To let them stay, or not stay? That is the question.
Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey both had memorable summers. Ponting in particular became the old run-machine that he used to be. Hussey as well found some touch. However, as the Ashes Series slowly creeps around the corner, decisions need to be made. The general feeling amongst the powers that be at Cricket Australia, believe that both must stay for the Ashes. Clarke also warms to the idea of having two old heads at his side. Yet, at what cost?
Ponting’s return to form cannot be ignored. His double century and a hundred speak for itself. Both massive scores came when the Australians were under pressure. The opening pair failing once again. With a touch of luck, determination and know-how ability to accumulate runs, Ponting silenced the calls for his retirement.
Mr. Cricket, on the other hand, is a different story. His runs and average of over 55 tells us he enjoyed a fine summer. However, statistics can be misleading. Hussey has been a fine servant for the Australian team, no doubt, but for the last few years, he has been relying on ill-disciplined bowling, circumstance and luck. Can anyone recall the innings when Hussey and Siddle resurrected the Sydney Test Match against Pakistan? He was dropped five times. If any of those five catches were taken, his career would have been finished. Lets be honest, the match itself is questionable. Then there is the Ashes Series last year. For the first half of the series, Hussey carried the team with consistent scores but then struggled for the last two test matches. Why was that? The English bowlers did not plan well against Hussey. They bowled far to short and Hussey fed off his favourite hook and pull shots. Yet, noticing this, the English redirected their plans by bowling a fuller length. Problem solved. Hussey was no longer a threat and failed like the rest of the Australian team. Then we come to the most recent test series. Hussey has a high cricket IQ and he uses this to his advantage. He knows when to cash in. Hussey had good fortune to come to the crease following one of many huge partnerships between Clarke and Ponting. Hussey took advantage of the disinterested Indians, by piling on the runs. However, Australia’s dominant position was not Hussey’s fault, he just faced what he had to face.
What the summer does tell us is that the mystery of Ponting is solved and the puzzle of Hussey is not.
The Australian selectors must make their call right now. If Ponting and Hussey play in the next test series, then they must play in the Ashes Series. There is no point carrying them all the way up to the Ashes and then to only be sitting in the grandstands.