Domain Tests v India
Hussey presents Test cap to Harris
Mike Hussey was on hand at Adelaide Oval on Thursday to present a Baggy Green to Australia's newest debutant
AAP & Cricket Network
6 December 2018, 10:57 AM AEST
Nearly eight years after handing him his maiden Western Australian cap, Mike Hussey has presented Test debutant Marcus Harris with his Baggy Green at Adelaide Oval.
Justin Langer, who has known Harris since he was in nappies, enlisted the help of fellow West Aussie Hussey, who played 79 Tests, to usher Harris into international cricket.
"(It's) pretty special," Harris told Fox Cricket. "It's a bit surreal. It was great to have the family out here, I looked at them and I nearly started crying."
The 26-year-old opener, who has been one of the JLT Sheffield Shield's standout batsmen since moving to Victoria two years ago, becomes the 456th player to represent Australia's Test side.
Hussey, who presented Marnus Labuschagne with his Baggy Green just two Tests ago in Dubai, gave a brief speech to Australia's huddle before the players started warming up for day one of Australia's first Domain Test against India.
"The main message for him was that he's played so well for Victoria in the last few seasons, he doesn't have to try any harder (at Test level)," Hussey told cricket.com.au on Thursday morning.
"He's just got to keep doing what he does for Victoria, that's given him success at that level, I'm sure that will give him success at this level.
"I was actually lucky enough to present his Western Australia cap as well, so that's a nice double.
"I remember him as this cheeky kid with so much talent and ability (but) he was probably a little bit inconsistent.
"But then he made the move to Victoria, which would have been a really big decision for him to make, (to) get out of his comfort zone. Since then he's taken his game to a new level and thoroughly deserves his selection."
Harris sealed his call-up with an unbeaten 250 for Victoria at the MCG in October, with national selectors entrusting him to open the batting alongside Aaron Finch in the four-Test series opener.
The duo will have to wait to begin their new union after India skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first.
Langer and Harris have a long history, with the former recently pooh-poohing suggestions the pair weren't on good terms after Harris left WA while the ex-Test batsman was the state coach.
Langer had labelled him "mediocre with flashes of brilliance" after his departure.
"Let me squash this straightaway - Marcus Harris is like my little brother," Langer said recently. "I've known him at Scarborough Cricket Club since he was about 10 years old.
"Did I say (he was) mediocre with flashes of brilliance? Yeah I did, because that's what he was. That's the truth, look at it.
"I keep reading your guys' headlines (suggesting) there's a big thing about Justin Langer and Marcus Harris because he said he's mediocre – he's my little brother! I love him, I love him, he makes me laugh every time I see him."
Like Langer, Harris is a nuggetty left-hander who thrives against the new ball.
Darren Lehmann, who'd been coaching Queensland when Harris scored 150 against the Bulls in just his third Shield match, said Harris reminded him of Langer. Both Harris and Langer played at Scarborough CC in Perth and both received personal batting coaching from Neil ‘Noddy’ Holder.
In the two-and-a-half seasons since his move across the Nullarbor, Harris has become the consistent player Langer always wanted him to be. He averaged 43 in his first season with the Vics, 42 in his second and has 501 runs at 72 in five Shield games this season.
Harris has conceded that Langer parting shot was accurate. Rather than being insulted, he took it as feedback.
"As I've got older I've matured a lot more," Harris said. "I've been able keep myself level when I left the playing field.
"I know when I was younger, if I got a hundred I'd be so up and then next game I'd come in and get a bit low (if I missed out).
"Being able to back up games and just being consistent has been my main focus the last couple of years and that's showed with my results."
Harris and Finch have not opened alongside each other for Victoria in first-class cricket but have batted at the top together at KFC Big Bash League level for the Melbourne Renegades.
Hussey, speaking prior to the first Test, urged selectors to give Harris and the entire new-look XI a chance to prove they belong this summer.
"You just need to be patient with good players," Hussey told AAP.
"Look at someone like Travis Head. He showed some good signs in the UAE and it'd be a real blow to his confidence and mindset if they just punted him straight away.
"If you've identified somebody as one of the best players in the country then just stick with them for a while, unless there's someone in the level below just hammering the door down and making a case too strong to ignore.
"You're going to get low scores, that's just part and parcel of the game."
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 6-10: First Test, Adelaide Oval
Dec 14-18: Second Test, Perth Stadium
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar