Mike Hussey believes Australia could trouble South Africa
FORMER star batsman Mike Hussey has thrown his support behind Australia's under-fire spinning stocks ahead of a long summer, saying the slow-bowling depth is as strong as ever.
That is despite Test incumbent Nathan Lyon picking up just three wickets in Australia's comprehensive 2-0 Test series loss to Pakistan in the UAE last month.
Tasmanian off-spinner Xavier Doherty has been named as the main tweaker for today's third one-dayer against South Africa at Manuka Oval in Canberra. The series is tied at 1-all after the games were split in Perth, where all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was Australia's sole spin option.
Hussey said he believed Australia could trouble South Africa - the world's No.1 ranked one-day team - in the next three games, and had plenty of options for the contests ahead.
"I don't agree with people saying that Australia lacks high-quality spinning options," Hussey, who scored 5442 runs in one-dayers at an average of 48.16, told APN.
"Xavier Doherty has been picked for the next three one-dayers, but if conditions suit, Nathan Lyon is certainly good enough to play alongside him. Lyon has done a great job for Australia, and he has a better record than Richie Benaud had at the same stage of his career.
"Then you've got guys like Cameron Boyce who did really well for us in recent Twenty20s (against Pakistan and South Africa).
"There's also Adam Zampa, Fawad Ahmed, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar and Steve O'Keefe - so the depth is as good as it's ever been."
Apart from skipper Michael Clarke's hamstring, the other big issue for Australia going forward is who will bat at No.3 in the Test series against India starting next month.
Alex Doolan and Glenn Maxwell filled that role in the Tests against Pakistan, but Hussey said South Australian Callum Ferguson's sparkling form in recent weeks suggested he could be the best option for the first Test at the Gabba starting on December 4.
"Callum has scored the most runs at first-class level so far this season, he's done well for us in the one-day game before and he's still only 30, so he can still have a long career ahead," Hussey said.
ODI squad: G Bailey (capt), N Coulter-Nile, P Cummins, X Doherty, J Faulkner, A Finch, J Hazlewood, M Marsh, G Maxwell, K Richardson, S Smith, M Starc, M Wade, D Warner, S Watson.
Mike Hussey and fellow cricket legend Glenn McGrath are calling on grassroots cricket clubs to apply for CommBank Cricket Club Sponsorship grants. The program offers $2000 in financial support each year for two years, as well as cricket gear and other merchandise to use on game days. Visit http://www.commbank.com.au/cricket to apply.