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Saturday's Ashes gossip column

Mike Hussey
Hussey has struggled for form over the last two years

Australia's Mike Hussey has been told to play with freedom by selector Greg Chappell to ensure he remains a force at international level. Hussey, 35, averaged 91.60 in the last Ashes series in Australia, but has been battling for form over the last two years and only averages 37 in his past 35 Tests.
Full story: Cricinfo

Aussie vice-captain Michael Clarke defied the pain of a back problem to enable New South Wales to hold on for a draw in their Sheffield Shield game with Victoria. Clarke, who scored a century in the first innings at the SCG, finished unbeaten on 39 and has insisted he will be fit to face England in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane from 25 November.
Full story: Cricket Australia

Clarke's New South Wales captain and international team-mate Stuart Clark has also played down concerns about the Australian vice-captain's back problem, which prevented him fielding on the third day against Victoria and forced him to rest up for most of the fourth. "His back's nowhere near as bad as people probably want to think," said Clark.
Full story: Cricket Australia

Australia's selectors may name a 14 or 15-man Test squad to compensate for injury and form concerns surrounding key players. As well as Clarke, Ashes contender Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of all cricket for a month with a side strain while Simon Katich and Doug Bollinger only recently returned to grade cricket having struggled with injury of late.
Full story: Courier Mail (Brisbane)

England captain Andrew Strauss believes that Australia's uncertainty over their Ashes squad will work in England's favour during the series. "I think everyone likes stability and security and knowing where they stand," said Strauss. "If that is not the case with Australia then that could be a good thing for us."
Full story: Fox Sport

Meanwhile, in the Sheffield Shield, Australia captain Ricky Ponting was unable to prevent his Tasmania side losing to Queensland. Ponting scored 32 in the first innings and five in the second as Tasmania fell to an eight-wicket defeat. Fellow international Ben Hilfenhaus took four wickets in the match.
Full story: Cricinfo

England batsman Paul Collingwood has backed their top order to come good in the Ashes opener in Brisbane at the end of this month. "I have 100% confidence the guys will get off to good starts once the Test matches come around," said Collingwood.
Full story: Adelaide Advertiser

Listen to the Ashes live on Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and online (UK users only) - series starts 25 November 2010. Archive: Relive past Ashes series

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see also
England openers hit tons in draw
13 Nov 10 |  England
Friday's Ashes gossip column
12 Nov 10 |  Cricket
Thursday's Ashes gossip column
11 Nov 10 |  Cricket
Wednesday's Ashes gossip column
10 Nov 10 |  Cricket
Tuesday's Ashes gossip column
09 Nov 10 |  Cricket
Monday's Ashes gossip column
08 Nov 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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