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AFP
February 19, 2020

Hussey hopes to keep mentoring role through to T20 World Cup

Sports

AFP
February 19, 2020

SYDNEY: Former batsman Michael Hussey is hopeful that his stint with Australia’s T20 team will continue throughout their preparation for the World Cup in October, and into the tournament itself.

Justin Langer has made a point of using former players as backroom staff, often bringing them in for a series at a time on an informal basis. Hussey linked up with the squad ahead of their T20I series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the home summer, and has travelled to South Africa with them in a flexible role.

“I’m hoping to stay involve with the T20 team leading up to and through the World Cup,” Hussey said. “It’s a fantastic environment. I really like the guys: they work so hard, and there’s a lot of excitement around the team with that T20 World Cup on our own doorstep and not too far away.

“They’re really focused and driven to do well, and motivated to try and put in good performances to be in that squad and have a chance of winning the World Cup.

“I’m not exactly sure what [my] title is, whether it’s mentor, batting coach, or whatever. But I don’t really mind, I just want to get in there and help out however I can, and throw a lot of balls, I guess.”

Hussey filled a similar role at the last T20 World Cup, where he was hired as a consultant, and his short-form coaching experience also includes the batting coach job at Chennai Super Kings as well as a role as director of cricket at Sydney Thunder.

Australia have placed a greater focus on role clarity among their batsmen in the current cycle of T20I cricket, after their 2016 World T20 campaign turned into something of a debacle. With a coterie of top-order batsmen in their squad, David Warner was used at No. 3 or 4, and Shane Watson shifted down from opener to finisher three matches into the tournament.

“I’m rapt that [Matthew Wade] has got an opportunity and I really hope he can cement his place in that middle order, because he’s playing brilliantly well at the moment”

But partly thanks to Alex Carey’s emergence, this year looks to be different, with Warner, Aaron Finch and Steven Smith emerging as the first-choice top three and Carey, Glenn Maxwell and one other batsman likely to form No. 4-6.

Maxwell’s injury means there will likely be opportunities for Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh in the middle order, with the No. 7 spot filled by a bowling allrounder - either Ashton Agar or Sean Abbott. Wade has been used exclusively as an opener in recent years by the Hobart Hurricanes, but is seen as a versatile option, not least with his ability as a back-up wicketkeeper.