‘Clarke’s word is enough’: Hussey

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 07 Desember 2014 | 23.08

Australian captain Michael Clarke is on track to play the first Test against India in Adelaide after training for a second straight day.

Michael Clarke after completing a net session in his bid to be fit for Tuesday's first Test. Photo by Michael Dodge. Source: Getty Images

FORMER Australian Test batsman Mike Hussey says it's a gamble, but Michael Clarke must be selected for the first Test against India on Tuesday.

It will be an emotion-charged atmosphere for the series-opener before a packed house as the Australian players seek to honour their former teammate Phillip Hughes who was farewelled last week in his home town of Macksville in NSW.

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Hussey says skipper Clarke's word should be good enough on his fitness.

The 33-year-old Clarke has trained strongly in the past two days in a bid to show Australia's four-man selection panel that he has overcome his latest hamstring injury.

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann talks to captain Michael Clarke during a training session at the Adelaide Oval. Photo by Michael Dodge. Source: Getty Images

Hussey says he has been overwhelmed by Clarke's leadership qualities in the past couple of weeks since Hughes' tragic death aged 25 following a hit to the head in a Sheffield Shield game at the SCG.

"He has really stepped up to the plate in tough times," Hussey told the Herald Sun from Perth.

"He was very close to Hughesy. He has referred to him as his little brother.

"He has been phenomenal really to show support to the Hughes family.

"It just goes to show that life and friendships and relationships are more important than any game of cricket.

"If he says he's fit and the physios say he's fit, he has to be picked.

"But it is a gamble. If you're done your hammy three times in three months then it's certainly a gamble to take him into a five-day Test.

"You've got to trust his word and if he says he's fine, you've got to back him in.

"He's the captain and the best batsman in the team."

Australia and India have taken to the nets in preparation for an emotional first Test in Adelaide on Tuesday.

Shaun Marsh has been called up on standby for Clarke in addition to the original 12-man squad.

Apart from Clarke, whose determination to play has been obvious in his efforts at training, Australia must also decide on uncapped NSW quick Josh Hazlewood or Victoria's workhorse Peter Siddle for their third-seamer option, behind Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson.

Siddle had a poor two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October/November, claiming two wickets for 217 runs.

However the 30-year-old Siddle, a veteran of 55 Tests, hit form with a second-innings haul of 5/31 in last month's Shield win over South Australia.

"As far as Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood goes, Peter Siddle is the incumbent," Hussey said.

"He has done the job over many years.

"He has got five-for against South Australia in the Sheffield Shield match at Adelaide Oval.

"He certainly deserves first crack at it."

Hussey who retired in January 2013, played in Hughes' debut Test series in South Africa in 2009.

Michael Clarke stretches during a training session at the Adelaide Oval. Pic: Tait Schmaal. Source: News Corp Australia

He says the grief felt by Clarke's men will make getting through the first Test, or even just tomorrow's first session of play, a huge challenge.

"It has been an amazing couple of weeks, really sad and really emotional," Hussey said.

"Everyone has been in shock really. I certainly have.

"I'm sure there'll be certain times that they will be thinking about Hughesy.

"Hopefully most of the other times they are just concentrating on the job they have to do out in the middle.

"But I'm sure he'll come into their minds at stages during the Test."

Hussey says for a player like opening batsman David Warner, the key will be to keep his mind on the job despite what are likely to be emotional scenes in the minutes leading up to the match.

"Possibly. Davey Warner, if Australia is batting first, he was very good mates with Phillip Hughes," Hussey said.

"I'm sure there'll be emotions bubbling away. It's something they're going to have to deal with.

"It might go one of two ways.

"Will they come out and be really fired up or will they be a bit flat? I don't know.

"It comes down to the individual, how he prepares and trying to keep control of your emotions."

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