Test great Mike Hussey has revealed he’s “agonised” over which fast bowlers have earnt the right to join Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in Australia’s pace brigade for next month’s Qantas tour of India.
The pace duo are certain starters in Australia’s XI for the first Test in Pune on February 23 but which other seamers will make the cut when the squad is announced on Sunday morning is less clear.
Jackson Bird took 13 wickets in three matches after regaining his spot for the third Commonwealth Bank Test against South Africa in Novemeber and Hussey suggested Victoria quick Chris Tremain will also be on the radar of the National Selection Panel.
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“It’s a tough one, (the third seamer spot) is the one I’ve agonised over,” Hussey told Optus Sport’s Stumps.
“I can understand going for someone like a Tremain who’s got a bit more ball speed and be able to help out with reverse (swing).
“But I still like Jackson Bird. You know what you’re going to get, day in day out.
“He’s going to be there or thereabouts, he can build up pressure and then you can attack from the other end.
“I think that would help the spinners at the other end if you know you’ve got a ‘banker’ like Jackson Bird.
“It’s a 50-50 call, I don’t which way the selectors are going to go. But I’m a big Jackson Bird fan.”
Tremain made his international debut on Australia’s ill-fated one-day international tour of South Africa, picking up seven wickets in four matches as the Proteas completed a 5-0 series sweep but is uncapped at Test level.
Only Redbacks seamer Chadd Sayers, with 29 scalps, has taken more Sheffield Shield wickets than the slingy right-armer’s 27 poles at the halfway mark of the season.
Hussey also weighed into Australia’s No.6 conundrum, insisting a specialist batsman should be given the nod rather than a designated allrounder.
“I think we need to pick the best batsman to bat at No.6, particularly in India,” the 79-Test veteran said.
“If they can help out with the ball, that’s a massive bonus.
“So my candidates would be Shaun Marsh rather than Mitch Marsh, but also Glenn Maxwell or Travis Head who can help out with some handy overs in the middle.”
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And after Matt Renshaw’s monster century in the SCG Test against Pakistan, Hussey said the young opener should take on the new ball in India, despite admitting some prior reservations about his suitability.
“Before the Sydney Test I would have definitely been 50/50 (about taking Renshaw to India),” he said.
“(He thought) ‘do you expose a young player like that to Indian conditions where mentally you could ruin him for a few months?’
“But after seeing him make 184 in that last Test, he looks class. I think he’s earned his spot on that plane and an opportunity in India.”