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'Mr Cricket' retires from international cricket

Mike Hussey has announced the Sydney Test against Sri Lanka will be his last for Australia.

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THE timing was so Michael Hussey. As the cricket world mourned the passing of Tony Greig, the veteran Australian batsman quietly announced his international retirement. On any other evening he might have been at the top of the news bulletin. As it was he had to be content with headlining the sports segment.

Being overshadowed is nothing new this year for Hussey, nor does it appear to bother him. While a near-invincible Michael Clarke has dominated opponents like almost no one before, Hussey has in the background enjoyed his own standout calendar year, averaging nearly 60, scoring four centuries and repeatedly helping steer Australia out of danger.

In Sydney in January he was there, with an unbeaten 150, as Clarke pummelled his triple century against India, and Ricky Ponting made his own drought-saving ton. In Adelaide last month there was another hundred, against South Africa, rendered almost unmentioned by a Clarke double.

Mike Hussey has quit at the top of his game.

Mike Hussey has quit at the top of his game. Photo: Getty Images

Ahead of Australia's most anticipated Test calendar in memory - a four-Test trip to India, followed by back-to-back Ashes series (10 Tests in total in England and at home) - Hussey's departure will leave a giant hole in the middle order, and, following the retirement of Ponting, as well as the dumping of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, a huge void in experience.

The onus will now fall squarely on the next generation - David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja - to perform just as they are trying to get their careers going. There will also be a greater weight on Shane Watson to provide substantive support to Clarke as the second most experienced member of the batting order.

Because Hussey had been such a late bloomer at Test level, the general consensus was that he would play on, probably in all three formats, until he was told he couldn't.

Michael Hussey of Australia celebrates winning the Second Test against Sri Lanka at the MCG. Click for more photos

Mr Cricket retires

Michael Hussey of Australia celebrates winning the Second Test against Sri Lanka at the MCG. Photo: Getty Images

Fitter than many years younger than him, his body certainly seemed to have more time in it. It is also a huge surprise, given the rich form that he has been in. Unlike so many others before him he is walking away well and truly on top as well.