''The club has today received final confirmation that Mike Hussey will not return to Durham for the 2006 season. He will be replaced by Jimmy Maher,'' club's website said.
This would be Maher's second stint with the club.
Hussey, part of the Australian team currently in South Africa, will be rested by Cricket Australia (CA) at the end of the tour to Bangladesh in April.
''Last year at Durham was one of the most enjoyable I have had as a cricketer. The group of players and the atmosphere at the Club was unbelievable and to achieve the success we did was fantastic,'' Hussey was quoted by the club website as saying.
''I have unfinished business at the Riverside and hopefully I can return in future years.'' Jimmy Maher will return to Durham following the conclusion of the domestic season in Australia. Maher had a brief stint at the club covering for Hussey last season.
Durham Coach Martyn Moxon said, ''It is obviously disappointing to lose a player of Mikes ability before the start of the season.
When it became apparent Mike couldnt come back we moved quickly to secure the services of a top class opener.'' ''Jimmy made a lasting impression during his time last year and with his experience will add significantly to the team,'' he added.
Dale Benkenstein will take over as Captain from Mike Hussey for the coming season.