Aussies won't get carried away by Pietersen absence: Hussey
Mike Hussey has warned Australia not to get carried away by Kevin Pietersen's withdrawal from England's Ashes campaign.cricket Updated: Jul 24, 2009 17:20 IST
Mike Hussey has warned Australia not to get carried away by Kevin Pietersen's withdrawal from England's Ashes campaign.
Pietersen will miss the remaining three Tests of the series after surgery on an Achilles tendon injury.
However, while Hussey knows the news is a blow to England, the Australia batsman has no intention of writing off Andrew Strauss's side.
Hussey, who captains Australia in their three-day match against his old county Northamptonshire this weekend, believes Pietersen's likely replacement Ian Bell has enough talent to help make it hard for Ricky Ponting's team to claw back the 1-0 series deficit.
"It's going to be a big loss to the England team. Pietersen has obviously been a quality batsman for a long period of time and they're definitely going to miss him," Hussey said.
"It is a boost for us. He's played well for a long time, and done it against Australia, and is probably the lynchpin of that batting order. Not having him there has to be a plus for us.
"But they've got some pretty good replacements who can come in and do a very good job and can score hundreds in Test matches - so we can't think it is going to be any easier.
"If you lose one player, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to win or lose the series from then on.
"Certainly in the England team, as in ours, they have had different blokes contributing."
Pietersen is clearly a more dynamic player than Bell and the Warwickshire batsman struggled against Australia in 2005. But he will be playing on his home ground if he does get called up for next week's Edgbaston Test and Hussey is full of praise for the 27-year-old.
"Bell is a quality player, who has played very well for England before. We're going to give him the same respect we give all the England batsmen," he said.
There is no shortage of Australian respect either for England's other injury-hit star Andrew Flintoff, especially after his man-of-the-match performance and maiden Lord's five-wicket haul last week.
Hussey concedes there was little Australia could have done to resist Flintoff's relentless attack.
"He had a great Test match at Lord's, bowled brilliantly throughout," he said.
"I don't know if we could have done a hell of a lot different against him. But we hope it's our turn to get on top of him in the next one."
Australia themselves have form as well as fitness concerns to address before Edgbaston.
Fast bowler Brett Lee's chances of being available in time after his side strain seem slim, and he will play no part against Northamptonshire.
His pace partner Mitchell Johnson is fit but not firing, and it will be high on Hussey's brief - in the absence of the rested Ponting - to give the left-armer every opportunity to establish some much-needed bowling rhythm at Northampton.
Hussey knows Australia had only themselves to blame for the Lord's defeat but expects they will get back on track quickly.
"It's pretty simple stuff. We didn't play well enough for long periods of time," he said. "That's what we've prided ourselves on, in the drawn first Test in Cardiff and the wins against South Africa.
"We need to get back to doing those basics very, very well. If we can do that I think we can put England under a lot of pressure and I think we can beat them."