SYDNEY: Former stars Mike Hussey and Ryan Harris will join Australia’s backroom staff for the Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Cricket Australia said on Sunday.

Ex-batsman Hussey said he was also being looked at for a role of mentor in the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

“I’m very excited actually. I’m really looking forward to getting back in around the Aussie team,” the 44-year-old Hussey, who is nicknamed ‘Mr Cricket’, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Sunday. “They are going to be trying to get strategies in place, develop a style of play and what players they want and I love all that stuff — planning for a big event.

“They have floated the possibility of being involved closer to the T20 World Cup [in Australia next year] as well but it’s all pretty loose at the moment.”

Former Australia fast bowler Harris comes in as bowling coach, stepping away from his usual role at Australia’s National Cricket Centre academy in Brisbane. He replaces Troy Cooley, who coached the bowlers during Australia’s Ashes victory over England.

The appointments continue head coach Justin Langer’s use of short-term assistants following the resignation of bowling coach David Saker in the last home summer.

Hussey, who played 38 Twenty20 Internationals, the latest great to be brought into the fold after Ricky Ponting joined the backroom staff as consultant during Australia’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in England, and Steve Waugh helped out during the Ashes series in England.

“I can’t tell you how influential these guys can be on the group,” Langer said on Cricket Australia’s website. “It’s about building our leadership, about honing their skills as cricketers, and they can just complement the other guys who are full-time coaches.

“It’s nice to have different voices and different eyes and see guys of that calibre giving us feedback on what they see.”

Australia open their home summer with the first of three Twenty20 Internationals against Sri Lanka in Adelaide on Oct 27 before hosting Pakistan in three T20s from Nov 3.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019