Aussie stars won’t panic

AUSTRALIA’S under-fire batsmen Michael Hussey and Marcus North are refusing to panic despite seeing young upstarts Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson named in the 17-man squad for the first Ashes Test.

Both North and Hussey have provided solid middle order foundations for Ricky Ponting’s side in the past, but their recent form hardly inspires confidence.

With North at least being able to fall back on his ability to offer some useful right-arm spin, Hussey, with just one century to his name this year, looks particularly vulnerable, but he is refusing to worry about his fate.

He said: “I don’t think you can really worry about anyone else,” Hussey said after arriving in Melbourne for tomorrow’s Western Australia Sheffield Shield match.

“The most important thing is for me to try to concentrate on preparing as though I’m going to play in the Test. If you start clouding your mind worrying about other guys, you’re taking your mind off what’s important.”

North’s position is only marginally more secure having scored a century in Bangalore last month, and he is operating with a similar mindset to that of Hussey.

“Not at all,” North said when asked if he was worried about the selection of Khawaja and Ferguson.

“These guys have been performing well this season and the back end of last season. It’s a reflection of the domestic cricket. There’s always been good young players playing and scoring a lot of runs.

“The fact that they’re in the squad is credit to their performances. It’s an honour to be named in any squad.”

FIRST TEST SQUAD | AUSTRALIA

R Ponting (capt), M Clarke (vice-capt), D Bollinger, X Doherty, C Ferguson, B Haddin, R Harris, N Hauritz, M Hussey, B Hilfenhaus, M Johnson, S Katich, U Khawaja, M North, P Siddle, S Smith, S Watson.