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Hussey's stock soars ahead of World Cup

Hussey has enhanced his reputation as the best ODI finisher by steering his side to victories in tense run chases.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 21:36 IST

His career was at the crossroads the last time Australia was preparing for a World Cup, but now batsman Mike Hussey is shaping up to be a pivotal player in his team's tilt at the tournament.

In Australia's last two triangular series matches, Hussey has enhanced his reputation as one-day cricket's best finisher by steering his side to victories in tense run chases despite the failure of his team's top order.

Against England last Friday, the top-ranked one-day batsman in the world teamed up with Brett Lee to get Australia home, while yesterday against New Zealand, with just two wickets in hand, he struck a six to claim victory.

In both matches, the man they call "Mr Cricket" for his thorough professionalism, remained typically cool in a crisis.

The performances lifted his one-day international batting average after 52 games to a remarkable 79.94, with an equally impressive strike-rate of 91.94.

There are an increasing number of experts who believe Hussey is wasted batting at No 6 in limited-overs cricket, but the man himself said he was most comfortable in that role.

"I really enjoy and relish the situation (at No 6) where I can come in and try to have a positive impact on the team," he said in Sydney today.

Many comparisons have been drawn between Hussey and fellow left-hander Michael Bevan, who played a similar role late in the middle order in Australia's 1999 and 2003 World Cup successes.

Bevan, who recently retired because he was overlooked for Australia's 30-man provisional squad for the West Indies, averaged 53.

First Published: Jan 22, 2007 19:39 IST