Ashes 2013/14 Podcast: Mike Hussey on Ponting, Clarke and why he quit Test cricket
'I probably would have let everyone down if I'd toured England in 2013...'
Last Updated: 11/12/13 3:38pm
The 38-year-old played his final Test for his country in January 2013, against Sri Lanka in Sydney, bringing the curtain down on a stellar career with the Baggy Greens, which included scoring 19 hundreds in the longest form of the game and winning the 2006/07 Ashes on home soil.
Speaking to Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain on Ashes Podcast - Extra, Hussey said he has fond memories of representing Australia, but revealed he chose to retire earlier this year because the buzz of playing cricket's elite nations had disappeared. Download the latest Sky Sports Ashes Podcast here
"The boys have had to endure eight or nine months away from home since I retired with tough Tests in India followed by a tough tour of England," said Hussey, who averaged 50.13 in his 79 Test appearances.
"That was something I was dreading and that, more than the way I was playing, was why I decided to retire. You have to be 100 per cent up for those challenges and I wasn't looking forward to them.
"So I knew in my heart that if I had gone [to India and England] I wouldn't have been 100 per cent committed and would probably have let myself, the team and the whole country down.
"I miss the boys and the contest a little bit but I don't miss the pressure, the stress and the amount of work you have to do for every single Test match."
Hussey - who has played in the English county set-up for Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Durham, and made his Test debut for Australia in November 2005 - assumed the moniker of 'Mr Cricket' during his playing days due to his insatiable appetite for and knowledge of the game.
However, the Western Australian said he was reticent to accept the title - and paid tribute to former Baggy Green batsman and skipper Ricky Ponting, who exited the international arena a month earlier than Hussey, in December 2012.
On the 'Mr Cricket' tag, Hussey said: "I loved the game, I loved training and preparing, I loved the contest out in the middle and I loved the celebrations after the game, so that's probably where it came from.
"But I felt that I didn't deserve the nickname as there were far better players out there and a lot of players who knew more about the game than I did."
On Ponting, whose tally of 13, 378 Test runs is only bettered by the recently-retired Sachin Tendulkar (15, 921), Hussey added: "I really admired him because he backed every player.
"Even if you were wrong, he would still be in your corner, while whether he or the team was going well or poorly, he was a very consistent character and there were no ebbs and flows.
"I also admired his ability to deal with the media, sponsors and Cricket Australia as captain and put those distractions in the locker and go out and lead the team batting at number three while playing so positively and aggressively as it helped everyone relax."
Ponting's replacement as skipper, Michael Clarke, is currently bossing a thriving team, with Australia defeating England by 218 runs at the Adelaide Oval to take a 2-0 lead in the Ashes and boost their chances of claiming the urn for the first time in four series.
Mitchell Johnson has been the hosts' standout with the ball (17 wickets at 12.70), while Clarke (71 with two hundreds) and swashbuckling opening batsman David Warner (95 with one ton and a half-century) have prospered with the blade.
Hussey feels his country's upturn - they were beaten 3-0 in the previous Ashes series during this year's English summer - is down to an improvement of wickets Down Under - but also feels key figure are also taking more responsibility.
"I believe there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes," said Hussey, who, in addition, to his Test exploits, featured in 185 one-day internationals, notching centuries against West Indies, New Zealand and Bangladesh.
"Over the last four or five years, state pitches have been very green which has made it difficult for batters to learn how to make big scores, while they haven't got pace bowlers ready for international cricket as they are lobbing it up and taking 60 wickets.
"The spinners never got a bowl either, but the pitches are now a lot better, plus what's also interesting is that players have strong input into the state of the game in the country and Cricket Australia have been good at listening to what needs to be done.
"Things are going in the right direction."
Download the Sky Sports Ashes Podcast - Extra to hear more from Hussey including why it took him time to feel he belonged in Australia's line-up, his thoughts on Clarke, and the homework-gate incident in India.
Alternatively, you can listen on Soundcloud...