“If you haven’t done it much in your first-class career, it’s going to be very difficult to come up the order”
In order to avoid selecting a makeshift opener to replace David Warner, former Australia batsman Michael Hussey has advised the selectors that a specialist opener who has dominated Sheffield Shield cricket should be rewarded. Hussey, though, did not specify a candidate.
Hussey was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame alongside former Australia women’s captain Lyn Larsen, and he was speaking ahead of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
Hussey made his name as an opener in first-class cricket, amassing 15313 first-class runs primarily for Western Australia and Northampton-shire before making his Test debut at thirty. He started his Test career as an opener and made a century opening the batting in his second Test match in 2005 as a replacement for the injured Justin Langer.
After his first two Test matches, the left-hander was only able to open in one innings. After Langer returned, he was moved down the order and played middle-order for the remaining 79 Test matches, where he amassed 6235 runs at a strike rate of 51.52, with 18 of his 19 Test hundreds occurring at Nos. 4-6.
Hussey was certain that Australia’s selectors should choose a specialist opener for the first Test against West Indies in January after Warner retires at the conclusion of the Pakistan series, even though he was one of Australia’s most versatile all-format performers in the three-format era.
“Opening is one of the toughest jobs in the game,” Hussey stated. Therefore, if I had to choose, I would choose a conventional, appropriate opener. someone with extensive experience in the field. Because it will be really difficult to move up the rankings if you haven’t done it much throughout your first-class career.
“I’m not saying you can’t do it; in fact, someone might grow into that position. However, I believe that a player like Mitch Marsh or someone else would find it challenging. Although there has been discussion about him moving up the line, I believe that he is probably better suited, like Travis Head, to be in the middle of the order.
“I think that’d be the best for the balance of the Australian team.”
The discussion about Warner’s replacement rages on in the background, with Australia’s team remaining remarkably stable. Matt Renshaw, Marcus Harris, and Cameron Bancroft are the front-runners for the position as specialists. Before the Pakistan series, though, Australian coach and selector Andrew McDonald caused some ruckus when he suggested that Marsh and Cameron Green may be selected in the same XI and that the sequence could be changed so that Marnus Labuschagne could begin.
Usman Khawaja stated that he would like to have an expert opener replace him at the top and thought Labuschagne wouldn’t feel at ease in that capacity. Marsh and Head have both stated in the open that they would rather not open the batting.
With a century for the Victoria XI against Pakistan in the two-day tour match earlier in the week, Harris strengthened his case for the position. However, while he is less effective at Australia’s primary Test grounds in Shield cricket, he still rules the batting-friendly Junction Oval. Bancroft has been the dominant opener in Shield cricket, scoring 10 centuries since the start of 2021, twice as many as Harris and six more than Renshaw. Renshaw has made the most runs for Australia A and the Prime Minister’s XI in recent years, including a century against Pakistan batting at No. 3 in Canberra earlier this month.
Hussey stated that Shield form should be rewarded but he did not specify who his favorite candidate would be.
“I like whoever’s dominating the level below, who’s been dominating in Sheffield Shield cricket over a period of time, and to be fair, they all have at various stages,” Hussey stated.
Thus, the selectors have a difficult task. I do not wish to stand here and declare, “This guy or this guy should be the one.”
“I hope they give the person who has been playing Sheffield Shield cricket very well a prize. That, in my opinion, gives the competitors a really positive message. And rewarding the folks that perform well is a terrific approach to improve our paths.”
Hussey served as a coaching consultant for two days to the Australian team ahead of the Perth Test, while assistant coach Andre Borovec took a break at home in Geelong after filling in as interim coach for the five-match T20 series in India after the World Cup.
Hussey remarked, “It was really enjoyable.” “Just observing their preparation and gradually striking up a few little talks to learn a little bit more about them and their games.
“It was enjoyable. I had a great time with it. I’m still getting better from my shoulder.”
Having played Test and BBL cricket with McDonald at Sydney Thunder, Hussey enjoys a close bond with him. Hussey was part of England’s team under Matthew Mott at the T20 World Cup in Australia last year, and although his time in Perth was brief, he is eager to work with Australia once more in the future.
“It just depends on how the schedule sort of line up at this stage but I’ve got a good relationship with Andrew McDonald,” Hussey stated. “Our paths frequently met when we played together at the Thunder. I therefore have a positive relationship there. I get along well with a few of the players as well. Thus, I would want to [do more] if I can.”