Aussie team will be fine without retiring Hussey
January 1, 2013, 12:59 am TWN
SYDNEY -- Retiring Michael Hussey said Sunday there is quality and quantity to replace him despite becoming the second experienced batsman to quit Australian cricket's middle order ahead of a critical 12 months.
Hussey's announcement on Saturday that he will retire from international cricket after this week's final Sydney Test against Sri Lanka, came a month after Ricky Ponting revealed he was calling time on his 17-year career.
His departure has created another middle order batting vacancy going into February's tour of India, followed by Ashes series in England and Australia.
But Hussey, 37, who will play his 79th and last Test this week, insisted there was talent available to step in after his surprise decision to retire, despite averaging close to 80 this Australian summer.
"I'm not worried about the team whatsoever. We've got some fantastic candidates to come in — probably too many to name," Hussey told reporters.
"Maybe (brother) David Hussey could get a run — one Hussey out, one Hussey in.
"History has shown players have come and gone. But the game continues to move forward, and it'll be no different with me," he said.
With Phil Hughes already recalled to replace Ponting, Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja is almost certain to get first crack at Hussey's spot, while all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is in the 13-man squad for the Sydney Test as injured Shane Watson's replacement.
The younger Hussey and fellow Victorian Rob Quiney — used and discarded already this summer — will also be among candidates, along with Alex Doolan and Callum Ferguson.
Hussey said his decision to walk away, mostly for family reasons as he did not want to commit to a six-month-plus stint away from home next year, had shocked his teammates.
He rang them all personally on Saturday after breaking the news to Australian captain Michael Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur.
Paceman Mitchell Starc admitted he was surprised and said Hussey's replacement would have big shoes to fill.
"He's still in great form with the bat, as we've seen through this summer so far," Starc said on Sunday.
"He's going out the way he wants by the sound of things, and it's going to leave a big hole."
"It's hard to replace Ricky Ponting — now we've got to replace him and Mike Hussey, so it's a big gap."
Hussey said he was comfortable with his decision to walk away after the Sydney finale, despite his great recent form.
"I do still love the game, but I'm not up to the rigors, pressures and stresses of international cricket any more," Hussey said.
Hussey, who made his Test debut at 30, has scored 19 hundreds in 78 Tests and averages 51.52.
He retires in outstanding form, averaging 180.00 after two Tests in the current series against Sri Lanka.