Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/12/31/hussey-hard-act-to-follow

Hussey hard act to follow

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 2:28PM AEST | by John Greco, Omnisport 13

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade admits the heat is on Australia's batsmen following the retirement of Mike Hussey but is confident there is a new 'Mr Cricket' ready to fill the breach.

A new-look Australian batting line-up will head into vital Test series' against India and England over the next 12 months after Hussey this week joined Ricky Ponting in calling time on his career.

It will leave a big hole in the Australian team in terms of experience, with only skipper Michael Clarke and injury-prone all-rounder Shane Watson the only two with more than 20 Tests under their belts.

The job to keep Australia piling on the runs will fall to the likes of Phillip Hughes (17 Tests), Ed Cowan (11), David Warner (12) and Usman Khawaja (six), who are still finding their way at Test level.

Ahead of this week's third Test against Sri Lanka at the SCG, Wade admitted it would be difficult to replace the brilliance of Hussey but challenged the next generation to step up to the mark.

"There will be a lot more expectation on players that have played under 20 Tests but that's the way it goes and we've got to accept the responsibility," Wade said on Monday.

"We're lucky we've got guys that have got 20 games under their belt instead of relying on people to come in for their first or second game.

"We've got to come to terms with life without Mike Hussey which is a shame but it's a reality … we expect to take the challenge with open arms.

"There will be a lot more expectation on the younger top order. Pup's doing everything he can do, scoring truckload of runs.

"But it's up to the Warners, Cowans Wades and Hughes who make up that top six or seven that have to pick up the slack.

"It's easier said than done but with hard work and with some guidance from our captain I'm sure we can get that done."

The sole focus for the Australians this week will be on wrapping up a clean sweep of the Sri Lanka series and sending Hussey out on the perfect note.

Wade said the Aussies weren't about to take their foot off the throat of the struggling tourists and declared they would be just as aggressive with bat and ball in Sydney.

With Watson to miss the match through injury, there is a possibility Wade could move up to No.6 in the batting line-up to accommodate the inclusion of debutant Glenn Maxwell.

Asked about that prospect and the possibility of batting at six for the long-term, Wade said: "I've been lucky to bat at six for Victoria for a couple of years now and it doesn't impact on my keeping at all.

"If the team needs me there I'll happily move up.

"My personal expectation is to contribute for the team so that doesn’t change … I'll play exactly the same. I wouldn't be changing my game plan at all."

Rotation has been the buzzword for most of this summer among the fast bowlers and Australia's packed schedule over the next 12 months

Wade currently plays all three forms of the game for Australia and could be a candidate for a break at some stage - not that the gloveman is putting his hand up for a rest.

"I don't want to stop playing cricket for Australia but I don't think it will be my decision," Wade conceded.

"It will be a decision made higher up if I'm to rest from any game.

"Mitchell Johnson had a rest from Hobart and came in and did what he did (in Melbourne) and looked really fresh.

"I want to play every game for Australia but fully understand where the people are coming from above."

Wade said he expects Clarke to play the third Test despite battling a hamstring complaint.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 31 December, 2012 5:16PM AEST

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