DAVID Hussey, Cameron White and Glenn Maxwell have all departed Sri Lanka with their reputations dented.
The three Victorians played a part in Australia’s suspect middle-order, though in Hussey’s case it was an inglorious last-minute cameo. He was entitled to feel disgruntled at being left out of the side despite his wealth of Twenty20 experience, but didn’t make the selectors regret their call with his performance in the semi-final against the West Indies.
Chris Gayle was on the lash when Hussey bowled, returning figures of 0-22 from two overs, but to be bounced on a slow pitch by Ravi Rampaul, no one’s idea of a menacing fast bowler, was not a good look. Nor did an awkward misfield off Brad Hogg’s bowling help his cause.
Hussey has been a dangerous and successful limited-overs batsman for Australia, and he’s come back from selection setbacks before, but at the age of 35 his international future looks uncertain, at best.
Maxwell was encouraged to bat with the audaciousness that is his trademark, and captain George Bailey defended the shot that hastened Australia’s unravelling against Pakistan’s spinners in the last Super Eight game.
Still, he finished the event out of the team after an awful game that included dropping the batsman who mounted the match-winning partnership. There is plenty of time for the 23-year-old to come back, and no one doubt’s Maxwell’s talent or his unwavering self-belief, but a campaign that yielded eight runs in two innings and 1-53 in seven overs amounts to a reality check for the emerging all-rounder.
There are mitigating factors; the middle-order was sheltered for the first four games by the broad bat of Shane Watson and the big winning margins in those games left them short of exposure in pressure moments.
White presents the most perplexing case of the three Victorians. He batted Australia to victory against Ireland and South Africa with 21 not out and 22 not out, but on both occasions the top three had set a formidable platform. Still, this was not a triumphant return to Australian colours for the ex-captain.
Dropped after a dismal season in January, White fought his way back into the team through the Indian Premier League, but he couldn’t transfer that explosive form onto the international stage.
When the pressure was on in Colombo, against Pakistan and the West Indies, he made 12 and five. The 29-year-old has some further rebuilding to do if he is to get there.
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