Michael Hussey fears Indian fight back at Perth

Michael Hussey believes MS Dhoni enables his players to give their best by giving them space and showing faith in their ability AFP

Perth: Jan 9, 2012

The Indian cricket team seems down and out after back-to-back losses but senior Australian batsman Michael Hussey remains wary of the tourists as he feels their “pride and experience” can conquer the intimidating conditions that await them in the third Test starting at Perth on Friday.

“The goal is to go 3-0…and we haven’t spoken about 4-0 yet. To go 3-0 up will be an awesome achievement but the Indians have great players with a lot of experience and pride.

I am expecting them to bounce back quite hard in this Test,” stated Hussey who has run into form with successive innings of 89 and unbeaten 150 in the last two Tests.

“This pitch will have extra pace and bounce. We play very well in these conditions but this is different to Indians from their home country. Yet, as I said, they have unbelievable experience; they have been here before and performed well.

They can adapt to conditions pretty quickly,” he added.

It was the Indians’ pride and steely determination which made them win the last encounter between the two teams at this venue in 2007-08.

“I remember the last Test very well. There was controversy coming into this Test (after Sydney) and it sort of galvanised them. They came here with a steely determination to do well.

“At that time I didn’t feel so but it did affect the team (Australian) a little bit with what was happening outside cricket. But they also played some outstanding cricket. It was the birth of Ishant Sharma who bowled unbelievably well. It was phenomenal bowling. Indians were too good in that game.”

The team of 2007-08 was brilliantly led on that occasion by Anil Kumble and the present one is also being headed by someone whom Hussey regards as a very good captain.

The Australian left-hander batsman plays for Chennai Super Kings and has had the opportunity to view Mahendra Singh Dhoni from close quarters.

“One of his strengths is whether things are going well or poorly, he keeps a very level head. He doesn’t get emotional and keeps things in perspective. That’s the strength in his character. When things are not going well for the team, it’s important for the group to stick together,” Hussey said.

Hussey believes Dhoni enables his players to give their best by giving them space and showing faith in their ability.

“His philosophy is to be calm and enjoy the experience.

He wants you to trust your skills. Some days it comes off and some days it doesn’t. He allows you to go out and enjoy yourself and execute your skills,” he explained.

Though Hussey is wary of the Indians, he spoke highly of his own players such as the pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Ryan Harris who took nine wickets in the Ashes Test here last year.

“Harris bowls pretty well on most wickets. He has outstanding discipline, he keeps the seam upright and he bowls at a very good pace. He is very aggressive as well. If there is something in the pitch, he will find it. He presents the seam very well and is a great competitor. He wants to win and he wants to perform well,” Hussey said.

“Starc is a great athlete. He has good height and it’s always an advantage if a left-armer can swing the ball. It’s good to see him bowl with such confidence. He’s a great prospect for the future.

“Traditionally, this pitch does have moisture and bounce.

It can be good for batting as well since the margin of error is very small for bowlers. If you get in and set you can also score quickly. The bounce is true and outfield is fast. This pitch is fair to everyone,” he added.

The middle-order batsman said a lot of things going into this Test could work to his side’s advantage.

“I’m really looking forward to winning at home ground. In WACA, the local guys get a louder welcome roar than at any other venue. There’s a plenty of motivation to do well,” Hussey said.

“I love playing in Perth. If a local player takes a catch, the cheer is ten times louder. They can be very parochial. It can be a great place to play cricket once you get set at this pitch.”

A left-hander like him and a number three batsman of the side, Shaun Marsh, has had a miserable start in the Test series with scores of 0,3 and 0 so far but Hussey backs the local boy to do well in the third Test.

“Marsh will also definitely perform well. He’s training very well. When you are out for over a month and come straight to Test cricket, it does take a little bit time.

“He is hitting very well in the nets. You need to be there in the first half an hour of the innings. I’m sure if he gets a start he would turn it into a big hundred.”

Hussey believes the side is doing well under Michael Clarke who is very aggressive and passionate about Australian cricket.

“He’s not too different from Ricky Ponting. He learnt a lot from Ricky over the years. He picked up a few things from Ricky but he also wanted his own things to impress upon the side.

“He wants things to happen. He is a very aggressive captain. He wants to score all the time; take wickets all the time; he attempts unusual field at times. He is always thinking as a captain.

“He is very passionate and you can tell so by the way he speaks to players. He is enjoying his role. You could see that he is enjoying as a player as well since he has become captain. It bodes well for the future.” (PTI)