Melbourne: Australia started their World Cup with a resounding win but their struggle against spin bowling once again raised questions on the wisdom behind leaving out Mike Hussey and skipper Ricky Ponting is hoping that the omission does not hurt them.
The Kangaroos, who started their title defence by crushing Zimbabwe by 91 runs, could not gather any momentum against the African spin attack and were restricted to a score of 261.
The effort clearly emphasised the team`s need for an experienced campaigner in the middle order who could keep the scoreboard moving in the middle overs, a role that Hussey could have slotted into nicely.
The captain, however, hopes the decision by selectors to exclude the injured Hussey from Australia`s World Cup squad won`t hurt the team`s bid to clinch their fourth successive title.
"Hopefully it (not having Hussey) won`t come back and hurt us at all," Ponting said when asked about the left-hander making himself available for the Sheffield Shield fixture.
Hussey was dropped from the Australian squad as he had a surgery a month back to repair the hamstring tendon that ripped off his knee bone during Australia`s first ODI against England following the Ashes series.
He, however, had claimed that he would be fit by the second group match of the World Cup.
The 35-year-old batsman had a strong training session with Western Australia and he was selected to play against Tasmania but had to be withdrawn when higher powers at Cricket Australia intervened.
The skipper though backed the selectors and reiterated that the team needs to move on. "We`ve got what we`ve got now, with the squad. We understand that Mike was disappointed not to be in this squad in the first place and we`re disappointed
for him as well.”
"But all we can do now is move forward and move on with the squad of players that we`ve got and do the best that we can to try to get ourselves into the semi-final stage of this event.