Fans left to lament as CA cuts short Mr Cricket's farewell tour
It appears Brad Haddin and Mike Hussey have been treated differently by the selectors. Photo: Tom Shaw
Just when Cricket Australia appeared to have learnt how to give retiring greats a fitting send-off, it successfully stuffs up the Mike Hussey farewell tour.
Canberra cricket fans would have loved to have seen the champion batsman, dubbed ''Mr Cricket'', stride to the middle of Manuka Oval for the historic day/night one-day international against the West Indies on February 6. Fortunately they could still get an encore performance if Hussey joins Ricky Ponting for the Prime Minister's XI match on January 29.
Hussey deserved to go out on his own terms, which were to play the rest of the summer, given the magnificent contribution he has made to Australian cricket.
He did the right thing by CA and announced his retirement from the Test arena before the Sydney Test, bringing extra importance and attention to a dead rubber.
CA repaid the loyal servant of 79 Tests, 185 ODIs and 38 Twenty20 internationals by pulling the rug out from under him. It said it dropped him from the one-day series against Sri Lanka and the West Indies because it's building towards the 2015 World Cup. The rebuilding process for that tournament should have started immediately after the 2011 World Cup, not 18 months out.
You can only assume CA thought Hussey was still going to be at the top of his game in 2015, aged 38.
His recent form suggests he was more than capable, but you can't fault a sportsperson for going out on top and putting their family first.
CA will hope its ruthless stance pays the ultimate dividend - lifting the World Cup aloft on home soil.
By recalling Brad Haddin to the one-day squad, the national selectors obviously see the 35-year-old Queanbeyan product as capable of playing a role in the 2015 tournament.
His stellar form with the bat for NSW since losing his place in the Test team in unfortunate circumstances has continued to keep the pressure on Matthew Wade.
While his batting's been steady, there's still question marks over the Victorian's work behind the stumps in the longer form of the game.
Wade has clearly overtaken Haddin as Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper. But the fact selectors have gone for Haddin ahead of the likes of Tim Paine or Chris Hartley shows he's still in their thinking for the Ashes.
Hussey got the farewell he rightfully deserved from Test cricket, as did former captain Ricky Ponting in his final game in Perth.
Steve Waugh signed off with a majestic century against England, while Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne received similar treatment.
It was a vast improvement on the shoddy handling of several past greats including David Boon, Mark Waugh and Ian Healy, the proud Queenslander denied a farewell Test at the Gabba to make way for Adam Gilchrist.
''I think if you are a 100-Test player you deserve to walk off the field saying goodbye. Maybe they have finally got it right,'' Healy said.
Hussey fell 21 short of the century. But his contribution required a better ending than this.