Situation demanded defensive approach: Hussey

Middle-order batsman Michael Hussey did not agree with the views of some former players that the visitors have been ultra-defensive in their approach.

updated: November 04, 2008 11:48 IST
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Renowned for their aggressive brand of cricket, Australia's defensive mindset in the Test series against India may have baffled most but middle-order batsman Michael Hussey on Tuesday insisted that circumstances warranted a cautious approach and his team reacted accordingly.

Hussey, who has hit a century and two half centuries coming into this decider, did not agree with the views of some former players that the visitors have been ultra-defensive in their approach.

"I don't think so. It all depended upon the situation. In Bangalore, we tried to press for a win. In Mohali it was different as we were chasing a big score and in Delhi we were again chasing a big total," Hussey argued.

"I'm sure if situation warrants, we will play attacking cricket here," he added.

The 33-year-old middle order batsman said the team has got used to playing against leggie Amit Mishra after floundering against his spin in Mohali.

In his debut Test, Mishra scalped seven wickets - five of them in the first innings - but Hussey believes his teammates now have a better idea about the young leggie ahead of the fourth and final Test commencing on November 6 at the newly built Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Jamtha.

"It's always difficult when you face a bowler for the first time. But we have got used to him after playing against him at Mohali and Delhi," Hussey said.

Australia are down 0-1 in the series and desperately need a victory to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, having won the previous rubber at home at the beginning of the year. Hussey, however, said the team was not focussing on the outcome but on playing well so that the results follow.

"We are not focussing on the result for now but on the process," he said, adding that the performance of the batsmen in the third drawn Test at Delhi would stand the team in good stead for the battle ahead.

"It was not such a flat wicket in Delhi and to chase 600 and come very close took a lot of perseverance. (Australian captain) Ricky (Ponting) was very proud of our performance and it has given us lot of confidence (for the series decider)," the Western Australian player said.

Hussey feels that the first session of play is likely to set the tone for the remainder of the crucial tie.

"The first session of play in the Test match is most important whether batting or bowling. If we start it well we can take it from there and press for victory," said the left-handed batsman after practising at the old VCA stadium in the heart of the city.

Emotions would run high in the Indian camp, following the quitting of Anil Kumble and the imminent retirement of another senior player Sourav Ganguly but Hussey doesn't think it would affect the home team's focus.

"I would hope so, but it would not happen as they are hardened professionals and would not allow these distractions to affect their play," Hussey said.

The left-hander could not say whether the Australians would include two spinners for the tie by adding the uncapped off-spinner Jason Krejza, who had a long stint at the nets today, to leggie Cameron White.

"It will be decided by the captain and selectors after they have a look at the main stadium and pitch. It would have been wonderful to have the feel by playing in the main stadium but that's not in our control and we have to take what we have been offered and make the best of it," he said.

Hussey said that Test cricket remained the ultimate for him despite the popularity of other formats of the game.

"Test cricket tests a batsman's skill, technique mentally and physically. Test cricket is the most difficult form of the game to play. I don't agree that crowds no longer throng the Test venues. The examples are the Boxing Day match in Melbourne, the crowds we saw at Delhi and others too," he emphasised.

The middle-order batsman said he has taken the decision to play for Chennai Super Kings and not his state team Western Australia in the December 3-10 Champions Twenty20 League as he did not want to block a younger player's chance to play for WA and had also helped the Chennai side to qualify for the event by playing four India Premier League ties.