Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting is confident that Michael Hussey has turned the corner

A PRIVATE meeting with Mike Hussey has convinced Test skipper Ricky Ponting that the veteran has turned the corner and will rebuild his career this summer.

Ponting took Hussey aside yesterday to gauge how he was feeling about his form and speculation over his Test spot.

The chat ended with Ponting feeling certain that the 34-year-old was back on track and feeling more relaxed.

"I sat down with him (Hussey) yesterday and had a good chat out in the nets about how he was feeling about things and how he was going," Ponting said.

"He is really relaxed, he is really confident in his game at the moment.

"He feels that the amount of time he has spent in the middle of late in one-day cricket, and the amount of runs he has scored in one-day cricket, should hold him in good stead for the summer.

"We know Test cricket and one-day cricket are a totally different kettle of fish but if you look at the way he has gone about it, he has worked exceptionally hard.

"I have kept a pretty close eye on him over the last couple of days and what I've seen is he has hit most balls in the middle of the bat so hopefully there's some big scores around the corner for him."

Hussey, 34, has endured a lean 12 months at Test level with 28 innings without a Test century until his career-saving 121 in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval. The veteran then resuscitated his career in India after chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch had said he had "big decisions" to make about Hussey's futureresuscitated his career in India.

Hussey scored a series-high 313 runs at 104 during the seven one-day match series to convince selectors that he was worth retaining this summer.

Ponting said Hussey's form resurgence was born during the Ashes, despite his on-field struggles.

"I think even by his own admissions he has struggled a bit and been less consistent in the last 12 months than he had been for all of his career," Ponting said.

"I think there were glimpses of some really good stuff through the Ashes, although it wasn't until the last innings of the series he made a century.

"His hundred at The Oval was as well as he has played in a long time.

"Any deficiency he has had he has always tried to rectify and change pretty quickly."

To his teammates, Hussey might now appear more relaxed and at ease with himself and his place in the side.

But behind the scenes "Mr Cricket" has spent countless hours in the nets working on his technique and finding fresh strategies.

"He has worked his way out of it with some hard work and some determination to score as many runs as he can," Ponting said.

"We've all been there as batsmen when you are struggling.

"You are trying everything in your power to get out in the middle and score some runs.

"The game sometimes can just grab hold of you like that and you feel like you can't ever get out of it.

"It's good to see that runs have started to come for him."

Ponting was also quick to deny speculation that Hussey could be moved up to open with Simon Katich, with allrounder Shane Watson shuffled down the order.

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