Australian cricketing legend Michael Hussey has been announced as the Prime Ministers XI captain for the clash with New Zealand on October 23.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott was on hand to announce the decision today at Manuka Oval, whilst also confirming that a pink ball will be used for the fixture.
It will be the pink ball’s first outing in the international arena, before it is used in this summer’s Day-Night Test match between Australia and New Zealand.
“It is a great honour to be selected as captain of the Prime Ministers XI,” said Hussey.
This season marks the fourth time that Hussey has been involved with the Prime Ministers XI fixture, having placed twice before, with his first appearance coming in the 1997/98 season.
Slated to lead the side in last season’s match against England, the man affectionately known as “Mr. Cricket” withdrew due to injury, and was replaced by Test opener Chris Rogers.
“I do understand the importance of this fixture on the Australian cricket calendar, particularly to the ACT cricket community, who embrace this fixture year after year.
“I also understand the opportunity this match provides for aspiring young cricketers, and I look forward to seeing who will emerge from this season’s Prime Ministers XI as a future star.”
Hussey is yet to face the pink ball, and is wary of New Zealand pair Tim Southee and Trent Boult’s ability to swing the ball.
“From what we hear the pink ball can swing around a fair bit, and they’re both very good exponents of the swinging ball, so it’s going to be a good challenge.
“It’ll be interesting to see how they can control it, and it’ll give the Aussies a good understanding about what it’s going to be like down in Adelaide for that Test match.”
Hussey added that he would welcome the inclusion of Australian Test stars to bolster his side for the game in an effort to prepare them to face New Zealand and the pink ball.
It is unlikely, however, given Australia’s Test tour of Bangladesh is scheduled to conclude just two days before the Manuka Oval fixture.
The depth of the Prime Ministers XI in recent seasons has come under scrutiny, however Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland expects “a very strong team to be on the field”.
“It’s always going to be a function of when the match is played, and what other cricket is going on.
“As we know, we’ve got eight teams playing in the Big Bash League, and if the PMs XI happens to be scheduled around that time, then there can be challenges,” said Sutherland.
“This year there is a little bit more clear space. It does coincide with the finals of the Matador Cup, so depending on which teams are playing in the Matador Cup [finals], there will be some availability challenges there, but more broadly, there is some clearer space this year.”
The Prime Ministers XI team will be selected by Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel with input from the Prime Minister, and will be announced closer to the match.
Tickets for the Prime Ministers XI clash go on sale on Friday, August 21 through Ticketek.
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR YABBA