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Hussey says his shoes can be filled
By Guy Hand
16:32 AEST Sun Dec 30 2012

Michael Hussey insists there is quality and quantity to replace him despite leaving a second chasm in Australian cricket's middle order ahead of a critical 12 months.

Hussey's announcement on Saturday that he'll retire from international cricket after this summer came exactly a month after Ricky Ponting revealed he was calling time on his storied career.

That leaves another middle-order batting vacancy going into February's tour of India, followed by two Ashes series, in England then Australia.

But 37-year-old Hussey - set to play his 79th and last Test this week against Sri Lanka at the SCG - insisted on Sunday there was talent available to step in after his surprise decision to retire despite averaging close to 80 this summer.

And he suggested his 35-year-old brother David, a regular contributor at domestic level for Victoria, should be among those considered.

"I'm not worried about the team whatsoever. We've got some fantastic candidates to come in - probably too many to name," Hussey said.

"Maybe David Hussey could get a run - one Hussey out, one Hussey in.

"History has shown players have come and gone. But the game continues to move forward, and it'll be no different with me."

With Phil Hughes already recalled to replace Ponting, Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja is almost certain to get first crack at Hussey's spot, while Victorian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is in the 13-man squad for the Sydney Test as injured Shane Watson's replacement.

Maxwell bats at No.5 or 6 for Victoria, and comes with the bonus of bowling decent off-spin.

The younger Hussey and fellow Victorian Rob Quiney - used and discarded already this summer - will also be among the candidates, along with Tasmania's Alex Doolan and South Australia's Callum Ferguson.

Hussey said his decision to walk away - mostly for family reasons as he didn't want to commit to a six-month-plus stint away from home next year - had shocked teammates.

He rang them all personally on Saturday after he had broken the news to Australian captain Michael Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur.

Paceman Mitchell Starc admitted he was surprised, and believed Hussey's replacement would have big shoes to fill.

"He's still in great form with the bat, as we've seen through this summer so far," Starc said in Sydney on Sunday.

"He's going out the way he wants by the sound of things and it's going to leave a big hole. It's hard to replace Ricky Ponting.

"Now we've got to replace him and Mike Hussey, so it's a big gap."

The Australians will also have to find a replacement for Hussey in his role of leading singing of the team song after Test victories.

He refused to say who his preferred candidate was, but said he had already spoken to the player.

But Hussey said he was comfortable with his decision to walk away after Sydney, despite his great recent form.

"I do still love the game, but I'm not up to the rigours, pressures and stresses of international cricket any more," Hussey said.

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