Michael Hussey Adam Gilchrist cricket Australia
Michael Hussey (left) and Adam Gilchrist © Getty Images (file photo)

Australia are likely to find the enormous shoes of Steven Smith and David Warner difficult to fill in the upcoming long season, where Australia play Pakistan in UAE and host both South Africa and India. Talking to Fox SportsAdam Gilchrist emphasised on the task: “In relation to the actual national team at the moment, we’ve lost the lion’s share of our run-scorers in two players [Smith and Warner], so that’s going to be a challenge to fill that void in all forms.

“Therein lies the opportunity for someone to come in and do it well and that’s the thing to get excited about,” Gilchrist pointed out, but that task is going to take some time.

How to find a way around this? Michael Hussey told Fox Sports: “I would like to see the pathways becoming really strong again, particularly in the Sheffield Shield. Not to say that it’s not strong, but to put a real focus on making sure that next level down is a great breeding ground, and developing some gun players so the jump from Shield cricket up to Test cricket is a bit smaller.

“If you get that base in a really good place, I think it always filters through. Getting guys to really earn their place in that Australian team, really dominate that level below for a period of time, not just a few games and then getting an opportunity. When they get picked, they’re more ready to handle the highest level because it’s really tough.

“For young guys coming in who are still learning their game, or still trying to develop their game, to make that jump up on the biggest stage can be really tough. I’d just like us to pay a lot of attention, and make sure that Sheffield Shield in particular, and the Second XI is really strong.”

Hussey also backed the Australian bowling attack — subject to their fitness levels, of course: “What we should be excited about is hopefully our attack will be fit. I’d love to see our attack of [Mitchell] Starc, [Josh] Hazlewood, [Nathan] Lyon and [Pat] Cummins going head to head with some quality Indian batsman like Virat Kohli, [Murali] Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, [Ajinkya] Rahane, [Cheteshwar] Pujara — the list goes on.

“An awesome bowling attack going against a quality batting order in good conditions: that’s something to look forward to.”