Waugh slams Australian selectors for dropping Hussey

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Melbourne, Feb 27 (PTI) Former Australian captain SteveWaugh has slammed the national selectors for dropping MichaelHussey from the World Cup squad, saying that senior batsmanshould have been picked as he was expected to be fit in thelater part of the tournament.

Waugh described the selectors'' decision to dump Hussey as"staggering" after reports surfaced that he had overcome hishamstring injury and was keen to play for Western Australia inSheffield Shield before he was overruled by Cricket Australia.

Hussey, who insisted he would have been fit enough toplay against Sri Lanka on March 5 had he been selected, hasbeen cleared to play for WA in a Shield game starting againstQueensland at WACA ground on Thursday -- two days beforeAustralia''s third World Cup clash.

"If he was going to play in any game of cricket, itshould be in the World Cup," Waugh said.

"If Mike Hussey could have been fit (to play in thetournament), he should have gone away. I''m sure Ricky(Ponting) would''ve wanted him to go away with them; hisexperience is invaluable, particularly on the (subcontinent)wickets, and he plays spin well. I was staggered he wasn''tpicked," he said.

Waugh said Hussey, a 35-year-old veteran of 151 ODIs, hadthe experience needed by teams wanting to win the tournament.

"Unless they play very, very badly, there''s no wayAustralia won''t make the quarter-finals. At the end of theday, it''s all about quarter-finals; you win three games fromthere and you win the World Cup," he was quoted as saying by"The Sun-Herald''.

Waugh said the selectors had set a precedent for pickingan injured player to allow him time to get back into fitnessat the last World Cup campaign in the West Indies when AndrewSymonds was given such latitude.

Ponting was also sent away for this edition despitenursing the broken little finger that kept him out of the SCGAshes Test and the subsequent one-day series against England.

"They did it last time with Andrew Symonds when he wentover with a biceps injury even though he needed to be restedfor the first few games," Waugh said.

"Hussey is one guy who would''ve really committed himselfto getting fit. The selectors, though, must have heardsomething, but there are three or four guys sitting on thebench over there and not playing, and Hussey could have beenone of them. Time will tell if the selectors made the rightdecision. They have to go with their gut feeling." PTI PDS

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