All Michael Hussey, the Australia batsman, is focused on is practising as hard as he possibly can. William West / AFP
All Michael Hussey, the Australia batsman, is focused on is practising as hard as he possibly can. William West / AFP

Hussey is determined to make his comeback count



Michael Hussey is planning to put to good use the hurt he felt at being left out of Australia's World Cup squad now that he finds himself back with the champions in the subcontinent.

And the man nicknamed "Mr Cricket" stressed that, unlike the Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who has quit Twenty20 internationals, he has no intention of retiring from shorter formats of the game in order to prolong his Test career.

"It took me so long to get just one game for Australia, so I don't want to pull up stumps on anything too soon," said Hussey, who had to wait a decade before making his Test debut in 2005.

The experienced left-handed batsman was omitted from Australia's squad that travelled to the World Cup despite telling the under-fire selectors he would be fit following hamstring surgery.

He had been in the original 15-man squad for the tournament as Australia go for a fourth successive World Cup victory.

A panel chaired by the former Test batsman Andrew Hilditch felt they could not take the risk, despite Hussey's assurances he would be healthy.

However, a tournament-ending injury to Doug Bollinger, the fast bowler, allowed Australia to call up a surprised Hussey, who has averaged nearly 52 in 151 one-day internationals (ODIs), as his replacement.

"I found it pretty difficult to take for a while, but I then used all that energy and emotion to rehab and get better as fast as I could," Hussey said.

"We thought that if there was an injury, I couldn't be the one to come in and replace.

"I pretty much thought I wouldn't get another chance to play in a World Cup," said Hussey, 35.

"When I was ruled out it was a pretty bitter pill to take but, unbelievably, I find myself here, so it's great news."

There had been a perception among several sides that if a player originally selected in a 15-man squad was withdrawn, he could not return.

However, the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a clarification saying a player in that situation could return in place of an injured teammate.

Australia, unbeaten at the World Cup since 1999, take on Kenya tomorrow at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium, knowing a victory will take Ponting's men into the quarter-finals.

It would appear to be an ideal game for a comeback but Hussey, adamant he was fully fit, said: "I haven't been given any indication if I am going to play or not. I'm just going to prepare as though I'm going to play."

Several of his teammates have publicly rejoiced at Hussey's call-up and he said he had been "overwhelmed" by their support.

Hussey has developed an enviable reputation for knowing how to pace a one-day innings.

But Hussey insisted: "I'm not that special, believe me. I'm just a normal everyday bloke.

"I'm just trying to do my job. That's all I try and do."

* Agencies

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