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No obvious Hussey replacement: Langer

By AAP .
27 January 2013 07:28PM EST

FORMER Test opener Justin Langer says no one is banging down the door to replace Mike Hussey in the Australian team, lamenting the lack of depth in batsmen and spinners across the country.

Hussey retired from international cricket following 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 front-runner to claim Hussey's spot in the team for Australia's four-Test tour of India next month, though his 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 has been spoken about and budding allrounder Glenn Maxwell is well liked.

But, with champion batsman Ricky Ponting also retiring in December, Langer said there is a dearth of quality batsmen looking to step into Hussey's shoes but nominated former opener Shane Watson as the man to step in in the short term.

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

"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 step into Hussey's shoes, Blues allrounder Steve Smith earned praise from Langer.

Langer, as coach of Western Australia, saw first hand Smith's revitalised game as the 23-year-old compiled an impressive knock of 72 on a low, slow Blacktown wicket in their drawn Sheffield Shield match which finished on Sunday.

Smith's patient innings helped secure the Blues first-innings points and certainly caught Langer's eye.

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

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