Retiring Michael Hussey said yesterday 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.
However, Hussey, 37, who is to play his 79th and last Test this week, insisted that 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 Australia 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 yesterday. “He’s going out the way he wants, by the sound of things.