London, June 24: Australia’s veteran batsman Mike Hussey on Wednesday said the upcoming Ashes series between hosts England and Australia will be a tough contest, adding that batsman Joe Root will be the key for the home side.
Hussey was particularly impressed with England’s Root, a player who came under a lot of scrutiny following England’s 0-5 Ashes whitewash in Australia 18 months ago.
Root was one of England’s best players at a dismal cricket World Cup earlier in the year, adopting a more aggressive and confident batting style.
“I think it’s going to be a really tough series, I really do but we’ve got a great squad and a great team and I know they’ll be very, very determined to do well,” Hussey was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
“When a player like Joe Root gets confident and used to scoring runs and gets into the habit of scoring runs they can be very hard to stop.”
“Much like Steve Smith for Australia, in Australia he was almost unstoppable, so consistent, and Joe Root is very much in the same vein at the moment. He’s scoring runs and big runs almost at will so he’s a dangerous player,” he added.
England have hit a rich vein of form recently, with an impressive batting display against New Zealand in their One-Day Intertiol series reinforced by a powerful showing against the Kiwis in a one-off T20.
Hussey, who played 79 Test matches for Australia, lauded the English upper order, highlighting their depth as a major strength coming into the series.
“Their batting line-up is really long at the moment. I think you have Moeen Ali batting at number eight and he’s a top-six batsman,” he said.
A member of the 2009 Ashes team that toured England, Hussey warned that conditions would be very tough to bat in but was confident that the Australian players could quickly adjust to the often unpredictable English pitches and weather.
“It’s very different playing over there and it takes time to adjust to the conditions. It can swing a lot more, it can seam around a little bit, it can be quite slow sometimes and hard to score,” he said.
Despite his respect for England, Hussey said the Australian players would be ready to go come the first Test in Cardiff on July 8.
“We’ve got a great squad and we’ve got guys who have had experience playing in England before like (Chris) Rogers and (Adam) Voges and obviously (Michael) Clarke has been there many times so it’s going to be a wonderful series,” Hussey said. (IANS)