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Age no barrier to Test claims: Clarke
16:23 AEST Mon Dec 31 2012

Australia captain Michael Clarke has reaffirmed age is no barrier as Brad Haddin and David Hussey emerge as Test tour contenders in 2013 following Michael Hussey's shock retirement.

National selectors have been forced to scramble to find a replacement for Hussey in the middle order for the upcoming tour of India, which commences on February 20 ahead of the Ashes series in England midway through 2013.

Although selectors have predominantly looked to bring in emerging talent, the retirements of experienced campaigners Ricky Ponting and Hussey in quick succession have moved the goalposts somewhat, according to coach Mickey Arthur.

And, with experience needed to help develop the side's young batsmen, the likes of former Test keeper-batsman Haddin and David Hussey - both 35 - are being considered for Test call-ups.

"I've said for a long time that the number or the age is exactly that - it's just a number," Clarke said on Fox Sports on Monday, when asked whether those players were too old to be included.

"So if you're still performing well, if you're 17 years of age or if you're 37 years of age it shouldn't make any difference."

Former skipper Steve Waugh rated Haddin among the top six batsmen in the country before the summer began and he sits sixth on this season's Sheffield Shield runs list with 337 at 67.4.

Clarke's reaffirmation of his position will also come as good news for David Hussey - a player who has featured for Australia in limited-overs cricket, but never in the Test arena.

And, if given the call, the younger Hussey would be determined to grab his chance when the side faces India in February.

"I desperately want to play Test cricket and I haven't had the opportunity," Hussey said in Melbourne on Monday.

"I don't think I'd be able to replace Mike as a player (but) I think it'd be a privilege to play Test cricket in his position. If that happens it would be fantastic.

When asked whether he was too old for the gig, 35-year-old Hussey joked: "I'm 29 - what are you talking about?

"I guess my advantage is I've played for a long time. I know my game pretty well. I've made a lot of first-class runs.

"Allegedly I'm a very good player of spin, so I'd love to prove myself against the Indians."


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