Warnie wants Hussey dumped, Hughes in

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Melbourne, Dec.12 (ANI): Former Australian leg spinner Shane Warne has called on the national selectors to sack veteran Mike Hussey.

Warne believes young opener Phillip Hughes, who scored 75 against Queensland at the Gabba yesterday under the eye of selector Jamie Cox, should be recalled with Shane Watson shifting down the order.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Warne was highly critical of Hussey's role in the side. The veteran faces enormous pressure in front of his home crowd in Perth in the third Test against the West Indies.

"Hussey should have put his hand up to open, so Shane Watson could bat in the middle order where he belongs. He's on his last legs, and it might be time to inject some youth into his spot," Warne was quoted, as saying.

Warne challenged the 21-year-old Hughes, who lost the Test opening spot during Australia's ill-fated Ashes series this year, to prove he is the exciting and worthy talent the selectors expected when they first picked him.

"He needs to show that playing cricket for Australia is important to him. He needs to go out and get lots of hundreds at Shield level and show he's hungry and also that he has overcome the technical difficulties against the short ball. He's a great talent, but he has to prove that, and that he wants it enough," Warne said.

Former Test selector John Benaud agreed with Warne's sentiments.

"I believe it is time for Hussey to go. His footwork is terrible. He is totally out of touch. It is not his average that matters when you analyse his form, it's the direction of his form graph. It has been going down for some time. I would have dropped him in Perth," Benaud said.

"Australia cannot lose the series. It is a dead Test. It's a shame Brad Hodge isn't still around but there are still good players like Tasmania's George Bailey coming through. If he scores 70 or more in Perth this could go on and on," he added.

Since the start of 2008 Hussey has scored 1519 runs for the mediocre average of 36.1 in 25 Tests.

At age 34, he appears a player in decline though Australia's selection panel, renowned for their conservatism, appear set on shepherding him through to next summer's Ashes series where Australia could field three 35-year-old batsmen, Hussey, Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting.

Warne said that while young leg spinning New South Welshman Steve Smith was one of the more exciting prospects for Australia in the future, incumbent slow bowler Nathan Hauritz had earned his spot.

"He's one of the big ticks from 12 months ago to now, the really big improver in the Australian side,"

Warne said. "He deserves to be the No. 1 spinner at the moment." (ANI)

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