No sign of next Hussey: Langer
Justin Langer

Former Test opener Justin Langer says no one is banging down the door to replace Mike Hussey in the Australian team, lamenting a lack of batting and spin bowling depth across the country.

Hussey retired from inter- national cricket after the three-Test sweep of Sri Lanka earlier this month, opening up a middle-order spot in the Test, one-day and Twenty20 sides.

Queensland's Usman Khawaja is considered the frontrunner to claim Hussey's spot in the team for Australia's four-Test tour of India next month, though his Sheffield Shield average of 39.81 this season doesn't suggest he is dominating at domestic level.

Victorian Rob Quiney was given a two-Test audition, Tasmania's Alex Doolan is on the radar and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is popular.

WA coach Langer nominated Shane Watson as the man to step in for the short term when he recovers from his latest calf injury.

"I would say no, there's no one smashing the door down," said Langer, who until recently was also Australia's batting coach.

"Shane Watson will obviously come back in, but I'm not sure who they're going to go with.

"But the reality is no one's really been so good they can't be ignored and that's what we have to get in Australian cricket.

"The lack of perceived depth means there's unbelievable opportunities for kids out there who want to work hard and improve their technique and be mentally resilient.

"Imagine being a youngster now, if you're a spinner or a batsman … it'd be awesome."

Of the other names mentioned to replace Hussey, Langer had praise for NSW all-rounder Steve Smith.

He saw first hand Smith's revitalised game as the 23-year-old compiled an impressive of 72 on a low, slow Blacktown wicket in the Sheffield Shield match against WA, which finished in a draw yesterday with only 10 overs bowled due to rain.

Smith's patient innings helped secure the Blues' first-innings points.

"I thought Steve Smith batted well. Whether he comes back in for Test selection, I'm not sure," Langer said.

"But I thought he played quite well and in Indian conditions, he might get an opportunity.

"I was impressed with how patient he was on a tough wicket and he seemed to have tightened up his game ... (he) showed good discipline.

"He's very talented and I love his work ethic."

"Imagine being a youngster now, if you're a spinner or a batsman … it'd be awesome."" *Justin Langer *

The West Australian

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