Hussey backs skipper Clarke in Katich selection spat

Potchefstroom (S. Africa): Veteran Australian batsman Michael Hussey has spoken out in support of captain Michael Clarke after former opener Simon Katich`s attack on Clarke last week.

Clarke is chasing a fifth consecutive series victory in the looming two-Test series in South Africa, and Hussey said the early success had earned Clarke the team`s support and respect.

``IIf you want to be part of this Australian team you`ve got to go with the captain, and we respect the way he wants to take the team,`` a leading daily quoted Hussey, as saying.

He added: ``Even someone like Ricky, who has been captain, he`s jumping on board as well and it just shows that the guys really do want to play for Australia, we do want to play under Michael and I think we`re definitely going in the right direction.”
``It`s been great for him personally - he`s really taken the role with a full head of steam. He`s very passionate about the role and he`s very clear in how he wants to lead the team,`` Hussey said.

Hussey`s comments came after Katich last week blamed Clarke for his axing from the national contracted players` list.

Katich faces a disciplinary hearing for the comments, which included his belief that he would not return to the Test team while Clarke was captain.

Hussey said Clarke had encouraged his team to enjoy their one-day series success, but attention has quickly turned to the two-match Test series starting in Cape Town on November 9.

Confidence is high that Clarke`s leadership can continue their upset of the Proteas.

``If we can stick together and do the basics for long, long periods of time, which is what Michael`s philosophy is, then I think we can definitely come out on top.`` Hussey said.

He added: ``It`s going to be a huge series … it`s going to be great hard Test cricket. We`ve got a very important first-class [tour] match coming up in Potchefstroom. We`ve got to make sure we get into Test mode.``

Clarke said veterans Hussey and Ponting ``have been a tremendous help to me and to the team. Their support, experience and leadership has been outstanding``.


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