Need to be patient with transitional Australia, says Hussey

The former Australian batting mainstay Michael Hussey also feels that Indian captain Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world.

Despite leading Australia in a turbulent phase, Hussey said Tim Paine had performed admirably.   -  S. Dinakar

These are difficult times for Australian cricket. There are worries that misplaced priorities and too much focus on the shorter versions of the game have led to the emergence of young batsmen without fundamentals for the longer format.

However, former Australian batting mainstay Michael Hussey, in a chat with Sportstar on Friday, felt the system was still in place and the talent pool had not dried up.

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He said, “There are some batsmen with potential but they are not ready yet. Will Pucovski and Jason Sangha are very talented. It’s a period of transition and we got to be patient.”

Hussey added, “The biggest problem in Test has been the lack of runs. We need more hefty contributions, more hundreds. I don’t think we have been scoring too many centuries from last year.”

The former Aussie left-hander, popularly called Mr. Cricket, said, “Of course, when Steve Smith and David Warner return, the batting will look much stronger and more weighty with all that quality, experience and runs.”

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Peter Handscomb, a fine player of spin, had possibilities too but Hussey observed the batsman had a few technical issues to sort out.

Hussey noted, “Handscomb bats deep in the crease against pacemen and when the ball is pitched up and moves, he finds it hard to cope.”

Despite leading Australia in a turbulent phase, Hussey said Tim Paine had performed admirably. “He’s being honest, he’s playing the game hard, he stands up for himself, tactically, he’s been very good, he’s been batting well and his ‘keeping has been good.”

And coach, Justin Langer can turn things around for Australia, he said. “I’ve played with Langer. He brings with him integrity and honesty, that’s part of his philosophy on the game.”

Hussey said, “He will impress on the guys to work extremely hard. Might take some time but I think what he stands for will be good for the team. It’s a tough game, you need focus and Langer will guide the team the right way.”

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Positive player

Asked about Mayank Agarwal’s batting on debut, Hussey noted, “He looked a nice positive player, well organised. He has good footwork. I believe he has been scoring a lot of runs in the Ranji Trophy.”

He elaborated, “It was a tough ask really. Coming straight out of India and playing in the conditions here in the Boxing Day Test in his first Test.”

Virat Kohli was the best batsman in the world, according to Hussey. “It’s the amount of runs he scores and the way he scores them, across formats and conditions, carrying the expectations on his shoulders.”

Cheteshwar Pujara’s batting, Hussey said, was a lot about discipline, commitment and hard work.