Michael Hussey hopes to keep Australia mentoring role through to T20 World Cup

Mike Hussey is back in Australian kit Getty Images

Michael Hussey is hopeful that his stint with Australia's T20 team will continue throughout their preparation for the World Cup in October, and into the tournament itself.

Justin Langer has made a point of using former players as backroom staff, often bringing them in for a series at a time on an informal basis. Hussey linked up with the squad ahead of their T20I series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the home summer, and has travelled to South Africa with them in a flexible role.

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"I'm hoping to stay involve with the T20 team leading up to and through the World Cup," Hussey said. "It's a fantastic environment. I really like the guys: they work so hard, and there's a lot of excitement around the team with that T20 World Cup on our own doorstep and not too far away.

"They're really focused and driven to do well, and motivated to try and put in good performances to be in that squad and have a chance of winning the World Cup.

"I'm not exactly sure what [my] title is, whether it's mentor, batting coach, or whatever. But I don't really mind, I just want to get in there and help out however I can, and throw a lot of balls, I guess."

Hussey filled a similar role at the last T20 World Cup, where he was hired as a consultant, and his short-form coaching experience also includes the batting coach job at Chennai Super Kings as well as a role as director of cricket at Sydney Thunder.

Australia have placed a greater focus on role clarity among their batsmen in the current cycle of T20I cricket, after their 2016 World T20 campaign turned into something of a debacle. With a coterie of top-order batsmen in their squad, David Warner was used at No. 3 or 4, and Shane Watson shifted down from opener to finisher three matches into the tournament.

"I'm rapt that [Matthew Wade] has got an opportunity and I really hope he can cement his place in that middle order, because he's playing brilliantly well at the moment" Michael Hussey

But partly thanks to Alex Carey's emergence, this year looks to be different, with Warner, Aaron Finch and Steven Smith emerging as the first-choice top three and Carey, Glenn Maxwell and one other batsman likely to form No. 4-6. Maxwell's injury means there will likely be opportunities for Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh in the middle order, with the No. 7 spot filled by a bowling allrounder - either Ashton Agar or Sean Abbott.

Wade has been used exclusively as an opener in recent years by the Hobart Hurricanes, but is seen as a versatile option, not least with his ability as a back-up wicketkeeper. He has a good record against spin (139.2 strike rate, 76.00 average) over the last two Big Bash seasons, and Hussey backed him to make the most of his middle-order opportunity.

"I've been more focusing on the middle-order guys," said Hussey, who spent 21 of his 30 T20I innings batting between No. 4 and No. 7 and played one of the great innings by a finisher in the semi-final of the 2010 World T20.

"I played with Matty Wade, but I really like the place he's in at the moment with his game - he has a great understanding of his game now, and he also has perspective on life and the game as well. It's not the be-all and end-all, although it's still very important to him.

"So I'm rapt that he's got an opportunity and I really hope he can take his opportunity and cement his place in that middle order, because he's playing brilliantly well at the moment. I get on well with all the guys - Alex Carey, and Mitch Marsh [who] I obviously know quite well from WA."

Conditions in South Africa are likely to be alien, with the series starting at altitude in Johannesburg on Friday night, but Hussey said that Australia should be able to adapt. He also suggested that in the World Cup, Australia hold something of an edge due to their knowledge of local conditions, and the side's ability to manipulate ground dimensions to their advantage.

"The boys were a bit tired from yesterday's session, just getting used to the altitude. It's obviously something we don't have to contend with back in Australia. It is different, and for a number of guys it's their first time here, so it's a great experience for them.

"You've got to try and adapt, and there might be different ways to score your 10 or 12 runs an over. It's certainly a focus in our team, the running between the wickets, and that's something this team really prides themselves on, particularly Davey and Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell when he's playing - they're brilliant runners between the wicket.

"I think there's a balance, certainly with the big grounds - it's not easy to just stand there and smash it out of the park. Without doubt, I think it's certainly going to be a point of difference. But I don't want to give away too many secrets leading into the World Cup."