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Thatscricket - News - Cricket: Mike Hussey sets eyes on a Test role

Published: Thursday, September 13, 2001, 0:12 [IST]
 
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Perth: Prolific left-hander Mike Hussey, toast of the just-completed England county season, has his eyes fixed firmly on his next target - a place as an opening batsman in the powerful Australian Test cricket side.[an error occurred while processing this directive]After returning from his record-breaking season with Northamptonshire, the 26-year-old is now focused on the Australian domestic season starting next month."I know I have to continue scoring a mountain of runs to push myself into consideration for the next level," Hussey said on Sunday. The Australian selectors will watch his performances closely after his prodigious scoring in England, where he became the first player in six years to top 2000 runs in a season in the county contest.His aggregate of 2055 runs included 329 not out against Essex, two double centuries and five single centuries. Northamptonshire was so impressed with his skills it has hurriedly signed him up for the next two seasons.While he dominated at the crease in England, Hussey realises he may find it more difficult to string together consistently big scores in the highly- competitive interstate Sheffield Shield scene.To qualify for his first baggy green Australian cap, he has to gain the nod ahead of a host of accomplished openers. He is in competition with, among others, seemingly permanent opener Matthew Hayden, Western Australian team-mate Justin Langer and dashing New South Wales right-hander Michael Slater.Langer, chosen to open with Hayden when Slater was dropped, hit an excellent century for Australia in the fifth Test of the recent Ashes series at the Oval, and is keen to retain a position at the top of the order. Slater has vowed to recapture his best form to give him good prospects of being recalled for the opening Test of the new summer - against New Zealand, starting in Brisbane November 8. Hussey said, "It's all about runs and simply up to me to keep pumping them out to maintain momentum." Hussey's Australian campaign starts October 17 when Western Australia takes on Sheffield Shield title-holder Queensland in Brisbane.

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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