need to focus on leadership and experience in the candidates.

It is likely that he will be selected for all the tours though might miss out on a place in the first 11. I say this with him being a more worthy candidate than Phil Hughes after Ponting retired only for him to be overlooked. His main criticism is his lack of busyness as a top order batsman with his inability to rotate the strike and the pressure it puts on him and his partner.

Plus, he is a very average fields man  which has always been a huge factor in Australia selecting players or conversely overlooking them- just think Phil Jacques......

In truth, he has not pressed his case either with his name being put forward mainly out of the lack of batting depth in Australia at present with him representing a sceric of definable quality.

Unless his average of 39.8 for this season is  made more hefty before the squad is selected his chances of a walk up start in the 11 are remote.

Brad Haddin

This is an outside the square choice that has the recent Sydney Test as its hint....

With Matthew Wade batting at 6 with its rationale being the desire to play 5 bowlers, but reading between the lines you can see it was in response to Hussey's retirement. 

Using this Test to run the rule over Wade's ability to justify his role in the Team as a batsman alone, and then slotting Haddin back in the Team as a Keeper at 7. Which would add to the know how that is so needed in the Team.

Plus addressing a worry over Wade's long term abilities with the gloves which after a few very average displays this season is in question

Dark Horse 

Alex Doolan 

The Tasmanian announced his Test pedigree with a free flowing unbeaten 161 against the touring South Africans.

He is a compelling batsman with that 'extra time' that is associated with all fine players and an elegance that is so watch-able. His downside is that this is his first season of consistency with him being previously on his State Teams outskirts because of a chink that saw him throw away innings of promise. 

It is unlikely that he will be selected with now the focus on the need for experience meaning he is likely to be overlooked.  Which in truth,  will work in his long term favour with there being no reason to rush him.

Tim Paine

The tragedy of Australian Cricket with a finger injuring outing him for near on 2 years and robbing him of the Tests he would have played and the leadership role in the team that had his name on it

He is back now, and if he can perform.....

Do not be surprised if he trumps all for the position


There is a skewed nature to this selection with it being impacted on by the absence of experience or leadership in the Team meaning an veteran campaigner will be chosen.

This would be challenged if there were some outstanding young batsmen scoring mountains of runs demanding selection supported by established quality veterans in the Aussie 11. But sadly there are very few as the leading run scorers for this season shows with the only young batsman excelling being the Tasmanian number 3 Doolan

Top Shield scorers in 2012/13

  • PJ Hughes (SA) 518 at 51.8
  • CJ Ferguson (SA) 463 at 42.09
  • UT Khawaja (QLD) 438 at 39.81  
  • AJ Doolan (TAS) 409 at 58.42  
  • MJ Cosgrove (TAS) 373 at 37.30
  • RT Ponting (TAS) 355 at 118.33  
  • BCJ Cutting (QLD) 348 at 38.66
  • CJL Rogers (VIC) 340 at 42.50
  • BJ Haddin (NSW) 337 at 67.40  
  • MC Henriques (NSW) 314 at 78.50

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Couple this with the struggles of the current Aussies top 6 outside of Michael Clarke and you can see the need for Veteran steel being added to the Team.

Making the rest of the Sheffield Shield until the Squad to India is selected being a virtual play off between George Bailey and David Hussey for the role. With Bailey's selection as ODI fill in Captain making him the favourite, and the desire for the Selectors.

Then as a Plan B, I can see Brad Haddin already having a foot on the plane to India in the guise of the reserve keeper, but with the view of Wade reverting to a specialist batsman at 6.


  1. It should not be a question of experience because neither David Hussey nor George Bailey have Test experience. If CA is really serious about selecting some one with substantial Test experience then they have two choices: bring back Simon Katich or clone Mike Hussey!

  2. Wade's keeping looks very ordinary but he will improve as he's quite young. Haddin's keeping is also very ordinary and he's 35 so you can't expect him to get any better.

    I'd much rather Tim Paine went as he easily trumps both Wade and Haddin with the gloves but he's been doing nothing with the bat in first class cricket and they choose their wickies on batting skill obviously.