Hope Hussey''s exclusion won''t hurt us: Ponting

Melbourne, Feb 22 (PTI) Australia started their World Cupwith a resounding win but their struggle against spin bowlingonce again raised questions on the wisdom behind leaving outMike Hussey and skipper Ricky Ponting is hoping that theomission does not hurt them.

The Kangaroos, who started their title defence bycrushing Zimbabwe by 91 runs, could not gather any momentumagainst the African spin attack and were restricted to a scoreof 261.

The effort clearly emphasised the team''s need for anexperienced campaigner in the middle order who could keep thescoreboard moving in the middle overs, a role that the Husseycould have slotted into nicely.

The captain, however, hopes the decision by selectors toexclude the injured Hussey from Australia''s World Cup squadwon''t hurt the team''s bid to clinch their fourth successivetitle.

"Hopefully it (not having Hussey) won''t come back andhurt us at all," Ponting was quoted as saying by ''the HeraldSun'' when asked about the left-hander making himself availablefor the Sheffield Shield fixture.

Hussey was dropped from the Australian squad as he had asurgery a month back to repair the hamstring tendon thatripped off his knee bone during Australia''s first ODI againstEngland following the Ashes series.

He, however, had claimed that he would be fit by thesecond group match of the World Cup.

The 35-year-old batsman had a strong training sessionwith Western Australia and he was selected to play againstTasmania but had to be withdrawn when higher powers at CricketAustralia intervened.

The skipper though backed the selectors and reiteratedthat the team needs to move on. "We''ve got what we''ve got now,with the squad. We understand that Mike was disappointed notto be in this squad in the first place and we''re disappointedfor him as well.

"But all we can do now is move forward and move on withthe squad of players that we''ve got and do the best that wecan to try to get ourselves into the semi-final stage of thisevent.

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