Cricket: Hussey after Boxing Day ‘luck’ to get out of slump

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AUSTRALIA veteran Mike Hussey is looking for “a little bit of luck” to get out of his recent slump, starting in the Boxing Day Test against India in Melbourne.

After averaging more than 50 for the majority of his career, Hussey has managed just 83 from his last seven innings and is starting to come under pressure to retain his place in the team.

But the 36-year-old has remained defiant throughout and is confident of getting among the runs in the traditional festive clash at the MCG.

“I feel like I am in a good place mentally and I feel like I am batting well in the nets,” Hussey said.

“Sometimes you need a bit of luck early in your innings and you can go on and get a big score.

“If you do get through that initial period, it does get a lot easier and I know in myself that I am playing well.”

Australia have made special plans to cope with the swing of experienced left-armer Zaheer Khan.

“We have faced Zaheer in the past and we have watched a lot of footage on him as well,” he said. “We have seen what he likes to do, what way he likes to swing it.

“But he is a class bowler. He is a very good exponent of bowling with the new ball and probably more particular with the old ball.

“We have to be well prepared and ready for what he is going to throw at us.”

And while Hussey is under pressure to perform on Boxing Day, there is even more scrutiny on India’s Sachin Tendulkar as the ‘little master’ chases his 100th international hundred.

Tendulkar has managed 51 Test and 48 one-day centuries and Hussey said the 38-year-old will be well placed to cope with the extra pressure.

“He (Tendulkar) has been an unbelievable player for so long and the way he has handled himself for such a long period of time is a real credit to his character,” Hussey said.

“He is under enormous pressure no matter where he plays and no matter what the situation so I am sure he will be able to handle it no problems.

“But I hope he doesn’t get it against Australia.”

While Tendulkar has struggled to score his 100th international ton - his 99th came back in March against South Africa - fellow batsman Rahul Dravid has been in sparkling form recently, scoring 1067 runs in 2011 with five centuries.

The 38-year-old, however, would swap it all for helping India to their first Test series win on Australian soil.

“I wouldn’t have minded scoring five hundreds (fewer) or 1,000 runs less if we could win a series in Australia,” Dravid said.

“The greatest memory for me now is not necessarily statistical. It’s not the number of runs, it’s those magical moments. The series wins in Tests stay with you.

“I think that’s what you play for at this stage. I don’t have anything in terms of my own numbers or statistics that I want to achieve in Australia, but I want to win a Test series (here) and help the team win in Australia.

“It is something that we have never done. So every time you tour here you want to get that goal. It’s not going to be easy, it never is, but I think the team’s goal is to try to win a series.”